United States v. Walker (P)

The district court properly rejected the defendant’s plea agreement, sustained the prosecution’s peremptory strike of an African-American juror before trial, and calculated the defendant’s Sentencing Guidelines range after his convictions for drug and firearms offenses.

In finding the advisory Guidelines range under the proposed plea agreement too lenient, the district court considered the defendant’s criminal history, his potential for violence, and the nature of his offenses. The court emphasized his extensive criminal history and multiple violent activities.This individualized assessment of the defendant’s situation thus relied on appropriate considerations.

In reviewing the jury venire, the prosecutors sought to empanel women jurors who were married, who were older, and who had children. Juror 22 was single, had no children, and, at 38 years old, was younger than average. Those reasons are each facially race-neutral. Because each of the defendant’s proposed comparators on the jury possessed at least two of the three race-neutral characteristics relied on by the prosecutors, the trial court did not clearly err in overruling the defendant’s Batson challenge.

Finally, the second presentence report specifically concluded that the firearm in the defendant’s possession was stolen. Because he has no evidence to cast doubt on that, the district court did not err in applying the stolen firearm enhancement.

Affirmed. Judge Niemeyer wrote a concurring opinion.

United States v. Walker (P), No. 18-4110, Apr. 25, 2019. 4th Cir. (King) from SDWV at Charleston (Goodwin).

Categories: 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Opinions, Published

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