United States v. Gomez, 050919 FED3, 18-1394

Docket Nº:18-1394
Opinion Judge:CHAGARES, CIRCUIT JUDGE.
Party Name:UNITED STATES OF AMERICA v. RAJAB GOMEZ, Appellant
Judge Panel:Before: SMITH, Chief Judge, CHAGARES and BIBAS, Circuit Judges.
Case Date:May 09, 2019
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
 
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UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

v.

RAJAB GOMEZ, Appellant

No. 18-1394

United States Court of Appeals, Third Circuit

May 9, 2019

NOT PRECEDENTIAL

Submitted Pursuant to Third Circuit L.A.R. 34.1(a) January 25, 2019

On Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey (D.C. No. 2:11-cr-00296-001) District Judge: Hon. Susan D. Wigenton

Before: SMITH, Chief Judge, CHAGARES and BIBAS, Circuit Judges.

OPINION [*]

CHAGARES, CIRCUIT JUDGE.

Appellant Rajab Gomez challenges the procedural and substantive reasonableness of his sentence for violating a condition of his supervised release, and the denial of his request for an adjournment of his revocation hearing. For the following reasons, we will affirm.

I.

Because we write principally for the parties, we recite only those facts necessary to our decision.

In 2011, Gomez pleaded guilty to distribution of a substance containing cocaine base under 21 U.S.C. § 841(a), (b)(1)(B), and 18 U.S.C. § 2. He was sentenced in March 2014 to a term of twenty-four months of imprisonment and a four-year term of supervised release, the latter of which included as a condition that Gomez not commit a federal, state, or local crime during his period of supervision.

Five months into his supervised release, Gomez was arrested for physically assaulting and robbing a man in Pennsylvania. He pleaded guilty in state court to robbery, simple assault, and receiving stolen property, and he was sentenced to "a minimum period of two years to a maximum period of four years [of imprisonment] followed by a consecutive term of two years of probation." Appendix ("App.") 37. Gomez ultimately served a two-year term of imprisonment in a Pennsylvania state facility.

After his arrest for the state offense, the Government charged Gomez with eight violations of his supervised release, but pursued only the one relating to his commission of the state crime. During a revocation hearing, the District Court concluded that Gomez violated his supervised release, revoked his term of supervision, and immediately proceeded to sentencing. At that hearing - and in a sealed letter submitted to the court ("January 2018 letter") upon which he relied during the hearing - Gomez argued that he should receive a lenient sentence because of his: conduct while on pre-trial release for the underlying federal offense; security concerns during his incarceration and supervised release; and completion of a two-year term of imprisonment for the Pennsylvania offense. Ultimately, the court sentenced Gomez to thirty-six months of imprisonment, to be served consecutively to any previous state or federal term of imprisonment. Gomez raised no objection to the sentence.

Also during the hearing, Gomez requested an adjournment to retrieve from his home certain letters regarding the aforementioned security concerns. After hearing argument from the Government, and after Gomez's attorney admitted that the contents of the letters at issue were expressed in the January 2018 letter, the District Court denied the request, concluding that there was an insufficient basis for an adjournment.

Gomez now appeals, challenging his sentence as procedurally and substantively unreasonable, and the denial of his request for an adjournment as an abuse of discretion. Upon consideration of the briefs and the record, we are not persuaded by Gomez's arguments.

II.1

A.

We begin by determining whether Gomez's sentence was procedurally reasonable. Gomez argues that the District Court erroneously: failed to consider and adequately explain its rejection of his mitigation arguments; failed to consider and adequately explain its analysis of the 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a) factors; and required, without adequate explanation, his sentence to be served consecutively rather than concurrently.

As to the first alleged procedural error, Gomez contends that the District Court did not meaningfully consider and specifically articulate its rejection of his arguments that he deserved a lenient sentence because of his: (1) pre-trial release activities; (2) security concerns; (3) "additional 1-1/2 years in jail in Pennsylvania"; and (4) "troublesome upbringing" (an...

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