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United States v. McCormick

United States Court of Appeals, First Circuit

December 10, 2014

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Appellee,
v.
STEPHANIE L. McCORMICK, Defendant, Appellant

APPEAL FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF MAINE. Hon. John A. Woodcock, Jr., U.S. District Judge.

Joseph M. Bethony and Gross, Minsky & Mogul, P.A. on brief for appellant.

Thomas E. Delahanty II, United States Attorney, and René e M. Bunker, Assistant United States Attorney, on brief for appellee.

Before Howard, Selya and Thompson, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Page 358

SELYA, Circuit Judge.

This is a single-issue sentencing appeal in which the defendant challenges only the district court's enhancement of her guideline sentencing range (GSR) through a two-level role-in-the-offense adjustment for leading, organizing, managing, or supervising a criminal activity. See U.S.S.G. § 3B1.1(c). Discerning no clear error in the district court's essentially factual determination, we summarily affirm the defendant's sentence.

The silhouette of the case is easily sketched. In January of 2013, defendant-appellant Stephanie L. McCormick and her cousin, Anthony Post, began partying with drugs. Oxycodone was their drug of choice, and when their supply ran out, the pair, after considering other alternatives, decided to rob a local pharmacy. A vehicle was needed and the defendant recruited an acquaintance, Candice Eaton, to drive them in her car.

The record is tenebrous as to what Eaton knew and when she knew it. According to the defendant, Eaton thought (when she agreed to help) that Post and the defendant were going to " rip someone off" to get drugs, not that they were going to rob a pharmacy.

On January 22, Eaton, accompanied by a minor identified as " C.P.," drove Post and the defendant to a CVS pharmacy in Augusta, Maine. While the others waited in the car, Post walked into the store and presented a note to staff members. The note commanded them to " put [a]ll oxycodone in a bag" and threatened that he would " start shooting" otherwise. The pharmacy workers complied, filling a bag with bottles containing several hundred pills. When Post returned, the defendant -- in full view of Eaton and C.P. -- began emptying the contents of the purloined bottles of prescription drugs into the CVS bag. Eaton, following commands from the defendant, drove the car to her own apartment, stopping once en route so that an errand demanded by the defendant could be performed and once again so that the occupants of the car could " get high." When the contraband was divvied up, Eaton received a share.

The culprits were quickly brought to book. On March 21, 2013, the defendant waived indictment and entered a guilty plea to an information charging her with Hobbs Act robbery (specifically, that she aided and abetted the taking of controlled substances from the pharmacy through the

Page 359

use of threatened violence) in violation of 18 U.S.C. § § 2, 1951.

The preparation of the presentence investigation report generated some controversy. The parties' dispute centered on the dimensions of the appropriate GSR. Everyone agreed to most of the components: a base offense level of 20, see U.S.S.G. § 2B3.1(a); a two-level enhancement for a threat of death made during the robbery, see id. § 2B3.1(b)(2)(F); a one-level enhancement because a controlled substance was involved, see id. § 2B3.1(b)(6); a three-level downward adjustment for acceptance of responsibility, see id. § 3E1.1; and a criminal history category of I. The ...


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