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UNITED STATES OF AMERICA v. STEVEN SOMERS
Case Number: 20-4443
Judge: PER CURIAM
Court: UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS
FOR THE FOURTH CIRCUIT
Plaintiff's Attorney: Andrew R. Cogar,
Assistant United States Attorney
Richmond, VA - Criminal defense lawyer represented defendant with unlawful possession of a firearm as an unlawful user of controlled substances charges.
Under U.S. Sentencing Guidelines Manual § 3E1.1(a) (2018), a district court may
decrease a criminal defendant’s offense level by 2 levels if the defendant “clearly
demonstrates acceptance of responsibility for his offense.” To earn the reduction, “[t]he
defendant bears the burden of showing he has clearly recognized and affirmatively
accepted personal responsibility for his criminal conduct.” United States v. Carver, 916
F.3d 398, 404 (4th Cir.), cert. denied, 140 S. Ct. 197 (2019) (internal quotation marks
omitted). However, “defendants who have obstructed justice [under USSG § 3C1.1] must
make a heightened showing of acceptance of responsibility to receive the reduction” and
“ha[ve] the burden of showing that there are ‘extraordinary’ circumstances justifying a 3
reduction” for acceptance of responsibility. United States v. Harris, 890 F.3d 480, 488
(4th Cir. 2018); see USSG § 3E1.1 cmt. n.4.
Here, Somers received an enhancement for obstruction of justice under USSG
§ 3C1.1. We have reviewed the record and discern no error, clear or otherwise, in the
district court’s determination that Somers was not entitled to an offense level reduction for
acceptance of responsibility based on the conduct underlying the application of the
obstruction of justice enhancement. See United States v. Hargrove, 478 F.3d 195, 198 (4th
Cir. 2007) (recognizing that district court’s acceptance of responsibility determination is
reviewed for clear error as “district courts are uniquely qualified to evaluate whether to
grant or deny a sentence reduction for acceptance of responsibility”).
In accordance with Anders, we have reviewed the entire record in this case and have
found no meritorious grounds for appeal. We therefore affirm the district court’s judgment.
This court requires that counsel inform Somers, in writing, of the right to petition the
Supreme Court of the United States for further review. If Somers 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 thereof was served on Somers.
Outcome: 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.