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UNITED STATES v. BRANSON (2019)

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United States Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit.

UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Jacques BRANSON, Defendant-Appellant.

No. 18-4787

Decided: April 25, 2019

Before DIAZ and QUATTLEBAUM, Circuit Judges, and SHEDD, Senior Circuit Judge. Kristen M. Leddy, Assistant Federal Public Defender, OFFICE OF THE FEDERAL PUBLIC DEFENDER, Martinsburg, West Virginia, for Appellant. Jeffrey Akira Finucane, Assistant United States Attorney, OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY, Martinsburg, West Virginia, for Appellee.

Jacques Branson appeals the district court's order revoking his supervised release and sentencing him to 18 months in prison. Counsel has filed a brief pursuant to Anders v. California, 386 U.S. 738, 87 S.Ct. 1396, 18 L.Ed.2d 493 (1967), claiming that the sentence is unduly long but stating that there are no meritorious issues for appeal. Although Branson was advised of his right to file a pro se brief, he has not filed such a brief. We affirm.

“We will affirm a revocation sentence if it is within the statutory maximum and is not plainly unreasonable.” United States v. Webb, 738 F.3d 638, 640 (4th Cir. 2013) (internal quotation marks omitted). Branson's sentence does not exceed the applicable statutory maximum. The remaining question is whether the sentence is plainly unreasonable.

“When reviewing whether a revocation sentence is plainly unreasonable, we must first determine whether it is unreasonable at all.” United States v. Thompson, 595 F.3d 544, 546 (4th Cir. 2010). “In making this determination, we follow generally the procedural and substantive considerations that we employ in our review of original sentences, ․ with some necessary modifications to take into account the unique nature of supervised release revocation sentences.” United States v. Slappy, 872 F.3d 202, 207 (4th Cir. 2017) (internal quotation marks omitted). Only if we find a sentence to be procedurally or substantively unreasonable will we consider whether it is “plainly” so. Id. at 208.

“A revocation sentence is procedurally reasonable if the district court adequately explains the chosen sentence after considering the ․ Chapter Seven policy statements and the applicable 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a) [2012] factors.” Id. at 207. “[A] revocation sentence is substantively reasonable if the court sufficiently state[s] a proper basis for its conclusion that the defendant should receive the sentence imposed.” Id. (internal quotation marks omitted). “A court need not be as detailed or specific when imposing a revocation sentence as it must be when imposing a post-conviction sentence, but it still must provide a statement of reasons for the sentence imposed.” United States v. Thompson, 595 F.3d at 547 (internal quotation marks omitted).

We conclude that Branson's sentence is procedurally and substantively reasonable. The court correctly identified his policy statement range, considered relevant statutory factors, and gave sufficient reasons for the selected sentence. Among other things, the court was concerned about Branson's dealing in significant quantities of drugs while on release.

In accordance with Anders, we have reviewed the entire record in this case and have found no meritorious issues for appeal. We therefore affirm. This court requires that counsel inform Branson, in writing, of the right to petition the Supreme Court of the United States for further review. If Branson requests that a petition be filed, but counsel believes that such a petition would be frivolous, then counsel may move in this court for leave to withdraw from representation. Counsel's motion must state that a copy of the motion was served on Branson.

We dispense with oral argument because the facts and legal contentions are adequately presented in the materials before this court and argument would not aid the decisional process.

AFFIRMED

PER CURIAM:

Affirmed by unpublished per curiam opinion. Unpublished opinions are not binding precedent in this circuit.

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