US v. Medina-Castellanos
UNPUBLISHED UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FOURTH CIRCUIT
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff Appellee, v. CARLOS JAVIER MEDINA-CASTELLANOS, Defendant Appellant.
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina, at Wilmington. James C. Fox, Senior District Judge. (5:05-cr-00155-F-1)
December 1, 2009
January 4, 2010
Before KING and Circuit Judge.
Affirmed and remanded by unpublished per curiam opinion.
Terry F. Rose, Smithfield, North Carolina, for Appellant. Anne M. Hayes, Jennifer P. May-Parker, Assistant United States Attorneys, Raleigh, North Carolina, for Appellee.
Unpublished opinions are not binding precedent in this circuit.
PER CURIAM: Carlos Javier Medina-Castellanos appeals his
convictions and sentence following two jury trials on charges of conspiring to commit interstate transportation of stolen
property, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371 (2006) ("Count One"), and two counts of committing violent crimes in aid of
racketeering activity, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1959(a)(3) (2006) ("Counts Three and Four"). At the conclusion of
Medina-Castellanos' first jury trial, he was convicted on Counts One and Four. Count Four was based upon a May 2, 2004 home
invasion robbery that Medina-Castellanos organized, and in which he participated, against first a fellow co-conspirator. concluded, he After was
re-indicted for the conduct on which the first jury could not reach a verdict. with This indictment a also charged in Medinaaid of
racketeering activity, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1959(a)(3) ("Count Two"). Count Two was based upon a February 15, 2004
home invasion robbery that Medina-Castellanos organized, and in which he participated, against a different co-conspirator. At
the conclusion of his second jury trial, Medina-Castellanos was convicted on Count Two. At sentencing, Medina-Castellanos received an advisory guidelines range of 360 months to life imprisonment. 2 However,
the statutory maximum for Counts Four and Two was 240 months and sixty months for Count One. Because the district court
sentenced Medina-Castellanos to the statutory maximum sentence for each count and ordered that the sentences be served of 540
months' imprisonment fell within his advisory guidelines range. On appeal, Medina-Castellanos challenges the jury
convictions, arguing that the district court erred in admitting a letter Medina-Castellanos had written and that the district court erred in allowed his former wife to testify against him. He further raises multiple claims related to his sentence.
Finding no reversible error, we affirm. Medina-Castellanos first argues that the district
court erred in admitting, during his first trial, a letter he wrote to his uncle. Medina-Castellanos claims that the letter
was not adequately authenticated and that the letter was more prejudicial than probative. This court reviews decisions
regarding authentication of evidence under Fed. R. Evid. 901 for abuse of discretion. 713 (4th Cir. 2002). United States v. Patterson, 277 F.3d 709, Medina-Castellanos' claim of prejudice
under Fed. R. Evid. 403 is reviewed for plain error as it is raised for the first time on appeal. 507 U.S. 725, 732 (1993). United States v. Olano,
Plain error requires a finding that:
(1) there was error; (2) the error was "plain;" and (3) the 3
error affected Medina-Castellanos' substantial rights. the three elements to the notice are the met, error this only court "if or may
judicial proceedings." the proceedings and
We have reviewed the transcript of that the letter was properly
authenticated and its admission was not unduly prejudicial. Medina-Castellanos next argues that the district court erred in admitting the testimony of his former wife. extent Medina-Castellanos claims his former wife's To the testimony
violated the confidential marital communications privilege, his claim is reviewed for abuse of discretion. See United States v. To the extent testimony
Singleton, 260 F.3d 1295, 1301 (11th Cir. 2001). that Medina-Castellanos claims his former
violated the adverse spousal testimony privilege, his claim is reviewed for plain error because he did not lodge an objection in the district court on this basis. The confidential marital communication privilege
applies to "[i]nformation that is privately disclosed between husband and wife in the confidence of the marital relationship." United States v. Parker, 834 F.2d 408, 411 (4th Cir. 1987). Medina-Castellanos fails to point to any act to which his former wife testified that would fall within the confidential marital communications privilege. Therefore, 4 his claim fails. See
United States v. Acker, 52 F.3d 509, 514-15 (4th Cir. 1995). Also, Medina-Castellanos' adverse spousal testimony claim fails because Medina-Castellanos and his former spouse who testified were divorced at the time of his trials. Porter, 986 F.2d 1014, 1018 (6th Cir. 1993). As challenges the to his sentence, court's Medina-Castellanos of his first advisory According See United States v.
guidelines range with respect to Counts Four and Two.
to Medina-Castellanos, the district court should have calculated his base offense level for Counts Four and Two using U.S.
