United States v. Cereceres, 061219 FED9, 18-10233

Docket Nº:18-10233
Party Name:UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. ARELVY MARIA CERECERES, Defendant-Appellant.
Judge Panel:Before GOULD, IKUTA, and R. NELSON, Circuit Judges.
Case Date:June 12, 2019
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit



ARELVY MARIA CERECERES, Defendant-Appellant.

No. 18-10233

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

June 12, 2019


Submitted June 10, 2019 [**] San Francisco, California

Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Arizona James Alan Soto, District Judge, Presiding D.C. No. 4:17-cr-00605-JAS-JR-2

Before GOULD, IKUTA, and R. NELSON, Circuit Judges.


Arelvy María Cereceres was indicted on one count of smuggling goods from the United States, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 554(a), as a result of her conduct in acquiring and delivering 15, 265 rounds of ammunition to individuals in Mexico. The indictment also sought forfeiture of the ammunition or substitute property under 21 U.S.C. § 853(p) and 28 U.S.C. § 2461(c). Cereceres pleaded guilty. The district court sentenced Cereceres to 33 months imprisonment followed by three years supervised release and a special assessment of $100 dollars. The district court also entered a forfeiture order permitting the United States to seek $3, 939.99 of Cereceres's property as a substitute asset for the ammunition. On appeal, Cereceres challenges the validity of the forfeiture order and process, as well as the substantive and procedural reasonability of her sentence. We affirm.

1. Cereceres argues that the district court's statement at sentencing that "I'm going to order the forfeiture of any interest that this defendant may have had in the ammunition that was seized as part of this case" supplants the subsequent written order of forfeiture. However, soon after it made that statement, during the same hearing, the district court revised its statement and requested that the government file a written order of forfeiture that would be subject to objection from Cereceres and final approval by the court. As we interpret the district court's actions, the district court never actually made an oral forfeiture order. As we have held before, early statements in a sentencing hearing are not set "in stone," and judges may revise their orders "in light of new developments during the hearing." United...

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