USA v. Jose Hernandez-Gomez
UNPUBLISHED OPINION FILED. [12-20317 Affirmed ] Judge: JES , Judge: ECP , Judge: SAH Mandate pull date is 02/27/2013 for Appellant Jose Luis Hernandez-Gomez [12-20317]
Date Filed: 02/06/2013
IN THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS
United States Court of Appeals
FOR THE FIFTH CIRCUIT
February 6, 2013
Lyle W. Cayce
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
JOSE LUIS HERNANDEZ-GOMEZ,
Appeal from the United States District Court
for the Southern District of Texas
USDC No. 4:11-CR-683-1
Before SMITH, PRADO, and HIGGINSON, Circuit Judges.
Jose Luis Hernandez-Gomez pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy and
two counts of harboring illegal aliens for the purpose of commercial advantage
and private financial gain. The district court sentenced Hernandez-Gomez to 37
months of imprisonment on each of the three counts, with the terms to run
concurrently. In determining this sentence, the district court adjusted upward
his base offense level by two levels, pursuant to U.S.S.G. § 2L1.1(b)(5)(C),
Pursuant to 5TH CIR. R. 47.5, the court has determined that this opinion should not
be published and is not precedent except under the limited circumstances set forth in 5TH CIR.
Date Filed: 02/06/2013
because Hernandez-Gomez possessed a firearm in relation to the offenses. On
appeal, Hernandez-Gomez argues that this finding was clearly erroneous.
Under the discretionary sentencing system established by United States
v. Booker, 543 U.S. 220 (2005), district courts retain a duty to consider the
Sentencing Guidelines, along with the sentencing factors set forth in 18 U.S.C.
§ 3553(a). United States v. Mares, 402 F.3d 511, 518–19 (5th Cir. 2005). “[A]
district court’s interpretation or application of the Sentencing Guidelines is
reviewed de novo, and its factual findings . . . are reviewed for clear error. There
is no clear error if the district court’s finding is plausible in light of the record as
a whole.” United States v. Cisneros-Gutierrez, 517 F.3d 751, 764 (5th Cir. 2008).
Hernandez-Gomez argues that the evidence that he took the firearm when
he went to work showed only the possibility that the firearm was possessed in
connection with his alien harboring conspiracy rather than his business of
installing countertops. The undisputed evidence is that Hernandez-Gomez was
engaged in alien smuggling for two years, that he “worked” in the enterprise of
alien smuggling, that he purchased a firearm for protection, and that he took the
firearm with him when he went to work. Assuming that the record allows for
the possibility that the firearm could have been used to protect his other
business, this possibility does not make the district court’s factual finding that
the firearm was used in relation to Hernandez-Gomez’s alien smuggling
implausible. See United States v. Davis, 76 F.3d 82, 84 (5th Cir. 1996) (holding
that the court of appeals may not reverse a plausible finding even though it
would have weighed the evidence differently). The district court did not clearly
err by finding that Hernandez-Gomez had possessed a firearm in relation to the
offenses of conviction.
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