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United States v. Keys

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

May 11, 2015

United States of America, Plaintiff - Appellee
v.
Corey Damon Keys, Defendant - Appellant

Submitted April 17, 2015.

Appeal from United States District Court for the Southern District of Iowa - Davenport.

For United States of America, Plaintiff - Appellee: Jason T. Griess, Assistant U.S. Attorney, Maureen McGuire, Assistant U.S. Attorney, U.S. ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, Des Moines, IA; Adam Kerndt, Assistant U.S. Attorney, U.S. ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, Davenport, IA.

For Corey Damon Keys, Defendant - Appellant: Clemens A. Erdahl, NIDEY & ERDAHL, Cedar Rapids, IA.

Corey Damon Keys, Defendant - Appellant, Pro se, Pollock, LA.

Before RILEY, Chief Judge, LOKEN and SHEPHERD, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Page 1241

RILEY, Chief Judge.

Corey Keys pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute a substance containing cocaine in violation of 21 U.S.C. § § 841(a)(1), (b)(1)(B), and 846. The district court[1] determined Keys was a career offender and sentenced him to 151 months imprisonment. Keys appeals his sentence, claiming he does not qualify as a career offender and his sentence is substantively unreasonable. With appellate jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1291, we affirm.

I. BACKGROUND

Keys is a repeat drug trafficker with three prior Iowa state drug convictions. The first occurred in 2005, when state prosecutors convicted Keys of delivering cocaine and possessing cocaine with intent to deliver stemming from events in April and May of 2005. This conviction resulted in a suspended sentence of ten years. Second, Keys was convicted in 2008 of possessing cocaine with intent to deliver as a result of events on February 27, 2008, and was sentenced to ten years imprisonment. Keys's third drug conviction occurred in 2009, when he was convicted of delivering cocaine in 2007 and 2008, and was sentenced to twenty years in prison.

Keys was incarcerated at the Iowa Department of Corrections from September 22, 2008, until being paroled on April 30, 2012. Keys admits that, while incarcerated, he was not directly involved in any drug trafficking or possession. Almost immediately upon his release from prison, Keys resumed supplying cocaine to numerous individuals, using the same accomplices and modus operandi as before his imprisonment. After law enforcement conducted a series of controlled buys, a federal grand jury indicted Keys, and Keys pled guilty to the charges in this case. Specifically, Keys admitted in a plea agreement the following:

Starting during or about March 6, 2012, and continuing to on or about April 24, 2013, the defendant and other persons reached an agreement or came to an understanding to distribute cocaine. The defendant voluntarily and intentionally joined in the agreement or understanding at some later time while it was still in effect.

At sentencing, Keys objected to the application of United States Sentencing Guidelines (U.S.S.G. or Guidelines) ยง 4B1.1(a), claiming he was not a career offender because his 2008 and 2009 convictions were part of the same conspiracy for which Keys was charged in this case. The district court rejected Keys's claims and determined he was a career offender. After calculating an ...


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