Friday, June 08, 2007

Above-Guideline Sentence Affirmed, Notwithstanding Erroneous Guideline Calculation

United States v. Antuna-Moran, No. 06-40103 (5th Cir. May 17, 2007) (per curiam) (Davis, Barksdale, Benavides)

The court's analysis here is so brief that rather than summarize the opinion, I'll just let you read the relevant portion for yourself:

Jose Cruz Antuna-Moran appeals his guilty-plea conviction and 46-month sentence for illegally reentering the United States after having been deported previously. Antuna-Moran argues that the district court erred by enhancing his base offense level pursuant to U.S.S.G. § 2L1.2(b)(1)(A)(ii) based upon a determination that his Texas conviction for aggravated assault of a peace officer was a crime of violence. He also argues that the district court’s statement that it would have sentenced him to 46 months of imprisonment, even if its guidelines calculations were incorrect, does not render the alleged sentencing error by the district court harmless.

Given our decision in United States v. Fierro-Reyna, 466 F.3d 324, 326, 329-30 (5th Cir. 2006), the district court erred in enhancing Antuna-Moran’s offense level under § 2L1.2(b)(1)(A)(ii) based upon his prior Texas conviction for aggravated assault on a peace officer. When a district court misapplies the Guidelines, remand is appropriate unless this court concludes, “on the record as a whole, that the error was harmless, i.e., that the error did not affect the district court’s selection of the sentence imposed.” United States v. Davis, 478 F.3d 266, 273 (5th Cir. 2007).

Here, Antuna-Moran’s sentence was not the result of the district court’s incorrect application of the Guidelines because the district court stated that, even if it had miscalculated the Guidelines, the resulting guidelines range would be unreasonably low and that it would impose the same 46-month sentence. See United States v. Tzep-Mejia, 461 F.3d 522, 525-26 (5th Cir. 2006). Moreover, the alternate non-guidelines sentence imposed by the district court is reasonable considering the case-specific factors cited by the district court. See id. at 527-28.

If you're thinking, "That reads a lot like an unpublished decision," you're right. The court designated this opinion as unpublished when it was originally issued on May 17th (link here). For whatever reason, it's now published.



Post a Comment

<< Home