Searching over 5,500,000 cases.

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

United States v. Coleman

United States Court of Appeals, First Circuit

February 28, 2018

D'HATI COLEMAN, a/k/a Q, Defendant, Appellant.


          Neil L. Fishman on brief for appellant.

          Halsey B. Frank, United States Attorney, and Benjamin M. Block, Assistant United States Attorney, on brief for appellee.

          Before Howard, Chief Judge, Torruella and Selya, Circuit Judges.


         The overriding question in this appeal is whether the district court appropriately denied an offense-level reduction for acceptance of responsibility under the sentencing guidelines. The answer to this question depends, in large part, on whether the court appropriately found certain conduct to be "relevant conduct" within the meaning of USSG §1B1.3. Here, however, a procedural obstacle looms between the question and the answer: defendant-appellant D'Hati Coleman stipulated during the sentencing proceeding (when that stipulation redounded to his benefit) that the disputed conduct constituted relevant conduct. He now attempts to reverse his field, arguing in this court that the disputed conduct was not relevant conduct.

         We warned, over three decades ago, that "[h]aving one's cake and eating it, too, is not in fashion in this circuit." United States v. Tierney, 760 F.2d 382, 388 (1st Cir. 1985). The echoes of that warning reverberate here: the defendant cannot have it both ways. Viewing this appeal through the prism of this discerned wisdom and accepting the facts as supportably found by the district court, we affirm the challenged sentence.

         I. BACKGROUND

         We briefly rehearse the relevant facts and travel of the case. Because this appeal trails in the wake of a guilty plea, we draw the facts from the undisputed portions of the presentence investigation report (PSI Report), the amended sentencing stipulation, and the transcripts of the sentencing hearings. See United States v. D'Angelo, 802 F.3d 205, 206 (1st Cir. 2015).

         On September 3, 2014, a cooperating informant (CI) met the defendant by pre-arrangement in Bangor, Maine. The defendant produced a small bag containing approximately 273.9 milligrams of cocaine base (crack cocaine) and sold it to the CI for $40. During the course of this transaction, the defendant volunteered his belief that prostitution was "the world's oldest . . . and the most lucrative" profession. He boasted that he was a "pimp" for three women in the Bangor area, described them, and referred to them as "his product." He then asked the CI for directions to a local clothing store where he intended to buy lingerie for the women, stating that "a pimp is only as good as his product and his product is women and he has to have the best."

         On September 9, the defendant was arrested outside a motel in New Haven, Connecticut (where he had rented a room). The authorities recovered an unknown quantity of crack cocaine from his person and detained a woman inside the motel room. The woman told the officers that the defendant was her "pimp" and had transported her from Maine in order to engage in prostitution. She said that her customers paid the defendant in cash, but he compensated her for her services by supplying her with drugs. The New Haven incident resulted in the defendant's conviction on a state charge of possession of narcotics with intent to sell. See Conn. Gen. Stat. § 21a-277(a).

         In due course, the defendant was charged federally in connection with the September 3 drug transaction. That indictment, handed up in the United States District Court for the District of Maine, charged him with the knowing and intentional distribution of a controlled substance. See 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1). After some preliminary skirmishing (not relevant here), the defendant entered a straight guilty plea. The PSI Report treated the defendant's pimping activities as relevant conduct. See USSG §1B1.3. The defendant objected, claiming that the statements he had uttered to the CI were mere rodomontade, made only to impress his customer. So, too, he denied that he had acted as a pimp for the woman found in his Connecticut motel room.

         At a presentence conference, the district court stated that it viewed the defendant's promotion of prostitution as relevant conduct for sentencing purposes. During a subsequent conference, the defendant withdrew his objection to the PSI Report's description of his involvement in prostitution in Maine. At the first phase of his sentencing hearing, the defendant reverted to his original position and once again denied the accuracy of the PSI Report's account of his prostitution-related activities in Maine. Moreover, the defendant continued to deny that he had brought a woman from Maine to Connecticut for the purpose of engaging in prostitution.

         During a later hearing, the district court asked the defendant's counsel if the defendant was admitting to his involvement with prostitution in Maine. Before his attorney could complete his response, the defendant began shaking his head. After a recess, defense counsel tried to clear the air and assured the court that the defendant admitted to his involvement with prostitution in Maine. Counsel went on to reiterate the defendant's denial of any involvement with prostitution-related activities in Connecticut. Putting a fine point on his argument, counsel stated that the defendant "does not dispute at all that his involvement in this relevant conduct . . . is not something that the court should take into consideration, but, rather, [is] arguing that . . . he was not ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.