GLENN LEE BACON
Defendant pleaded guilty to one count of bank fraud. The plea agreement provided that the government would not oppose the defendant's request for a reduction for acceptance of responsibility, but the presentence report recommended only "reservedly" that he receive the reduction.
At the sentencing hearing, the district court denied acceptance-of-responsibility credit, citing the PSR and a letter the defendant had written after his guilty plea that deflected responsibility for the offense. The district court placed the defendant in a higher guideline range than the defendant had anticipated, and utilized that range to impose a within-guidelines sentence of 34 months of imprisonment. Defendant appealed. Appellate court affirmed.
The appellate court rejected the defendant’s contention that the trial court erroneously denied him the acceptance-of-responsibility downward adjustment. Although the defendant pleaded guilty in a timely manner, post plea, he wrote a letter to probation claiming that he was the victim and that a co-defendant was entirely responsible for the offense. (The defendant had lied on loan applications, which, among other things, said he was employed and promised a salary of $52,000 annually. The defendant persisted in his denials at sentencing, even after the trial court had warned that it was seriously considering not granting the reduction for acceptance.)
The burden of proving that one qualifies for the acceptance reduction falls on the defendant. This defendant failed to make the required showing.
The sentence of 34 months, within the guidelines, was substantively reasonable.