Argued: October 24, 2017
from the United States District Court for the Middle District
of North Carolina, at Greensboro. James A. Beaty, Jr., Senior
District Judge. (1:15-cr-00223-JAB-1)
Dillard Inge, LAW OFFICE OF WAYNE D. INGE, Roanoke, Virginia,
David Pousson, OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY,
Greensboro, North Carolina, for Appellee.
J. Hairston, Acting United States Attorney, OFFICE OF THE
UNITED STATES ATTORNEY, Greensboro, North Carolina, for
GREGORY, Chief Judge, FLOYD, and HARRIS, Circuit Judges.
and remanded by published opinion. Chief Judge Gregory wrote
the opinion, in which Judge Floyd and Judge Harris joined.
GREGORY, Chief Judge.
Benjamin Cornelius Blue appeals his 272-month sentence, which
the district court imposed after Blue pled guilty to armed
bank robbery and brandishing a firearm during a crime of
violence. Blue argues that his sentence is unreasonable
because the district court failed to address his nonfrivolous
arguments in favor of a downward departure from the
sentencing range. We agree. For the reasons that follow, we
vacate Blue's sentence and remand for resentencing.
pled guilty to armed bank robbery, in violation of 18 U.S.C.
§§ 2113(a), (d) ("Count 1"), and
brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence, in
violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1)(A)(ii) ("Count
2"). The probation officer prepared a presentence report
("PSR"), stating that Blue pointed a firearm at a
bank teller and customer during the course of a bank robbery.
Blue's co-defendant provided Blue with the firearm that
Blue brandished during the robbery and drove the getaway
vehicle. The PSR also designated Blue a career offender
because of two predicate North Carolina convictions for
robbery with a dangerous weapon and federal armed bank
robbery. Due to his status as a career offender, the advisory
Sentencing Guidelines recommended a range of 188 to 235
months' imprisonment for Count 1. See U.S.
Sentencing Guidelines Manual §§ 4B1.1, 4B1.2, ch.
5, pt. A (sentencing table) (U.S. Sentencing Comm'n 2015)
addition, Blue faced a statutory mandatory minimum sentence
of 84 months' imprisonment on Count 2. 18 U.S.C. §
924(c)(1)(A)(ii). Thus, Blue's aggregate advisory
Guidelines range was 272 to 319 months' ...