United States v. Huitron-Rocha

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Law
  • Date Filed: 11-07-2014
  • Case #: 13-50306
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge Graber for the Court; Senior Circuit Judge Ebel and Circuit Judge Kleinfeld
  • Full Text Opinion

A state statute is “divisible” under Descamps v. United States when that statute includes a listing of other controlled substances and the statute is indicative that the controlled substance constitutes an essential element of the crime.

Efrain Huitron-Rocha plead guilty to a violation of 8 U.S.C. § 1326(a) for reentering the United States after removal and without permission. Huitron-Rocha was sentenced to 41 months incarceration by the district court after it applied the modified categorical approach in determining that Huitron-Rocha’s prior conviction for possession and transportation of cocaine for sale by the State of California qualifies as a “drug trafficking offense” under U.S.S.G. § 2L1.2(b)(1)(A). Huitron-Rocha brought this appeal and argued that the district court committed an error in utilizing the modified categorical approach in that the California crime he was convicted of does not qualify as a “divisible” statute under Descamps v. United States. The Ninth Circuit rejected Huitron-Rocha’s argument, holding that the modified categorical approach is appropriate when determining if a defendant’s prior conviction qualifies as a drug trafficking offense when imposing sentencing. In that, as here, a state statute is “divisible” under Descamps v. United States when that statute includes a listing of other controlled substances and the statute is indicative that the controlled substance constitutes an essential element of the crime. AFFIRMED.

Advanced Search