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United States v. English

United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Northern Division

July 24, 2018

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
v.
TIMOTHY ANDRE ENGLISH

          OPINION

          MYRON H. THOMPSON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Defendant Timothy Andre English pled guilty to one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1). At his sentencing, the court granted his motion for a downward variance, but did not accept his proposed sentence of probation. Instead, English was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment followed by three years of supervised release. The court orally gave its reasons for the variance at the sentencing hearing; however, for the sake of clarity, this opinion outlines those reasons.

         I. FINDINGS OF FACT

         English is 48 years old. He has four sons, ages 16 to 24, and two grandchildren. Prior to his arrest on the instant offense, he resided on a multi-acre property in Kent, Alabama, with his two youngest sons, his eldest son and his son's wife, and his two infant granddaughters.

         In 1999, English was convicted in Florida of fraud, a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term of more than one year. As stated in the Presentence Investigation Report, he has had no convictions or arrests since 1999, other than for the instant offense.

         Because of his prior felony conviction, English was not legally permitted to own a firearm. Indeed, knowing this, he petitioned the State of Florida in 2012 for clemency to have his civil rights restored. However, because of a strong desire to go hunting with his sons, and an apparent embarrassment to admit to his sons that he was not legally allowed to possess a gun, English obtained several firearms before any action was taken on the clemency petition.

         In August 2017, U.S. Postal Inspectors executed a search warrant of English's residence based on a suspected Internet fraud scheme occurring there, and found ten firearms, assorted ammunition, six firearm magazines (including one 30-round magazine), and various gun cases. The firearms included one Bushmaster .223 caliber semiautomatic rifle, which was found either with a large capacity magazine attached or in close proximity. According to the plea agreement, as well as all of the evidence presented in this case, the firearms were not used or possessed in connection with another felony offense. English was interviewed after the search and candidly admitted to having purchased them or arranged for their purchase. An investigation was then initiated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). English was later arrested for being a felon in possession of a firearm, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1), and in April 2018 pled guilty to that offense.

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         Under the Supreme Court's current framework, the Sentencing Guidelines are not mandatory. See United States v. Booker, 543 U.S. 220, 245 (2005). Instead, although district courts “still must consult the Guidelines and take them into account when sentencing defendants, ” United States v. Todd, 618 F.Supp.2d 1349, 1352-53 (M.D. Ala. 2009) (Thompson, J.), they must also independently determine whether the sentence is reasonable under the sentencing factors listed in 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a):

“(1) the nature and circumstances of the offense and the history and characteristics of the defendant;
“(2) the need for the sentence imposed-
(A) to reflect the seriousness of the offense, to promote respect for the law, and to provide just punishment for the offense;
(B) to afford adequate deterrence to criminal conduct;
(C) to protect the public from further crimes of the ...

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