Appeal from the United States District Court
for the Eastern District of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
No. 1:18-cr-00041-1—Travis R. McDonough, District Judge.
Argued: June 18, 2020
Decided and Filed: July 14, 2020
Before: COLE, Chief Judge; McKEAGUE and KETHLEDGE, Circuit Judges.
McKEAGUE, Circuit Judge. Under the United States Sentencing Guidelines, a
defendant’s sentence in federal court can be enhanced by his prior conviction in state court. An
earlier state drug crime, for instance, will often boost prison time for a federal one. But not
always. The guidelines have just one definition of drug crimes that can enhance sentences
(“controlled-substance offenses”), yet each state defines its drug crimes in its own way—
sometimes in ways that venture beyond the guidelines’ definition. Willie Garth’s appeal from
his sentence requires us to decide whether his prior Tennessee conviction for possessing
marijuana with intent to deliver counts as a sentence-enhancing controlled-substance offense.
We hold that it does, and affirm Garth’s sentence.