United States

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No. 17-30139 (9th Cir. Sep. 5, 2018)

No. 17-30139


UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. DUSTY WHITEHOUSE, Defendant-Appellant.


D.C. No. 1:15-cr-00147-SPW-3 MEMORANDUM Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Montana
Susan P. Watters, District Judge, Presiding Submitted August 31, 2018 Seattle, Washington Before: HAWKINS, McKEOWN, and W. FLETCHER, Circuit Judges.

This disposition is not appropriate for publication and is not precedent except as provided by Ninth Circuit Rule 36-3.

The panel unanimously concludes this case is suitable for decision without oral argument. See Fed. R. App. P. 34(a)(2).

Appellant Dusty Whitehouse ("Whitehouse") appeals her sentence for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine, possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, and distribution of methamphetamine. We affirm.

The district court did not violate Apprendi or contradict the jury's findings by using the guideline sentencing range for pure methamphetamine. The jury was properly asked to determine the quantity of drugs involved, as this affects the statutory penalty imposed; here, the jury concluded Whitehouse was responsible for "at least 50 grams" or more of a "substance containing a detectible amount of methamphetamine." The only drugs seized in this case tested 98.2% pure, and there was no contrary evidence submitted that other deliveries involved less pure substances; it was not clear error for the court to extrapolate that purity to the quantity found by the jury. United States v. Lopes-Montes, 165 F.3d 730, 732 (9th Cir. 1999) ("[U]sing the purity of drugs actually seized to estimate the purity of the total quantity of drugs the defendant agreed to deliver is an appropriate method of establishing the base [guideline] offense level."). The district court did not abuse its discretion by denying Whitehouse's request for an acceptance of responsibility adjustment. U.S.S.G § 3E1.1. Although at trial Whitehouse conceded responsibility for Count 3, she continued to contest elements of the other two counts. It is an exceptional and rare case where a defendant who goes to trial should be granted a downward adjustment for acceptance of responsibility, see United States v. Weiland, 420 F.3d 1062, 1080 (9th Cir. 2005), and the court was within its discretion to find such exceptional circumstances did not apply in this case.

Apprendi v. New Jersey, 530 U.S. 466 (2000). --------