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United States v. Ross

United States Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit

January 14, 2019

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff - Appellee,
v.
CARL JAVAN ROSS, Defendant-Appellant.

          Argued: November 1, 2018

          Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Maryland, at Baltimore. J. Frederick Motz, Senior District Judge. (1:16-cr-00020-JFM)

         ARGUED:

          Paresh S. Patel, OFFICE OF THE FEDERAL PUBLIC DEFENDER, Greenbelt, Maryland, for Appellant.

          Paul E. Budlow, OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY, Baltimore, Maryland, for Appellee.

         ON BRIEF:

          James Wyda, Federal Public Defender, Baltimore, Maryland, Joanna Silver, Appellate Attorney, OFFICE OF THE FEDERAL PUBLIC DEFENDER, Greenbelt, Maryland, for Appellant.

          Stephen M. Schenning, Acting United States Attorney, Paul Riley, Assistant United States Attorney, OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY, Baltimore, Maryland, for Appellee.

          Before GREGORY, Chief Judge, NIEMEYER, and HARRIS, Circuit Judges.

          GREGORY, CHIEF JUDGE:

         Defendant-Appellant Carl Javan Ross appeals his sentence, which the district court imposed after Ross was convicted of two counts in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2252(a)(2), and one count in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2252(a)(4)(b). Ross contends the district court did not explain why it imposed his term of confinement and did not address his non-frivolous arguments in favor of a lower sentence. These omissions render his sentence procedurally unreasonable, according to Ross. In addition, Ross argues the district court committed procedural error with its imposition of special conditions of supervised release. We agree, and for the reasons that follow, we vacate Ross's sentence and remand for resentencing.

         I.

         On December 7, 2016, a jury convicted Ross of two counts of receipt of child pornography, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2252(a)(2), and one count of possession of child pornography in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2252(a)(4)(b). The United States Probation Office filed a Presentence Investigation Report ("PSR") that included a recommended term of confinement and recommended special conditions of supervised released. The PSR calculated Ross's final offense level as 35 and included various enhancements reflecting the repugnant nature of the materials in his possession. J.A. 92-93. The PSR calculated Ross's Criminal History Category as II given that he had a prior state court conviction for a sexual offense involving a minor.[1] J.A. 94. The Government and Ross both submitted sentencing memoranda.

         The district court held a sentencing hearing and adopted the PSR's advisory Guidelines range: 188 months to 235 months in prison. The district court ordered a term of confinement of 120 months as to each count, to run concurrently with each other but consecutive to his state court sentence. J.A. 63. The district court placed Ross on supervised release for the rest of his life "subject to the special conditions set forth in the ...


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