By Michael Mitchell

Today, in the criminal case of United States v. Jenkins, an unpublished per curiam opinion, the Fourth Circuit affirmed the decision of the District Court for the District of South Carolina, upholding the defendant’s drug conviction and 170-month sentence.

Defendant Challenges Plea Bargain and Sentence

The Fourth Circuit considered the adequacy of the defendant’s plea hearing and the reasonableness of his sentence with regard to his immigration status.

Defendant Pled Guilty to Multiple Drug Charges

The defendant Raynard Allen Jenkins pled guilty to conspiracy to possess 280 grams of cocaine base and 500 grams of cocaine with the intent to distribute as well as possession of marijuana.  He was sentenced to 170 months in prison in accord with the Sentencing Guidelines, which provide for an enhanced sentence in certain drug-related convictions.

No Meritorious Grounds for Appeal

In accord with Anders v. California, the Court reviewed the entire record for any meritorious grounds for appeal and found none.  Thus, the court considered whether the defendant’s plea hearing and sentence were reasonable.

No Plain Error in Plea Bargain or Sentencing

The Fourth Circuit considered the adequacy of the defendant’s plea hearing by reviewing the record for plain error, holding that the district court substantially complied with Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 11.  The court’s failure to alert the defendant of the potential issues with his immigration status as a result of his plea agreement did not affect his rights.  The Fourth Circuit also held that the defendant’s 170-month sentence was procedurally and substantively reasonable.

Fourth Circuit Affirms Conviction & Sentence

The Fourth Circuit affirmed the district’s court’s judgment upholding the defendant’s conviction for conspiracy to distribute cocaine and marijuana possession as well as his 170-month prison sentence.