April 19, 2017
from the United States District Court for the Northern
District of Illinois, Eastern Division. No. 12 cr 400 - James
B. Zagel, Judge.
Bauer, Posner, and Hamilton, Circuit Judges.
Armand pleaded guilty to distributing crack and powder
cocaine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1), and was
sentenced to 108 months' imprisonment, and a five-year
term of supervised release subject to certain special
conditions. On appeal we reversed, finding that the district
court imposed unconstitutionally vague conditions of
supervised release and failed to justify the discretionary
conditions and the length of supervision. We remanded the
case for a full resentencing. See United States v.
Armand, 638 F.App'x 504 (7th Cir. 2016). Armand was
resentenced to 104 months' imprisonment and a three-year
term of supervised release. He again appeals, contending that
the district court committed a host of procedural and
substantive errors. For the reasons that follow, we affirm.
assume familiarity with the facts as noted in our earlier
order and add only what we consider necessary for resolving
the present appeal. Prior to Armand's original
sentencing, the probation officer initially calculated a
Guidelines range of 100 to 125 months using the 2013 United
States Sentencing Commission Guidelines, based on a total
offense level of 25 and a criminal-history category of V.
However, the parties later agreed that Amendment 782 applied,
see U.S.S.G. § 2D1.1, amend. 782, which
decreased the total offense level to 23 with the Guidelines
range of 84 to 105 months.
original sentencing hearing, the court accepted the probation
officer's revised Guidelines range calculation. Armand
acknowledged multiple times during the hearing that the
applicable Guidelines range was 84 to 105 months. He
contended that the court should depart downward to impose a
sentence that would apply if the crack and powder cocaine
Guidelines reflected a one-to-one ratio, rather than the
eighteen-to-one ratio currently used; the court declined to
do so. Ultimately, the court imposed a sentence of 108
months' imprisonment and five years of supervised
remand, the government's resentencing memorandum
calculated the Guidelines range as 84 to 105 months based
upon the November 2015 Guidelines. Armand's resentencing
memorandum did not dispute the applicable Guidelines range,
but reiterated his argument regarding the sentencing
disparity between crack and powder cocaine. He also raised
arguments regarding the length and proposed conditions of his
supervised release, an issue he does not raise in this
appeal. Finally, he contended that the district court failed
to consider mitigating factors, such as his background and
mental health issues.
resentencing hearing, Armand's counsel reiterated his
mitigation arguments, and also contended that his age put him
at a lower risk for recidivism. His counsel also highlighted
affirmative steps he had taken in prison to improve himself,
such as enrolling in classes related to employment, substance
abuse, and anger management. Finally, his counsel asked the
court to depart downward from the crack cocaine Guidelines
due to the disparity with powder cocaine Guidelines. In
response, the government challenged the correlation between
Armand's long criminal history and his unsubstantiated
claim of mental illness. It also rejected his contention that
he presented a low risk of recidivism.
court discussed the sentencing factors set forth in 18 U.S.C.
§ 3553(a). Specifically, the court addressed
Armand's history and characteristics, as well as the need
for the sentence imposed to afford adequate deterrence to
criminal conduct, promote respect for the law, and provide
correctional treatment. Prior to imposing Armand's
sentence, the government stated that the applicable
Guidelines range was 84 to 105 months, and that Armand's
vacated sentence was 108 months. The court sentenced Armand
to 104 months' imprisonment and three years of supervised
release, explaining that it was reducing his sentence by a
few months in recognition of the effort Armand undertook to
improve his life while imprisoned.
court addressed Armand's mitigation arguments, expressing
skepticism that mental health treatment and his age would
lower his risk of recidivism. The court also stated that its
position on the crack cocaine Guidelines had not changed
since the original sentencing hearing, and declined to
decrease the ratio. The court then confirmed that the
applicable Guidelines range was 84 to 105 months.
Armand's counsel acknowledged that the court had
addressed all his principal mitigation arguments. The court
then entered final judgment, and Armand timely appealed.
contends that the district court failed to calculate the
advisory Guidelines range and treated the Guidelines as
presumptively reasonable. Finally, he argues that the court
gave inadequate consideration ...