USA v. Pedro Mendoza
Per Curiam OPINION filed : AFFIRMED, decision not for publication. Danny J. Boggs, Circuit Judge; Richard Allen Griffin, Circuit Judge and Joseph M. Hood, U.S. District Judge.. EDK
NOT RECOMMENDED FOR FULL-TEXT PUBLICATION
File Name: 14a0924n.06
UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS
FOR THE SIXTH CIRCUIT
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
Dec 12, 2014
DEBORAH S. HUNT, Clerk
ON APPEAL FROM THE UNITED
STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR
THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF
BEFORE: BOGGS and GRIFFIN, Circuit Judges; HOOD, District Judge.*
PER CURIAM. Pedro Mendoza pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute heroin, in
violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1) and 846. The district court determined that, based on his
total offense level of 37 and criminal history category of I, Mendoza’s guidelines range of
imprisonment was 210 to 262 months. The court sentenced him to 210 months in prison.
On appeal, Mendoza argues that his sentence is procedurally unreasonable because the
district court failed to adequately explain its rejection of his argument that a downward variance
was necessary to avoid unwarranted sentencing disparities and to account for the fact that he
would be deported following his incarceration.
Mendoza also argues that his sentence is
substantively unreasonable because the district court failed to give proper weight to his lack of
criminal history, his likely deportation, and the need to avoid unwarranted sentencing disparities.
The Honorable Joseph M. Hood, United States District Judge for the Eastern District of
Kentucky, sitting by designation.
United States v. Mendoza
We generally review sentences under a deferential abuse-of-discretion standard for
reasonableness, which has both a procedural and a substantive component. United States v.
O’Georgia, 569 F.3d 281, 287 (6th Cir. 2009). We review Mendoza’s procedural reasonableness
arguments for plain error, however, because he failed to raise them when given the opportunity
to do so by the district court at the conclusion of the sentencing hearing. See United States v.
Brinley, 684 F.3d 629, 635 (6th Cir. 2012). To demonstrate plain error, Mendoza must show that
the district court committed a clear or obvious error that affected both his substantial rights and
the fairness, integrity, or public reputation of judicial proceedings. See id. A sentence may be
substantively unreasonable if the district court fails to consider pertinent sentencing factors or
gives an unreasonable amount of weight to any pertinent factor. United States v. Vowell,
516 F.3d 503, 510 (6th Cir. 2008).
We apply a rebuttable presumption of substantive
reasonableness to a within-guidelines sentence. United States v. Vonner, 516 F.3d 382, 389
(6th Cir. 2008) (en banc).
Before imposing the sentence, the district court discussed several relevant sentencing
factors, including the seriousness of the offense, Mendoza’s personal circumstances and lack of
criminal history, and the need to promote respect for the law and provide a just punishment. The
court also explained that it was rejecting Mendoza’s request for a downward variance because
imposing a guidelines sentence was the most effective way to avoid unwarranted sentencing
disparities, and Mendoza’s likely deportation did not outweigh the other relevant sentencing
factors. Because the district court gave valid reasons for rejecting Mendoza’s request for a
downward variance, Mendoza has not shown that the court committed plain procedural error.
And because the record does not reflect that the district court unreasonably weighed the relevant
United States v. Mendoza
sentencing factors, Mendoza has not overcome the presumption that his within-guidelines
sentence is substantively reasonable.
Accordingly, Mendoza’s sentence is AFFIRMED.
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?