United States v. Watts, 519 U.S. 148, 2 (1997) (per curiam)

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Cite as: 519 U. S. 148 (1997)

Per Curiam

whether a preponderance of the evidence either established Putra's participation in the May 9 sale or Watts' use of a firearm in connection with a drug offense.

Certiorari granted; 67 F. 3d 790 and 78 F. 3d 1386, reversed and remanded.

Per Curiam.

In these two cases, two panels of the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that sentencing courts could not consider conduct of the defendants underlying charges of which they had been acquitted. United States v. Watts, 67 F. 3d 790 (CA9 1995) (Watts); United States v. Putra, 78 F. 3d 1386 (CA9 1996) (Putra). Every other Court of Appeals has held that a sentencing court may do so, if the Government establishes that conduct by a preponderance of the evidence.1 The Government filed a single petition for certiorari seeking review of both cases, pursuant to this Court's Rule 12.4, to resolve this split. Because the panels' holdings conflict with the clear implications of 18 U. S. C. 3661, the Sentencing Guidelines, and this Court's decisions, particularly Witte v. United States, 515 U. S. 389 (1995), we grant the petition and reverse in both cases.

In Watts, police discovered cocaine base in a kitchen cabinet and two loaded guns and ammunition hidden in a bedroom closet of Watts' house. A jury convicted Watts of possessing cocaine base with intent to distribute, in violation of

1 United States v. Boney, 977 F. 2d 624, 635-636 (CADC 1992); United States v. Mocciola, 891 F. 2d 13, 16-17 (CA1 1989) (criticized in dicta in United States v. Lanoue, 71 F. 3d 966, 984 (CA1 1995)); United States v. Rodriguez-Gonzalez, 899 F. 2d 177, 180-182 (CA2), cert. denied, 498 U. S. 844 (1990); United States v. Ryan, 866 F. 2d 604, 608-609 (CA3 1989); United States v. Isom, 886 F. 2d 736, 738-739 (CA4 1989); United States v. Juarez-Ortega, 866 F. 2d 747, 748-749 (CA5 1989) (per curiam); United States v. Milton, 27 F. 3d 203, 208-209 (CA6 1994), cert. denied, 513 U. S. 1085 (1995); United States v. Fonner, 920 F. 2d 1330, 1332-1333 (CA7 1990); United States v. Dawn, 897 F. 2d 1444, 1449-1450 (CA8), cert. denied, 498 U. S. 960 (1990); United States v. Coleman, 947 F. 2d 1424, 1428-1429 (CA10 1991), cert. denied, 503 U. S. 972 (1992); United States v. Averi, 922 F. 2d 765, 765-766 (CA11 1991) (per curiam).

149

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