United States v. Sierra, 080119 FED2, 15-2220(L)

Docket Nº:15-2220(L), 15-2247(CON), 15-2257(CON)
Opinion Judge:Dennis Jacobs, Circuit Judge
Party Name:United States of America, Appellee, v. Leonides Sierra, AKA Sealed Defendant 1, AKA Junito, AKA Junior, et al., Defendants, Carlos Lopez, AKA Sealed Defendant 15, AKA Carlito, Luis Beltran, AKA Sealed Defendant 26, AKA Gualey, Felix Lopez-Cabrera, AKA Sealed Defendant 14, AKA Suztancia, Defendants-Appellants.
Attorney:MATTHEW LAROCHE, Assistant United States Attorney (Micah W.J. Smith, Margaret Garnett, Assistant United States Attorneys, on the brief), United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York, New York, NY, for Appellee. SUSAN GAIL KELLMAN, Law Offices of Susan G. Kellman, Brooklyn...
Judge Panel:Before: NEWMAN, JACOBS, DRONEY, Circuit Judges.
Case Date:August 01, 2019
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
 
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United States of America, Appellee,

v.

Leonides Sierra, AKA Sealed Defendant 1, AKA Junito, AKA Junior, et al., Defendants,

Carlos Lopez, AKA Sealed Defendant 15, AKA Carlito, Luis Beltran, AKA Sealed Defendant 26, AKA Gualey, Felix Lopez-Cabrera, AKA Sealed Defendant 14, AKA Suztancia, Defendants-Appellants.

Nos. 15-2220(L), 15-2247(CON), 15-2257(CON)

United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit

August 1, 2019

Argued: May 6, 2019

Carlos Lopez, Luis Beltran, and Felix Lopez-Cabrera appeal from a judgment of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York sentencing them, inter alia, to mandatory minimum terms of life imprisonment applicable to convictions for murder in aid of racketeering. On appeal, the defendants argue that because they were between 18 and 22 years old when the murders were committed, a mandatory life sentence is cruel and unusual in violation of the Eighth Amendment. Lopez additionally argues that his mandatory life sentence is cruel and unusual because he did not kill, attempt to kill, or intend to kill the victims of his crimes.

Affirmed.

MATTHEW LAROCHE, Assistant United States Attorney (Micah W.J. Smith, Margaret Garnett, Assistant United States Attorneys, on the brief), United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York, New York, NY, for Appellee.

SUSAN GAIL KELLMAN, Law Offices of Susan G. Kellman, Brooklyn, NY (Ezra Spilke, Law Offices of Ezra Spilke PLLC, Brooklyn, NY, on the brief), for Appellant Carlos Lopez.

DANIEL S. NOOTER (Lee Ginsberg, on the brief), Freeman, Nooter & Ginsberg, New York, NY, for Appellant Luis Beltran. [*]

JESSE M. SIEGEL, Law Office of Jesse M. Siegel, New York, NY (Irving Cohen, Law Office of Irving Cohen, New York, NY, on the brief), for Appellant Felix Lopez-Cabrera.

Before: NEWMAN, JACOBS, DRONEY, Circuit Judges.

Dennis Jacobs, Circuit Judge

Carlos Lopez, Luis Beltran, and Felix Lopez-Cabrera (the "defendants") appeal from a judgment of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York (Engelmayer, J.) sentencing them, inter alia, to mandatory minimum terms of life imprisonment applicable to convictions for murder in aid of racketeering. On appeal, the defendants argue that because they were between 18 and 22 years old when the murders were committed, a mandatory life sentence is cruel and unusual in violation of the Eighth Amendment. Lopez additionally argues that his mandatory life sentence is cruel and unusual because he did not kill, attempt to kill, or intend to kill the victims of his crimes. The defendants' remaining arguments are adjudicated in a summary order filed today.

For the reasons explained below, the judgment of the district court is affirmed.

BACKGROUND

The February 2013 indictment charged Lopez, Beltran, Lopez-Cabrera, and 36 co-defendants with dozens of counts arising out of their membership in the Bronx Trinitarios Gang, a racketeering enterprise engaged in drug trafficking and violent crime. The jury convicted the defendants of charges including (as relevant to this opinion) substantive and conspiracy counts...

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