United States v. Hernandez

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Sentencing
  • Date Filed: 10-20-2014
  • Case #: 13-50632
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Per Curiam: Circuit Judges Pregerson, Tallman, and Bea
  • Full Text Opinion

A state statute is deemed to be a "categorical match” whereby allowing federal courts to impose sentencing enhancements upon a state conviction only if the state statute details the same or less amounts of conduct as the comparable federal statute.

Julio Cesar Arriaga-Hernandez was convicted of illegal reentry under 8 U.S.C. § 1326(a). Hernandez received an enhanced sentence of 33 months under 8 U.S.C. § 1326(b)(2) after the sentencing judge found that the previous conviction Hernandez had from California for felon in possession of a firearm, qualified as an aggravated felony. Hernandez objected to the enhanced sentence he received and filed this appeal. The Ninth Circuit held that the California felon in possession of a firearm statute does not constitute a “categorical match for the federal firearms offense.” A state statute is deemed to be a “categorical match” whereby allowing federal courts to impose sentencing enhancements upon a state conviction only if the state statute details the same or less amounts of conduct as the comparable federal statute. Here, because the California statue for felon in possession of a firearm is broader than the federal statute defining that crime, due to California prosecuting for the possession of antique firearms, the statute is not a “categorical match.” REVERSED AND REMANDED.

Advanced Search