United States v. Watts, 519 U.S. 148, 3 (1997) (per curiam)

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150

UNITED STATES v. WATTS

Per Curiam

21 U. S. C. 841(a)(1), but acquitted him of using a firearm in relation to a drug offense, in violation of 18 U. S. C. 924(c). Despite Watts' acquittal on the firearms count, the District Court found by a preponderance of the evidence that Watts had possessed the guns in connection with the drug offense. In calculating Watts' sentence, the court therefore added two points to his base offense level under United States Sentencing Commission, Guidelines Manual 2D1.1(b)(1) (Nov. 1995) (USSG). The Court of Appeals vacated the sentence, holding that "a sentencing judge may not, 'under any standard of proof,' rely on facts of which the defendant was acquitted." 67 F. 3d, at 797 (quoting United States v. Brady, 928 F. 2d 844, 851, and n. 12 (CA9 1991), abrogated on other grounds, Nichols v. United States, 511 U. S. 738 (1994)) (emphasis added in Watts). The Government argued that the District Court could have enhanced Watts' sentence without considering facts "necessarily rejected" by the jury's acquittal on the 924(c) charge because the sentencing enhancement did not require a connection between the firearm and the predicate offense, whereas 924(c) did. The court rejected this argument, stated that both the enhancement and 924(c) involved such a connection, and held that the District Court had impermissibly "reconsider[ed] facts that the jury necessarily rejected by its acquittal of the defendant on another count." 67 F. 3d, at 796.

In Putra, authorities had videotaped two transactions in which Putra and a codefendant (a major drug dealer) sold cocaine to a Government informant. The indictment charged Putra with, among other things, one count of aiding and abetting possession with intent to distribute one ounce of cocaine on May 8, 1992; and a second count of aiding and abetting possession with intent to distribute five ounces of cocaine on May 9, 1992, both in violation of 21 U. S. C. 841(a)(1) and 18 U. S. C. 2. The jury convicted Putra on the first count but acquitted her on the second. At sentencing, however, the District Court found by a preponderance

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