United States v. De La Torre Jimenez

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Law
  • Date Filed: 11-07-2014
  • Case #: 13-50438
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge Graber for the Court; Circuit Judges Ebel and Kleinfeld
  • Full Text Opinion

Section 11351 of the California Health and Safety Code is “divisible” within the meaning of Descamps v. United States.

The defendant, Miguel de la Torre-Jimenez appealed his 18-month sentence after the district court found him guilty of being a deported alien found in the United States after removal. The district court concluded that Torre-Jimenez was guilty of a drug trafficking offense as defined in U.S.S.G. § 2L1.2(b)(1)(A) for possessing cocaine with the intent to sell. On his appeal, Torre-Jimenez argued that under his initial drug charge, a violation of California Health and Safety Code section 11351, “the court could not use the modified categorical approach because section 11351 is not ‘divisible’ within the meaning of Descamps v. United States” and “even if that approach is permissible, the documents presented by the government did not demonstrate that his prior conviction was for a ‘drug trafficking offense.’” First, the panel applied the reasoning in Coronado v. Holder, a case holding that the California Health and Safety Code section 11315 is divisible, to determine if section 11351 is divisible. The panel held Section 1351 is divisible within the meaning of Descamps v. United States. Next, the panel addresses was whether or not the defendant’s prior conviction should be categorized as a drug trafficking offense. The panel did this by “compar[ing] the statutory definition of the underlying offense to the Guidelines definition of a ‘drug trafficking offense.’ Based on that reasoning, the panel held that under the sentencing guidelines, his crime constituted a “drug trafficking offense” as the statute defines. The panel therefore concluded that the district court was correct in determining the defendant had committed a drug trafficking offense. The District Court is therefore AFFIRMED.

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