United States v. Jones

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Sentencing
  • Date Filed: 10-05-2012
  • Case #: 12-50042
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge Thomas for the Court; Circuit Judges Alarcon and Berzon.
  • Full Text Opinion

State recidivism enhancements may be considered under federal sentencing guidelines when determining felony convictions in supervised release revocation proceedings, even if the violation would be considered a misdemeanor without the recidivism enhancements.

“The central question on appeal is whether a state conviction should count as a felony for federal sentencing purposes in supervised release revocation proceedings, when the conviction would have been categorized as a misdemeanor if a recidivist enhancement had not been imposed.” In 2006, Jones “pleaded guilty to possessing counterfeit obligations with intent to defraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 472.” “In 2010, while on supervised release, Jones was convicted of indecent exposure”—his second offense. Cal. Penal Code § 314 states that a subsequent conviction for indecent exposure is a felony, although the initial conviction is not. While sentenced to 14 months in custody and 22 months of supervised release, “the court did not specify the violation grade or the applicable Guidelines range. The court read aloud the special conditions,” omitting two conditions the parties agreed upon. When the district court issued its written judgment, one omitted condition was included. The Court reviewed for plain error, because Jones failed to object to the sentencing before the district court. The Supreme Court has “rejected the theory that sentencing courts must “consider the sentence available for the crime itself, without considering separate recidivist sentencing enhancements.” “Considering the seriousness…is entirely consistent with the Guidelines and with the…purpose of a revocation sentence, sanctioning the … breach of trust.” “A more serious violation constitutes a more serious breach of the court’s trust.” “A recidivist enhancement is properly considered in imposing a revocation sentence, irrespective of when the initial conviction occurred.” When an oral pronouncement and a written judgment conflict, the oral pronouncement controls. Since the omitted residency condition was included in the written judgment, the Court vacated part of the judgment and remanded so that the condition could be struck from the written judgment. AFFIRMED in part; VACATED and REMANDED in part.

Advanced Search