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United States v. Pedroza-Orengo

United States Court of Appeals, First Circuit

April 1, 2016

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Appellee,
v.
LUIS E. PEDROZA-ORENGO, Defendant, Appellant

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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          APPEAL FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF PUERTO RICO. Hon. José Antonio Fusté, U.S. District Judge.

         Eleonora C. Marranzini, Research and Writing Specialist, Eric Alexander Vos, Federal Public Defender, and Vivianne M. Marrero, Assistant Federal Public Defender, Supervisor, Appeals Section, on brief for appellant.

         Nelson Pé rez-Sosa, Assistant United States Attorney, Chief, Appellate Division, and Rosa Emilia Rodrí guez-Vé lez, United States Attorney, on brief for appellee.

         Before Lynch, Kayatta, and Barron, Circuit Judges.

          OPINION

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          KAYATTA, Circuit Judge.

          After pleading guilty to unlawful firearm possession, Luis Pedroza-Orengo (" Pedroza" ) was sentenced to a 60-month term of imprisonment. Pedroza unsuccessfully urged the district court to reconsider, and he now appeals his sentence as procedurally and substantively unreasonable. Finding that the district court did not abuse its broad sentencing discretion, we affirm.

         I. Background[1]

         Around 4:20 AM on April 20, 2014, Puerto Rico Police Department agents conducting surveillance in an area of San Juan saw a group of people, including Pedroza, exiting a bar in the midst of an argument. Pedroza was carrying a firearm, which he pointed in the direction of bystanders. The agents called for backup and, while they waited, they observed Pedroza slam his firearm on the roof of a car, get inside the car, and prepare to leave the scene. Before Pedroza could depart, backup arrived and the agents stopped and searched the car. The search turned up a Glock pistol loaded with fifteen rounds of ammunition, as well as an additional high-capacity magazine loaded with twenty-one rounds of ammunition.

         A grand jury charged Pedroza with one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1).[2] Pedroza pled guilty pursuant to a plea agreement. Under the agreement, the parties agreed to recommend that the district court sentence Pedroza to the low end of the applicable United States Sentencing Guidelines (" Guidelines" ) range. At the same time, the agreement made clear that ultimately " the sentence [would] be left entirely to the sound discretion of the Court."

         The district court accepted Pedroza's guilty plea and ordered the preparation of a Presentence Investigation Report (" PSR" ). The PSR determined that Pedroza fell into Criminal History Category III, which, taken with Pedroza's total adjusted offense level of 17,[3] corresponded to a Guidelines sentencing range of 30-37 months' imprisonment. The PSR also noted that a psychological evaluation conducted when Pedroza was eight years old revealed a verbal IQ of 83 and a performance

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IQ of 67 and indicated " borderline intellectual functioning" accompanied by " specific learning difficulties."

         In preparation for sentencing, the district court also received a 15-page neuropsychological evaluation prepared by a licensed clinical neuropsychologist. The evaluation placed Pedroza's total IQ at 60, and it placed Pedroza's global intellectual functioning in the " [m]ild intellectually disabled range." The report further noted Pedroza's " chronic" difficulties with " [i]mpulsive behavior," as well as his impaired " ability to self-reflect, learn from mistakes, develop appropriate goals, and adapt to the demands of his environment." The report concluded that these characteristics contributed to Pedroza's " poor judgment" and inadequate " behavioral control" and to the commission of the instant offense. The report did ...


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