830 F.3d 168 (5th Cir. 2016), 15-41056, United States v. Sanchez-Rodriguez

Docket Nº:15-41056
Citation:830 F.3d 168
Opinion Judge:PER CURIAM
Party Name:UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff - Appellee v. BENITO SANCHEZ-RODRIGUEZ, Defendant - Appellant
Attorney:For United States of America, Plaintiff - Appellee: Andrew R. Gould, Assistant U.S. Attorney, Renata Ann Gowie, Assistant U.S. Attorney, U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Texas, Houston, TX. For Benito Sanchez-Rodriguez, Defendant - Appellant: Marjorie A. Meyers, Federal Public Defende...
Judge Panel:Before KING, JOLLY, and ELROD, Circuit Judges.
Case Date:July 08, 2016
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
 
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Page 168

830 F.3d 168 (5th Cir. 2016)

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff - Appellee

v.

BENITO SANCHEZ-RODRIGUEZ, Defendant - Appellant

No. 15-41056

United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit

July 8, 2016

PLEASE REFER TO FEDERAL RULES OF APPELLATE PROCEDURE RULE 32.1 GOVERNING THE CITATION TO UNPUBLISHED OPINIONS.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas. USDC No. 1:14-CR-880.

For United States of America, Plaintiff - Appellee: Andrew R. Gould, Assistant U.S. Attorney, Renata Ann Gowie, Assistant U.S. Attorney, U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Texas, Houston, TX.

For Benito Sanchez-Rodriguez, Defendant - Appellant: Marjorie A. Meyers, Federal Public Defender, Scott Andrew Martin, Assistant Federal Public Defender, H. Michael Sokolow, Assistant Federal Public Defender, Federal Public Defender's Office, Southern District of Texas, Houston, TX.

Before KING, JOLLY, and ELROD, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

PER CURIAM [*]

Defendant-Appellant Benito Sanchez-Rodriguez was convicted in 2002 of dealing in stolen property in a Florida state court. On April 30, 2015, Sanchez-Rodriguez pleaded guilty to one count of illegal reentry in violation of 8 U.S.C. § 1326(a) and (b)(1). In sentencing him, the district court concluded that Sanchez-Rodriguez's 2002 Florida conviction was an aggravated felony within the meaning of U.S.S.G. § 2L1.2(b)(1)(C). However, because the relevant Florida statute applies to conduct outside the definition of the generic crime under the sentencing Guidelines, we cannot agree that Sanchez-Rodriguez's conviction was an aggravated felony under U.S.S.G. § 2L1.2(b)(1)(C). Accordingly, we VACATE Sanchez-Rodriguez's sentence and REMAND for re-sentencing.

I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

In June 2002, the State of Florida filed a three-count criminal information against Defendant-Appellant Benito Sanchez-Rodriguez. As relevant here, the third count charged Sanchez-Rodriguez with " Dealing in Stolen Property," in violation of Florida Statute § 812.019. Specifically, the third count stated that Sanchez-Rodriguez " unlawfully traffic[ked] or endeavor[ed] to traffic in stolen property . . . and in so doing [Sanchez-Rodriguez] knew or should have known that said property was stolen." Sanchez-Rodriguez subsequently pleaded guilty to this count in Florida state court, and he was sentenced to three years' imprisonment, which was suspended for three years' probation. Following this conviction, Sanchez-Rodriguez, who is a citizen of Mexico and who had no legal status in the United States, was deported to Mexico in December 2002.

In May 2014, Sanchez-Rodriguez was arrested for driving while intoxicated in Texas. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents encountered Sanchez-Rodriguez while he was detained at a local jail following his arrest, and he admitted to them that he was a citizen of Mexico without legal status in the United States. Sanchez-Rodriguez was subsequently indicted on one count of illegal reentry in violation of 8 U.S.C. § 1326(a) and (b)(1). On April 30, 2015, he pleaded guilty to the indictment without a plea agreement, and the district court accepted his plea in August 2015.

A United States Probation Officer prepared a presentence investigation report (PSR) using the 2014 edition of the United States Sentencing Guidelines (U.S.S.G.). Under U.S.S.G. § 2L1.2(a), Sanchez-Rodriguez was assigned a base offense level of eight. The base offense level was enhanced by eight levels because, according to the PSR, Sanchez-Rodriguez's 2002 Florida conviction for dealing in stolen property qualified as an " aggravated felony" under U.S.S.G. § 2L1.2(b)(1)(C). Sanchez-Rodriguez's offense level was reduced by three levels based on his acceptance of responsibility and his guilty plea, yielding a total offense level of 13. See U.S.S.G. § 3E1.1. Based on his criminal history, Sanchez-Rodriguez was assigned a criminal history category of IV. With an offense level of 13 and a criminal history category of IV, the Guidelines range for Sanchez-Rodriguez was 24 to 30 months' imprisonment.

Sanchez-Rodriguez filed written objections to the PSR, arguing that his stolen-property conviction was not an aggravated felony as defined by U.S.S.G. § 2L1.2(b)(1)(C) or 8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(43) and that, therefore, he was not eligible for the eight-level enhancement. Sanchez-Rodriguez also objected to the enhancement at sentencing, arguing that " the Florida statute is overly broad." The district court overruled Sanchez-Rodriguez's objections and adopted the PSR in full. The court then sentenced him to 27 months' imprisonment--the middle of the Guidelines range. Sanchez-Rodriguez timely appealed, challenging the aggravated-felony enhancement based on overbreadth.

II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

We review a district court's sentencing decision " for reasonableness." United States v. Anderson, 559 F.3d 348, 354 (5th Cir. 2009). In doing so, we review the district court's interpretation of the Guidelines de novo. United States v. Cisneros-Gutierrez, 517 F.3d 751, 764 (5th Cir. 2008). If the defendant fails to object at sentencing, our review is only for plain error. Anderson, 559 F.3d at 354. Sanchez-Rodriguez argues that the appropriate standard of review is de novo, while the Government contends that plain error review applies. However, the court, not the parties, must determine the...

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