USA v. Christopher Guerra


PUBLISHED OPINION FILED. [16-41030 Affirmed as Modified] Judge: EHJ , Judge: JLW , Judge: EBC. Mandate pull date is 05/25/2017 for Appellant Christopher Guerra [16-41030]

Download PDF
Case: 16-41030 Document: 00513980631 Page: 1 Date Filed: 05/04/2017 IN THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FIFTH CIRCUIT No. 16-41030 Summary Calendar United States Court of Appeals Fifth Circuit FILED May 4, 2017 Lyle W. Cayce Clerk UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff-Appellee v. CHRISTOPHER GUERRA, Defendant-Appellant Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas Before JONES, WIENER, and CLEMENT, Circuit Judges. EDITH H. JONES, Circuit Judge: Defendant-Appellant Christopher Guerra pled guilty to illegally transporting an undocumented alien within the United States and was sentenced, within the guidelines, to 41 months of imprisonment followed by three years of supervised release. As a special condition of his supervised release, the district court ordered Guerra to participate in mental health and drug treatment programs “as deemed necessary and approved by the probation officer.” On appeal, Guerra contends that such language impermissibly delegated to the probation officer the court’s responsibility to determine whether he must participate in mental health and drug treatment. Because Guerra did not object to the challenged release conditions, we review them for plain error. See Puckett v. United States, 556 U.S. 129, 135 (2009). Case: 16-41030 Document: 00513980631 Page: 2 Date Filed: 05/04/2017 No. 16-41030 The imposition of supervised release conditions and terms “is a core judicial function that may not be delegated.” United States v. Franklin, 838 F.3d 564, 567-68 (5th Cir. 2016) (internal quotation marks and citations omitted). However, providing appropriate treatment for prisoners with known mental problems is also a core duty of judges. The PSR reflects that Guerra reported a history of mental health treatment for “depression, anxiety, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)” as well as his past use of alcohol, marijuana, and crack cocaine. The PSR also revealed past diagnoses of PTSD and Antisocial Personality Disorder. Id. At sentencing, Guerra’s counsel likewise pointed out his “mental health issues.” Adopting the PSR, the district court imposed two relevant special conditions on Guerra’s supervised release. First, the court “order[ed] that [Guerra] participate in a drug and[/]or alcohol treatment program as deemed necessary and approved by the probation officer.” Id. Second, the court “impose[d] a mental health condition, which requires [Guerra] to participate in a mental health program as deemed necessary and approved by the probation officer.” Clearly, based on this history and defense counsel’s representations to the court, the judge intended that treatment be mandatory and left only the details to the probation officer. Lest there be any doubt, we AFFIRM the sentence as MODIFIED—mental health treatment including substance abuse is imposed, details of treatment to be supervised by the probation office. AFFIRMED as Modified. 2

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?