United States Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit
April 4, 2019
from the United States District Court for the District of
Columbia (No. 1:15-cr-00120-1)
Rosanna M. Taormina, Assistant Federal Public Defender,
argued the cause for appellant. With her on the briefs was
A.J. Kramer, Federal Public Defender. Tony Axam Jr.,
Assistant Federal Public Defender, entered an appearance.
Elizabeth Gabriel, Assistant U.S. Attorney, argued the cause
for appellee. With her on the briefs were Jessie K. Liu, U.S.
Attorney, and Elizabeth Trosman and Stephen J. Gripkey,
Assistant U.S. Attorneys.
Before: Griffith and Srinivasan, Circuit Judges, and
Randolph, Senior Circuit Judge.
RANDOLPH, SENIOR CIRCUIT JUDGE
T. Duckett appeals his latest sentence of 24 months'
imprisonment. He claims that his sentence should have been
lower and that the district court did not sufficiently
explain why it was imposing a term of imprisonment greater
than the Sentencing Guidelines range.
framed the issue in terms of Duckett's "latest
sentence" because Duckett, now in his mid-50s, has been
in nearly continuous custody for one offense or another since
the 1980s. In his teens he began committing petty crimes and
the older he grew the more violent he became. He moved on to
distributing illegal drugs, stabbing, robbing, attempting
murder, and murdering.
District of Columbia area during a nine-year period beginning
when Duckett was 18 years old, he served time for simple
assault, attempted petty larceny, attempted robbery, armed
robbery, theft, and attempted distribution of cocaine. After
his release on parole, he violated the terms of his release.
Imprisoned again, this time in Virginia, Duckett stabbed
another inmate repeatedly - in the chest and in the back -
with a "shank," and continued his onslaught even as
a prison guard intervened to protect the victim. A jury found
Duckett guilty of assault with intent to murder, assault
causing serious bodily harm, and possession of contraband
(the shank). The court sentenced him to 20 years'
1994, while serving this sentence at the Lewisburg,
Pennsylvania, federal penitentiary, Duckett stabbed another
inmate to death. The Bureau of Prisons transferred him to
"ADX" (Administrative Maximum) Florence, Colorado,
by some accounts the nation's most secure federal prison.
Florence, Duckett assisted another inmate - Dominic Stewart -
in attacking prisoner Gregory Joiner and beating him to
death. A federal grand jury in Colorado indicted Duckett and
Stewart for second degree murder and assault resulting in
serious bodily injury. Stewart faced an additional first
degree murder charge for the crime.
negotiated a cooperation agreement with the prosecution,
pursuant to which he pled guilty to the assault charge and
testified against Stewart. In return, the prosecutor filed a
motion for a downward sentencing departure. The federal
district court in Colorado concurred and sentenced Duckett to
42 months of imprisonment, followed by three years of
supervised release. Duckett started serving this period of
supervised release in October 2014.
brings us to the events leading to Duckett's latest
sentence of 24 months' imprisonment. Duckett moved back
to Washington, D.C. in the fall of 2014. Chief Judge Howell
of the federal district court here assumed jurisdiction over
his compliance with the terms of his supervised release from
the sentence imposed in Colorado.
December 2014, shortly after his arrival here, he was
arrested for assault, aggressive panhandling, and carrying a
prohibited weapon. In April 2015, while detained, he
assaulted a prison guard. In May 2015, the D.C. Superior