Thursday, January 25, 2018

Sixth Circuit Remands Sentence in § 924(c) Case in Light of Dean.

In United States v. Henry, the Sixth Circuit reiterated that district courts have more flexibility in considering the mandatory minimums required by § 924(c)(1) in order to depart from the Guidelines for the underlying predicate convictions.  Michael Henry, who had obtained a reversal of his convictions for three counts of bank robbery and three counts of violating 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1), was again convicted by a jury on all six counts.   His first § 924(c) conviction came with a mandatory minimum sentence of 60 months, while his second and third convictions carried mandatory minimum sentences of 300 months each.  The Guidelines also recommended a sentencing range of 70 to 87 months for his three predicate bank robbery charges.  The District Court subsequently sentenced him to a whopping 738 months in prison.

On appeal, Mr. Henry challenged the sufficiency of the evidence supporting his convictions and argued that the definition of “crime of violence” in 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(3)(A) was void for vagueness under Johnson.  Additionally, he appealed his sentence in light of the United States Supreme Court’s 2017 decision in Dean v. United States, which held that sentencing courts are not prohibited from considering the mandatory minimum imposed by § 924(c) when calculating the appropriate sentence for the predicate offense.

Although the Court quickly rejected Mr. Henry’s arguments challenging his conviction, it remanded his case for resentencing in light of Dean.  Thanks to Dean, Mr. Henry will have another chance to address his sentence in light of the § 924(c)(1) mandatory minimums.

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