Assault, rather than USSG § 2A3.1, Criminal Sexual Abuse. reviewing guidelines, findings for a district this court court's reviews and application the of the
sentencing factual de novo.
United States v. Sosa-Carabantes, 561 F.3d 256, 259 (4th Cir. 2009). The district court applied the correct guideline, USSG § 2E1.3, to Counts Four and Two charging Medina-Castellanos with committing violent crimes in aid of racketeering activity. USSG § 2E1.3; USSG App. A (Statutory Index). See
According to USSG
§ 2E1.3, the district court is to apply the higher of either a base offense level of 12 or "the offense level applicable to the underlying crime or racketeering activity." 5 USSG § 2E1.3(a)(1),
Where, as here, more than one base offense level exists
within a particular guideline, a district court is to use the relevant conduct criteria in USSG § 1B1.3 to determine the
applicable offense level.
United States v. Smith, 232 F.3d 650,
651 (8th Cir. 2000); USSG § 1B1.2, comment. (n.2). Medina-Castellanos' relevant conduct included the
February 15, 2004 and May 2, 2004 robberies during which victims were sexually assaulted. Thus, the district court's
determination that sexual assault is the underlying crime for purposes of USSG § 2E1.3 is well-supported. See United States
v. Martinez, 136 F.3d 972, 979 (4th Cir. 1998) (upholding the district court's determination under USSG § 2E1.3(a)(2) that the defendant's base offense level was 32 pursuant to USSG § 2A1.5 because the defendant conspired to commit murder even though the defendant was acquitted of murder); see also United States v. Carrozza, 4 F.3d 70, 74 (1st Cir. 1993) (holding that, in
determining base offense level in a RICO case, district court should not limit its relevant conduct to predicate acts charged against the defendant, but instead should consider all conduct reasonably foreseeable to the defendant in furtherance of the RICO enterprise). Accordingly, the district court did not err
in determining the offense guideline for Counts Four and Two. Medina-Castellanos also challenges (1) the two-level USSG § 3B1.1(c) enhancement he received for Counts Four and Two 6
based on his leadership or management role, (2) the two-level enhancement he received pursuant to USSG § 2B1.1(b)(12)(B) for possession of a dangerous weapon for Count One, and (3) the twolevel USSG § 3C1.1 enhancement he received for obstructing
justice for Counts One and Four. 1 submitted in the appendices and
We have reviewed the materials the parties' arguments and
conclude that the district court did not err in applying the three challenged enhancements. 2 Finally, Medina-Castellanos claims that, because there were multiple counts that could not be grouped, the district court should have applied USSG § 5G1.2 rather than USSG § 3D1.4. Two of Medina-Castellanos' convictions were for violations of 18 U.S.C. § 1959(a)(3), which are covered by USSG § 2E1.3 and are specifically excluded from the grouping rules in USSG § 3D1.2. Therefore, the district court properly treated the three counts as separate groups and applied USSG § 3D1.4 in determining
Medina-Castellanos' combined offense level.
Medina-Castellanos' advisory guidelines range was calculated using the 2006 U.S. Sentencing Guidelines Manual. Section 2B1.1(b)(12)(B) was subsequently renumbered as USSG § 2B1.1(b)(13)(B). See USSG § 2B1.1(b)(13)(B) (2008). We have reviewed Medina-Castellanos' USSG § 3C1.1 claim for plain error because Medina-Castellanos failed to object to it in the district court
Accordingly, we affirm Medina-Castellanos' convictions and sentence. However, we remand the case to the district court
for correction of a clerical error in the criminal judgment. See Fed. R. Crim. P. 36. that Medina-Castellanos The judgment erroneously indicates pled guilty to the offenses of
This error does not affect the validity of MedinaWe dispense with oral are adequately
Castellanos' convictions or sentences. argument as the facts and legal
presented in the materials before the court and argument would not aid the decisional process. AFFIRMED AND REMANDED
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