JAMES E. xxxxxxxx, Defendant-Appellant.


The district court had jurisdiction over this case pursuant to 18 U.S.C. 3231. The notice of appeal having been filed within the ten-day period of Fed. R. App. P. 4(b), (1) this Court has jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1291 and 18 U.S.C. 3742(a)(1), (2).


Whether the district court plainly erred in not reducing Mr. xxxxxxxx's sentencing offense level for acceptance of responsibility pursuant to U.S.S.G. 3E1.1 where Mr. xxxxxxxx pleaded guilty to the offense, admitted the offense conduct and also admitted the relevant conduct of his offenses.


Pertinent statutes and sentencing guidelines are contained in the addendum to this brief.


A. Nature of the Case, Course of Proceedings, and Disposition in the Court Below.

On December 21, 1989, the government filed a six-count indictment against Appellant James E. xxxxxxxx charging federal drug and gun offenses, two District of Columbia robbery offenses, and a District of Columbia offense for assault on a police officer. (App. at 14-16). (2) On March 2, 1990, Mr. xxxxxxxx pleaded guilty before Judge John H. Pratt to Counts 1 and 3 of the indictment, i.e., possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine in violation of 21 U.S.C.  841(a) and (b)(1)(A)(iii) (Count 1) and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon in violation of 18 U.S.C. 922(g) (Count 3). (App. at 17-19; 3/2/90 Tr. at 5-6).

On October 11, 1990, the district court sentenced Mr. xxxxxxxx to 188 months incarceration and four years supervised release on the drug charge (Count 1) and 60 months incarceration and three years supervised release on the gun charge (Count 3), the sentences to run concurrently. (App. at 24-25, 29-30; 10/11/90 Tr. at 17). Mr. xxxxxxxx's attorney did not file a notice of appeal after sentencing.

On July 22, 1996, Mr. xxxxxxxx filed a pro se motion to vacate, set aside or correct sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 2255, arguing that his attorney was ineffective for failing to file a notice of appeal as requested by Mr. xxxxxxxx. (App. at 8). Mr. xxxxxxxx voluntarily withdrew his 2255 motion so that he could amend it to conform with the new Prison Litigation Reform Act. (App. at 8). He then filed an amended 2255 motion on November 19, 1997, raising the same ineffective assistance claim. (App. at 11). The district court granted Mr. xxxxxxxx's 2255 motion by order filed May 11, 1999, and reentered the Judgment in his case. (App. at 27-33). Mr. xxxxxxxx filed a timely notice of appeal and is now before this Court on direct appeal of his sentence. (App. at 34-35).

B. Statement of Facts.

As stated in the government's proffer at the plea hearing, in the afternoon of December 1, 1989, Mr. xxxxxxxx and two others approached a group of four people in the area of 9th and F Streets, N.W., in Washington, D.C. Mr. xxxxxxxx asked one man in the group to see a ring the man was wearing. Mr. xxxxxxxx placed the ring on his own finger and then indicated to the group that he had a gun in his pocket. He also took a gold chain from another person in the group. Mr. xxxxxxxx and his companions then walked away. (3/2/90 Tr. at 3; PSR at 2).

The group that had been robbed began to walk after Mr. xxxxxxxx and his companions. They then saw two police officers on the street and informed the officers of the robbery that had just taken place. A few minutes later, the officers stopped Mr. xxxxxxxx and his companions a few blocks away to question them about the robbery complaint. At this point, the three suspects ran. The officers apprehended Mr. xxxxxxxx, and a struggle ensued in which Mr. xxxxxxxx kicked and struck at the officers. The officers subdued Mr. xxxxxxxx and arrested him. (3/2/90 Tr. at 4; PSR at 2-3).

The officers searched Mr. xxxxxxxx and found a handgun with ammunition in his coat pocket, two bags of cocaine in his crotch area and $1,985 in cash. The cocaine was determined to be 87.7 grams of cocaine base and 11.492 grams of cocaine hydrochloride. (3/2/90 Tr. at 4; PSR at 3). Mr. xxxxxxxx told police that he had tried to buy the ring from a person on the street and that the gold chains belong to him (Mr. xxxxxxxx). He also said that he ran when police stopped him and his companions for questioning because he had a gun and drugs on him. Mr. xxxxxxxx told police that the gun and drugs belonged to one of his companions. (PSR at 3).

Shortly after he was indicted, Mr. xxxxxxxx agreed to plead guilty to Counts 1 and 3 of the indictment. (See App. at 17-19 (plea agreement letter dated February 26, 1990)). At the plea hearing, the government described the offense conduct, beginning with the theft of the ring, describing the flight from police officers and the struggle upon arrest, and finally describing the items seized from Mr. xxxxxxxx's person. (3/2/90 Tr. at 3-4). When the district court asked Mr. xxxxxxxx if he committed each of the elements of the drug and gun offenses, he stated that he had. (3/2/90 Tr. at 5-6). The court further asked him, "Are you entering the pleas . . . of your own free will because you are guilty and for no other reason." 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