USA v. Jose Hernandez
UNPUBLISHED OPINION FILED. [15-41123 Affirmed] Judge: EHJ, Judge: JLW, Judge: EBC. Mandate pull date is 03/15/2017 for Appellant Jose David Hernandez [15-41123]
Date Filed: 02/22/2017
IN THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS
FOR THE FIFTH CIRCUIT
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
United States Court of Appeals
February 22, 2017
Lyle W. Cayce
JOSE DAVID HERNANDEZ, also known as Jose David Hernandez-Perez
Appeal from the United States District Court
for the Southern District of Texas
USDC No. 5:14-CR-1121-1
Before JONES, WIENER, and CLEMENT, Circuit Judges.
PER CURIAM: *
A few months ago, a divided panel of this court denied an unopposed
motion by the government to vacate and remand this appellant’s sentence
based on plain error as to the calculation of his criminal history. 1 At that time,
the panel observed that the government had not even attempted to brief the
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 R. 47.5, the court has determined that this opinion should not
be published and is not precedent except under the limited circumstances set forth in 5TH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.
The appellant’s additional facial challenge to the constitutionality of 18 U.S.C.
§ 16(b) has been foreclosed by United States v. Gonzalez-Longoria, 831 F.3d 670 (5th Cir.
2016) (en banc), pet. for cert. filed Sept. 29, 2016.
Date Filed: 02/22/2017
fourth prong of plain error review, i.e., whether this court’s failure to correct
the error “seriously affects the fairness, integrity, or public reputation of the
judicial proceedings.” United States v. Castaneda, 740 F.3d 169, 171 (5th Cir.
2013). Although the government, in filing its brief on the merits, alleges the
fourth prong is fulfilled, we are not persuaded and AFFIRM the sentence. 2
This appellant has a lengthy history of encounters with law enforcement,
including an assault on a female that was properly counted in his criminal
history. More recently, he has continued to enter the United States illegally
and been indicted for welfare fraud. These events no doubt influenced the
district judge in her statement that a sentence “at the high end” of an
admittedly slightly higher sentencing range (24-30 months rather than 18-24
months) was “appropriate.”
Because federal sentencing has been in an ongoing turmoil in the past
few years, consideration of this appeal was delayed for the outcome of
Gonzalez-Longoria. In the meantime, the appellant has been serving time on
the slightly higher sentence and is due for release on March 22, 2017. So, not
only could this appellant’s case have been handled better had the appropriate
objection to the criminal history score been raised at sentencing instead of for
the first time on appeal, but now any relief we could conceivably award comes
close to being moot because of his soon-impending release. Authority in this
court goes both ways on the propriety of exercising our discretion to order
resentencing when an error has resulted in, at most, a few months higher
sentence. United States v. Davis, 602 F.3d 643, 646 (5th Cir. 2010) (declining
to exercise discretion where a 15 to 21 month range was incorrect and a 6 to
One facet of appellant’s criminal history argument, it should be noted, is not “plain”
error: he has raised the purely factual issue of the length of a prior sentence by submitting
evidence for the first time on appeal. See United States v. Lee, 368 F.App’x. 548, 553 (5th
Cir. 2010) (refusing to consider factual evidence available to defendant in trial court but not
offered until appeal).
Date Filed: 02/22/2017
12 month range was appropriate); United States v. Avalos-Martinez, 700 F.3d
148, 154 (5th Cir. 2012) (declining to exercise discretion over a one month
where a 70 to 87 month range was incorrect and a 57 to 71 month range was
appropriate); United States v. Villegas, 404 F.3d 355, 364 (5th Cir. 2005)
(exercising discretion where a 21 to 27 month range was incorrect and a 10 to
16 month range was appropriate). Under these circumstances, however, which
include the totality of the appellant’s criminal history and the unavoidable
delays in handling the appeal, our failure to correct the error in no way reflects
on the fairness, integrity or public reputation of the judicial proceedings.
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?