United States of America v. Yuman-Hernandez

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Sentencing
  • Date Filed: 04-08-2013
  • Case #: 11-50219
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge Goodwin for the Court; Circuit Judge Fletcher and Senior District Judge Korman
  • Full Text Opinion

In the context of a “fictitious stash house robbery,” in order to establish sentencing entrapment a defendant only needs to show either a lack of intent or a lack of capability.

Yuman-Hernandez was convicted from charges stemming from a conspiracy to rob a drug stash house and his use of a firearm. Yuman-Hernandez agreed to take part in an invented robbery of a cocaine stash house as part of an Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (“ATF”) reverse sting operation targeting home-invasions. An undercover ATF agent informed Yuman-Hernandez and his co-defendants that he knew of a stash house that contained 20-25 kilograms of cocaine and presented Yuman Hernandez with an opportunity to withdraw. Yuman-Hernandez brought this appeal against the statutory mandatory-minimum sentence imposed against him of 180 months, arguing that the district court erred in rejecting his claim of sentencing entrapment. Sentencing entrapment ensues when a defendant already predisposed to carry out a lessor crime becomes entrapped to commit a greater crime that is subject to a greater punishment. Yuman-Hernandez argued that there was insufficient evidence to prove an affirmative predisposition to carry out a crime involving 20-25 kilograms of cocaine and that he was not capable of purchasing that much cocaine. The Ninth Circuit held that in order to establish sentencing entrapment, a defendant only needs to show either a lack of intent or a lack of capability because in a predisposition analysis, the capability prong is less relevant and manipulated more easily when applied to a context involving a fictitious stash house robbery. The predisposition-capability that was of interest was the capability to conspire with others to commit the robbery of the stash house. The panel found that it was Yuman-Hernandez’s burden to prove a lack of predisposition, which he failed to prove, and that the ability to purchase cocaine was irrelevant. AFFIRMED.

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