February 17, 2016
from the United States District Court for the Western
District of Wisconsin. No. 15 CR 30 - Barbara B. Crabb,
Bauer, Flaum, and Williams, Circuit Judges.
Williams, Circuit Judge.
2014, Defendant Dominic Miller and Amy Wagner used and sold
methamphetamine together in northwestern Wisconsin. After law
enforcement learned of the couple's illicit activity,
Miller pled guilty to possessing methamphetamine with the
intent to distribute it. The district judge found that Miller
and Wagner were jointly en- gaged in the distribution of
between 500 grams and 1.5 kilograms of methamphetamine and
sentenced Miller to eight years in prison.
appeal, Miller argues that the district judge's
drug-quantity finding was erroneous, principally on the
ground that he sold only a small portion of the drugs in
question. However, Miller's relevant conduct includes not
only the sales he directly made himself, but also the drug
sales that Wagner foreseeably made in furtherance of their
joint distribution scheme. Given this fact, there is no
genuine dispute that Miller's relevant conduct involved
between 500 grams and 1.5 kilograms.
also claims that his eight-year sentence is substantively
unreasonable because he is simply a drug addict in need of
rehabilitative services. But the district judge adequately
explained why Miller's sentence was necessary in light of
his history of drug use and drug sales, and in any
case, he has failed to overcome the presumption that his
below-Guidelines sentence is reasonable. So we affirm the
district court's judgment.
Miller and Amy Wagner met in northwestern Wisconsin sometime
around September 2014. They began dating, moved into an
apartment together, and began using and selling
methamphetamine. During this time, the couple's
relationship was not without issues. Specifically, Wagner
suspected that Miller was unfaithful, and installed a webcam
in the couple's bedroom to record Miller's actions
while she was away.
November 2014, a confidential informant purchased
methamphetamine from Wagner on two separate occasions. Law
enforcement later obtained a search warrant for Wagner and
Miller's apartment and found small quantities of
methamphetamine and LSD, as well as various drug
paraphernalia. Wagner was arrested, and while in police
custody, she admitted to using and selling methamphetamine
and informed law enforcement that her home computer contained
a number of videos that her webcam had captured. Law
enforcement obtained the computer and the videos, which
captured several apparent drug transactions involving Wagner,
Miller, and others.
was later charged with distributing methamphetamine under 21
U.S.C. § 841(a)(1); possessing more than 50 grams of
methamphetamine with intent to distribute under 21 U.S.C.
§ 841(a)(1); and maintaining a place for the purpose of
distributing methamphetamine under 21 U.S.C. §
856(a)(1). Miller pleaded guilty to the possession charge. In
its initial presentence report ("initial PSR"), the
probation office found that Miller and Wagner were engaged in
a jointly undertaken criminal activity, and that as a result
Miller was responsible for distributing between 1.5 kilograms
and 5.0 kilograms of methamphetamine. Miller filed an
objection to the initial PSR, arguing that his relevant
conduct should only involve his activities after September
2014. Miller did not, however, object to the conclusion that
the drug distribution was a joint undertaking. In response,
the office prepared a revised presentence report
("revised PSR") with a reduced drug-quantity range
of 500 grams to 1.5 kilograms.
Miller's sentencing hearing, Wagner testified about how
she and Miller coordinated their drug-distribution efforts.
Wagner explained that she typically purchased between four
and six ounces of methamphetamine every couple of days during
the seven weeks she and Miller were dating. She added that
Miller accompanied her to some (but not all) of the purchase
meetings, that she typically sold most of the methamphetamine
to one of her customers, and that she and Miller divvied up
and sold the remaining amount to their respective customers,
some of whom overlapped. In addition, Wagner stated that she
and Miller weighed, packaged, and sold methamphetamine in
their shared apartment, and that she and Miller combined
their sales proceeds to pay the rent and purchase additional
drugs. Later on in the hearing, Miller's attorney stated
that he believed Wagner's testimony was truthful.
district judge found that Miller was responsible for between
500 grams and 1.5 kilograms of methamphetamine, explaining:
I think that the probation office was correct in determining
that Mr. Miller's relevant conduct involved at least 500
grams but less than 1.5 kilograms of methamphetamine for the
period from late September 2014 through November of 2014,
which is when he and Ms. Wagner were obtaining large amounts
of methamphetamine, probably as much as 3 to 5 pounds. I
think it's very possible that there was more
methamphetamine being distributed, but I'm convinced that
defendant has not shown that his relevant conduct involved
less than 500 grams of metham-phetamine. So that's the
amount that I'm relying on in the - that was proposed by
the probation office in its revised report.
district judge sentenced Miller to 96 months'
imprisonment, below the Guidelines' range of 100 to 125
months. In doing so, the judge referenced Miller's
difficult upbringing, employment history, prior