USA v. Lorenzo Villegas-Espinoza
UNPUBLISHED OPINION FILED. [12-51148 Vacated and Remanded] Judge: HRD , Judge: PRO , Judge: JEG Mandate pull date is 03/20/2014 for Appellant Lorenzo Villegas-Espinoza [12-51148]
Date Filed: 02/27/2014
IN THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS
FOR THE FIFTH CIRCUIT
United States Court of Appeals
February 27, 2014
Lyle W. Cayce
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
Appeals from the United States District Court
for the Western District of Texas
USDC No. 3:12-CR-1493-1
Before DeMOSS, OWEN, and GRAVES, Circuit Judges.
PER CURIAM: *
Lorenzo Villegas-Espinoza appeals the 70-month sentence imposed
following his guilty plea conviction for illegal reentry following deportation in
violation of 8 U.S.C. § 1326. He contends that the district court plainly erred
when it assessed four criminal history points for two of his prior convictions
because the original sentences were imposed more than ten years prior to his
commission of the instant illegal reentry offense and the total term of
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 R. 47.5, the court has determined that this opinion should not
be published and is not precedent except under the limited circumstances set forth in 5TH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. R. 47.5.4.
Date Filed: 02/27/2014
imprisonment on each conviction did not exceed one year and one month.
Because Villegas-Espinoza did not object to the calculation of his criminal
history category in the district court, we review for plain error. See United
States v. Avalos-Martinez, 700 F.3d 148, 153 (5th Cir. 2012), cert. denied, 133
S. Ct. 1276 (2013).
As the Government concedes, the district court erred in calculating
Villegas-Espinoza’s criminal history category, and the error was clear or
obvious. The presentence report (PSR) provides that on May 2, 2001, VillegasEspinoza pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct—unreasonable noise and was
sentenced to 30 days of imprisonment and 12 months of probation. On May 2,
2002, he pleaded guilty to driving while ability impaired with a prior DUI and
was sentenced to 180 days of imprisonment and 24 months of probation.
Although Villegas-Espinoza’s probation sentences were revoked on June 18,
2003, and June 19, 2003, respectively, the total term of imprisonment on each
conviction did not exceed one year and one month. Thus, the relevant dates
for purposes of U.S.S.G. § 4A1.2(e) were the dates of the original sentences.
See § 4A1.2(k)(2)(C); United States v. Arviso-Mata, 442 F.3d 382, 385 (5th Cir.
Because Villegas-Espinoza’s original sentences were imposed more
than ten years before his illegal reentry on May 31, 2012, they should not have
been counted. See § 4A1.2(e)(1)-(3); Avalos-Martinez, 700 F.3d at 153; ArvisoMata, 442 F.3d at 385.
In the absence of the four criminal history points, Villegas-Espinoza’s
criminal history category would have been III. With a total offense level of 21,
his guidelines imprisonment range would have been 46 to 57 months, rather
than the 70 to 87-month range calculated by the district court. There is no
overlap between the correct and incorrect guidelines ranges, and VillegasEspinoza’s 70-month sentence exceeds the top of the correct guidelines range
Date Filed: 02/27/2014
by 13 months. Further, it is not apparent from the record that VillegasEspinoza would have received an above-guidelines sentence of 70 months of
imprisonment had the district court correctly calculated his criminal history
category. Although the district court noted that Villegas-Espinoza had an
extensive criminal history, that 11 of his prior convictions had not been
assessed criminal history points, and that a downward variance was not
appropriate, the district court sentenced him at the bottom of the incorrect
guidelines range and did not state that it would have imposed the same
sentence regardless of the applicable guidelines range.
circumstances, a reasonable probability exists that, but for the district court’s
misapplication of the Guidelines, Villegas-Espinoza would have received a
lesser sentence. See United States v. Mudekunye, 646 F.3d 281, 289-91 (5th
Cir. 2011); United States v. John, 597 F.3d 263, 285 (5th Cir. 2010). Finally,
the significant disparity between the sentence imposed and the correct
guidelines range warrants the exercise of our discretion to correct the error.
See Mudekunye, 646 F.3d at 291; John, 597 F.3d at 286-89. Accordingly,
Villegas-Espinoza’s sentence is VACATED, and the case is REMANDED for
Because we vacate and remand for resentencing, we need not address
Villegas-Espinoza’s argument that the sentence is substantively unreasonable
because it was greater than necessary to accomplish the sentencing goals set
forth in 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a).
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?