In United States v. Mosley, No. 20-11146 (Apr. 21, 2022) (William Pryor, Jordan, Brown (N.D. Ga.)) (per curiam), the Court vacated Mr. Mosley’s sentence and remanded for further proceedings.

Mr. Mosley pleaded guilty to one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 922(g) and 924(a)(2).  At sentencing, his advisory Guidelines’ range was calculated to be 37 to 46 months’ imprisonment.  Both his attorney and the government requested a sentence within the guideline range.  The district court, however, varied upwards to 87 months’ imprisonment on account of Mr. Mosley’s criminal activity and background.  Subsequently, in its Statement of Reasons, the district court stated it imposed the sentence, in part, because the weapon involved was stolen from the police department.  Mr. Mosley appealed, arguing that the district court erred in sentencing him based on that conclusion without first allowing him an opportunity to object.

The Court agreed with Mr. Mosley.  It reaffirmed that under Jones, a district court must elicit fully articulated objections, following imposition of sentence, to the court’s ultimate findings of fact and conclusions of law.  The district court here did not follow the Jones procedure.  No one mentioned that the firearm had been stolen from a police department at the sentencing hearing.  That fact was not set out in the PSI.  As such, because the district court first announced this conclusion after the sentencing hearing when it issued the written document, the district court did not provide Mosley an opportunity to object to its finding as to the victim of the theft.

The Court noted, however, that its holding was narrow, and not an invitation for new Jones claims based on the Statement of Reasons.  It reaffirmed that a district court’s post-sentencing Statement of Reasons form is not typically a document a defendant may use to pursue a Jones violation.