United States v. German Robles-Garcia ( 2016 )

  •                  United States Court of Appeals
                                For the Eighth Circuit
                                    No. 15-3364
                                 United States of America
                            lllllllllllllllllllll Plaintiff - Appellee
                                  German Robles-Garcia
                          lllllllllllllllllllll Defendant - Appellant
                         Appeal from United States District Court
                       for the Northern District of Iowa - Sioux City
                              Submitted: September 19, 2016
                                Filed: December 29, 2016
    Before COLLOTON, MELLOY, and SHEPHERD, Circuit Judges.
           German Robles-Garcia appeals the district court’s1 discretionary reduction of
    his sentence under 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2). We affirm.
          The Honorable Mark W. Bennett, United States District Judge for the
    Northern District of Iowa.
           Following a jury trial in 2010, Robles-Garcia was convicted of conspiracy to
    distribute less than 50 grams of methamphetamine mixture, 50 grams or more of
    actual (pure) methamphetamine, and 5 kilograms or more of cocaine in violation of
    21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1) and 841(b)(1)(A). He was also convicted of kidnapping in
    violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1201. At sentencing, the district court found a total offense
    level of 42 and a criminal history category of I, resulting in an advisory sentencing
    guidelines range of 360 months to life in prison. The district court sentenced
    Robles-Garcia to two concurrent terms of 600 months. We upheld his conviction and
    original sentence in United States v. Rodriguez-Ramos, 
    663 F.3d 356
     (8th Cir. 2011).
           In 2014, the United States Sentencing Commission revised certain sentencing
    guidelines and made those revisions retroactive. See U.S.S.G. § 1B1.10(d)
    (designating Amendment 782 for retroactive application). Accordingly,
    Robles-Garcia filed a motion in the district court to reduce his sentence under 18
    U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2). After finding Robles-Garcia eligible for a reduced sentence, the
    district court found an amended total offense level of 40 and a criminal history
    category of I. This resulted in an amended guidelines range of 292 to 365 months in
    prison. Citing the particularly violent nature of Robles-Garcia’s crime, the
    aggravating factors found at his original sentencing, and the need to protect the
    public, the district court reasoned it would “be well within [its] discretion . . . to
    reimpose the 600-month sentence.” But, wishing to give Robles-Garcia credit for the
    “positive steps he’s taken in prison” as well as the benefit of the retroactive
    guidelines, the district court reduced the sentence to 500 months. On appeal, it is
    undisputed that Robles-Garcia was eligible for a sentence reduction and that the
    district court properly calculated the amended guidelines range. Robles-Garcia
    argues only that the district court erred in considering the factors relevant to the total
    reduction in his sentence. Specifically, he argues the district court improperly
    considered his original within-guidelines sentence and failed to give sufficient weight
    to his rehabilitative efforts while in prison.
           “We review the district court’s decision on an 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2) motion
    for an abuse of discretion.” United States v. Anderson, 
    707 F.3d 973
    , 974 (8th Cir.
    2013) (per curiam). Where a defendant is eligible for a reduced sentence under
    § 3582(c)(2), “the court may reduce the term of imprisonment, after considering the
    factors set forth in section 3553(a) to the extent that they are applicable, if such a
    reduction is consistent with applicable policy statements issued by the Sentencing
    Commission.” 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2). Further, “[t]he court shall consider the nature
    and seriousness of the danger to any person or the community that may be posed by
    a reduction in the defendant’s term of imprisonment.” U.S.S.G. § 1B1.10 cmt.
    n.1(B)(ii). The court, moreover, “may consider the post-sentencing conduct of the
    defendant.” Id. § 1B1.10 cmt. n.1(B)(iii).
           We find the district court did not improperly consider or give significant weight
    to Robles-Garcia’s original within-guidelines sentence. The district court considered
    the original sentence only to the extent that it still reflected the court’s balancing of
    the § 3553(a) factors. In any event, § 3582(c)(2) “authorize[s] only a limited
    adjustment to an otherwise final sentence and not a plenary resentencing proceeding.”
    Dillon v. United States, 
    560 U.S. 817
    , 826 (2010). And even where a defendant is
    eligible for a reduction, Ҥ 3582(c)(2) does not entitle any defendant to a reduced
    sentence,” let alone a particular reduction. See United States v. Long, 
    757 F.3d 762
    764 (8th Cir. 2014). Thus, as a practical matter, the original “otherwise final
    sentence” is a valid consideration within the district court’s discretion so long as it
    bears a reasonable relationship to the factors under § 3582(c)(2).
          Finding no abuse of discretion in the district court’s consideration or
    explanation of the other factors relevant in its decision to decrease Robles-Garcia’s
    sentence by 100 months, we affirm.

Document Info

DocketNumber: 15-3364

Filed Date: 12/29/2016

Modified Date: 12/29/2016