the recency of certain past criminal conduct – would have lowered his criminal history
category had it been applied to his sentencing determination.
Dennis‟s argument that his sentence is substantively unreasonable because his
Guidelines range, as a qualitative matter, should have amounted to a lesser criminal
history category is unavailing. The District Court adequately considered the totality of the
circumstances, including the applicable Guidelines range and the § 3553(a) factors, in
imposing the sentence. The District Court noted that Dennis had amassed six drug-
related crimes over a short period of time and had engaged in a broader pattern of
criminal conduct, which taken together evidenced a “total disregard for the law.”
Further, the District Court, upon Dennis‟s prompting, recommended that he receive drug
treatment to deter him from future criminal conduct, and granted a downward departure
of one offense level based on the disparity between crack cocaine and powder cocaine
and to avoid unwarranted sentencing disparities. We conclude that the District Court
imposed a substantively reasonable sentence.
Although Dennis asserts in his brief and 28(j) letter that subsequent amendments
to the Guidelines – in particular the elimination of U.S.S.G. § 4A1.1(e) (recency points)
and changes made in response to the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010, PL 111-220, 1234 Stat.
2372 (Aug. 3, 2010) – might have altered his Guidelines range, we review the “propriety
To the extent that Appellant asserts an argument that the District Court should
have granted a downward departure under § 4A1.3(b) of the Guidelines, we do not have
jurisdiction to review such discretionary decisions, “unless the record reflects that the
district court was not aware of or did not understand its discretion to make such a
departure.” United States v. Grier, 585 F.3d 138, 141 (3d Cir. 2009) (internal quotation
omitted); see also United States v. Jones, 566 F.3d 353, 368 (3d Cir. 2009). It is evident
that the District Court was aware of its discretion to depart from the Guidelines.