Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

United States v. Hernandez-Ramos

United States Court of Appeals, First Circuit

October 15, 2018

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Appellee,
v.
HEISSAN HERNÁNDEZ-RAMOS, Defendant, Appellant.

          APPEAL FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF PUERTO RICO [Hon. Gustavo A. Gelpí, Jr., U.S. District Judge]

          Alex Omar Rosa-Albert on brief for appellant.

          Francisco A. Besosa-Martinez, Assistant United States Attorney, Rosa Emilia Rodriguez-Velez, United States Attorney, and Mariana E. Bauzá-Almonte, Assistant United States Attorney, Chief, Appellate Division, on brief for appellee.

          Before Howard, Chief Judge, Boudin and Barron, Circuit Judges.

          BOUDIN, CIRCUIT JUDGE

         Heissan Hernández-Ramos ("Hernández") appeals to contest his sixty-month prison sentence following a guilty plea entered in district court to two offenses: being a felon in possession of a firearm, 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1), and unlawfully possessing a machine gun, id. § 922(o).

         On September 1, 2016, Puerto Rico police officers were patrolling in the vicinity of the Luis Llorens-Torres Public Housing Project in San Juan. As the officers approached a group gathered near a known drug distribution point, one man, Hernández, pulled a firearm from his waist and fled, throwing down the firearm. The police captured Hernández and recovered the gun, which proved to have been modified to fire as an automatic weapon.

         Hernández pled guilty to both counts. Based on a total offense level of seventeen and a criminal history category ("CHC") of III, the presentence report stipulated a guidelines imprisonment range of thirty to thirty-seven months. At sentencing, the government sought a sentence at the top of the guidelines range. The government argued that Hernández had previously been convicted of crimes involving weapons and threatening public officers, serving time for one such crime, and that messages on his cell phone suggested his involvement in selling drugs and high-capacity firearm magazines. Defense counsel requested a twenty-four-month sentence, a six-month downward variance.

         The district court, in no way bound by the parties' sentencing recommendations whether the parties agree or differ, United States v. Rivera-González, 776 F.3d 45, 51 (1st Cir. 2015), varied upward based on the severity of the offense and related conduct, Hernández's criminal history and past behavior, and the need to deter Hernández and other individuals from committing firearms offenses. The court noted Puerto Rico's continuing experience with gun violence, a permissible sentencing consideration provided the court does not "ignore [a defendant's] individual circumstances." United States v. Laureano-Pérez, 892 F.3d 50, 52 (1st Cir. 2018).

         The court sentenced Hernández to sixty months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release. The court's summary of its reasoning was as follows:

[T]his is an individual who continues to threaten other individuals, has had weapons when he's threatened others, and has . . . semiautomatic or a machine gun-type firearms in his possession, he's carrying them. He's also distributing controlled substances or trafficking firearms. Even though he's not charged with that here, it is something the Court can consider. So, I find in this particular case an upward variance is warranted.
And I find that given all the factors that I just mentioned along with the community geographic factors, the recidivism he has shown, the type of firearm he was carrying, and also the fact that his cell phone reveals that he is selling minor amounts of drugs and also trafficking or attempting to traffic ammunition, the Court finds that a sentence of 60 months is sufficient but not greater than necessary.

         Defense counsel objected to the sentence as "procedurally unreasonable." The court answered: "What you're talking about is 'substantively unreasonable.' Object to both and preserve it for the record." Defense counsel replied, "Right. Substantively and procedurally unreasonable . . . for the record."

         On appeal, Hernández's sole claim is that the variant sentence was excessive and thus substantively unreasonable. Reviewing for abuse of discretion, Gall v. United States, 5 ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.