United States v. Catalan

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Sentencing
  • Date Filed: 11-19-2012
  • Case #: 11-50318
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Per Curiam; Chief Circuit Judge Kozinski; Circuit Judges Trott and Thomas
  • Full Text Opinion

"The Sentencing Commission recently clarified that a probation revocation sentence served after deportation should not be used to calculate the “sentence imposed” under section 2L1.2(b)(1)" of the US Sentencing Guidelines, so the Court retroactively applied the amendment and vacated Catalan's sentence that had been determined by including the probation revocation sentence served after his deportation.

After a conviction in California, Moises Catalan was sentenced to 180 days in jail and 36 months probation but was deported after his jail time; however, he illegally reentered the US and was again arrested and sentenced to 60 days in jail, while still on probation for his previous conviction, so the state court revoked the probation and sentenced him 360 more days in jail. After he completed the sentence, Catalan went into federal custody and pled guilty to illegal reentry. The issue on appeal is “whether a “sentence imposed” pursuant to section 2L1.2(b)(1) of the United States Sentencing Guidelines includes a probation revocation sentence served after the defendant was deported.” The Ninth Circuit noted that whether a defendant is subject to a 16-level or 12-level enhancement, pursuant to the Guidelines, hinges on the length of the sentence imposed, and Catalan argued that “sentence imposed” included only his 180 day sentence prior to his deportation. The district court held that it also included the probation revocation sentence, so it applied the 16-level enhancement and sentenced him to 27 months in prison. Court of Appeals Circuits were divided on the issue, so the Sentencing Commission recently clarified the ambiguity in an amendment and, effective November 1, 2012, determined that “sentence imposed” includes “any term of imprisonment given upon revocation of probation, parole, or supervised release, but only if the revocation occurred before the defendant was deported or unlawfully remained in the United States.” The Ninth Circuit used the amendment to retroactively interpret the Guidelines and held that “the district court erred in imposing a 16-level enhancement under section 2L1.2(b)(1)(A), rather than a 12-level enhancement under section 2L1.2(b)(1)(B). VACATED and REMANDED.

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