United States v. Rosales-Gonzales

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Law
  • Date Filed: 09-16-2015
  • Case #: 14-50286
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge Nelson for the Court; Circuit Judges Silverman and McLane Wardlaw
  • Full Text Opinion

A district court judge has discretion to reject a party’s request or recommendation regarding a defendant’s sentence, even if the party’s recommendation is included in the plea agreement.

Guadalupe Rosales-Gonzales pled guilty and was convicted as a removed immigrant in violation of 8 U.S.C. § 1326. Rosales-Gonzales’ plea agreement required both parties to recommend a four-level departure pursuant to § 5K3.1 of the Sentencing Guidelines (“fast-track”) as well as a nine-month imprisonment. However, the district court called the parties’ recommendations “preliminary thoughts” and did not put Rosales-Gonzales on the fast-track, instead sentencing him to a twenty-seven-month imprisonment. On appeal, the Ninth Circuit held that the district court did not commit a procedural error. The panel explained that the district court had discretion to reject the parties’ joint request for fast-track departure. The panel further held that the district court did not impose a substantively unreasonable sentence. The district court properly considered the § 3553(a) sentencing factors in calculating Rosales-Gonzales’ twenty-seven-month sentence. AFFIRMED.

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