United States v. Ceballos

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Sentencing
  • Date Filed: 11-07-2011
  • Case #: 09-50502
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Per Curiam Opinion; Circuit Judges B. Silverman and Wardlaw and District Judge Sessions III
  • Full Text Opinion

Since it is up to the discretion of the Bureau of Prisons as to where the confinement of an inmate is to take place, the denial of a recommendation for a specific housing designation is not a final order that is appealable under 28 U.S.C. § 1291 or 18 U.S.C. § 3742.

After pleading guilty to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, Oscar Ceballos requested that the district court recommend a Southern California housing designation to the Bureau of Prisons. Ceballos’ request was not mentioned at his sentencing hearing. After Ceballos and the government filed a joint stipulation asking for the Judgment and Commitment Order to include his request to serve his sentence at a Southern California facility, it was denied by the district court, which stated that it was the Bureau of Prisons’ responsibility for the housing of prison inmate. Ceballos appealed to the Ninth Circuit under 28 U.S.C. § 1291 to determine if the district court’s denial of his request was proper. The Ninth Circuit first determined that the district court had no authority to amend the sentence after the entry of the Judgment and Commitment Order, since a district court’s authority to resentence defendants can only arise from the Court of Appeals mandate or from FRCP 35, neither of which were present in this case. Furthermore, the Ninth Circuit determined that the district court had no jurisdiction to select the place where the sentence would be served. The statutory authority to determine the place of confinement rests with the Bureau of Prisons. Therefore, the district court had no power to control the Bureau of Prison’s decisions or actions, and since the recommendation was not part of a sentence, it does not fit within the class of final orders that are appealable under 28 U.S.C. § 1291 or 18 U.S.C. § 3742. DISMISSED.

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