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. Sánchez-Colberg

United States Court of Appeals, First Circuit

May 8, 2017

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Appellee,
v.
CHRISTIAN SÁNCHEZ-COLBERG, Defendant, Appellee.

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

          William S. Maddox on brief for appellant.

          Tiffany V. Monrose, Assistant United States Attorney, Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez, United States Attorney, and Mariana E. Bauzá-Almonte, Assistant United States Attorney, Chief, Appellate Division, on brief for appellee.

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

          HOWARD, Chief Judge.

         Christian Sánchez-Colberg pleaded guilty to two drug- and weapons-related charges; in exchange, the government dismissed others. Sánchez now appeals his sentence, attacking its procedural and substantive reasonableness. Although Sánchez's plea agreement does not bar this appeal, his challenges ultimately fail on their merits. We affirm.

         I. Background

         Puerto Rico law enforcement officers encountered Sánchez and his codefendant while searching abandoned apartments in an unrelated case. The officers found Sánchez with cocaine, marijuana, drug ledgers, cash, ammunition, and two handguns -- one of which was modified to fire automatically.[1] Sánchez eventually entered guilty pleas to possessing marijuana with the intent to distribute, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1), and possessing firearms in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1)(A)(i). In exchange, the government agreed to dismiss other charges -- one of which carried a mandatory 30-year-minimum sentence. See id. § 924(c)(1)(B)(ii).

         In the plea agreement, the parties stipulated that the appropriate guidelines sentencing range for the marijuana charge was 0-6 months' incarceration, and agreed to recommend a sentence "at the higher end." The firearms charge carried a statutorily required consecutive incarcerative term of at least 60 months, and the parties identified the guidelines range as that statutory minimum. See id. § 924(c)(1)(A)(i); U.S.S.G. §2K2.4(b) (2014). On that count, however, the plea agreement contemplated an above-guidelines sentence: Sánchez could argue for as few as 96 months, and the government could "request a . . . term of imprisonment of up to one hundred and fifty-six (156) months." The agreement further provided that Sánchez would waive his right to appeal, so long as the court sentenced him "according to its terms, conditions, and recommendations."

         At the sentencing hearing, Sánchez asked the judge to impose a 6-month sentence on the marijuana charge and a 96-month sentence on the firearms charge (102 months total). The government also recommended a 6-month sentence on the marijuana charge, but requested a 144-month sentence for the firearms (150 months total). The district court accepted the parties' recommendation on the marijuana charge, but found insufficient "the sentence that both the government and the defense recommended" on the firearms charge. The court then sentenced Sánchez to the top of the range specified in the plea agreement for the § 924(c) violation: 156 months (for a total incarcerative sentence of 162 months). Sánchez did not object at the sentencing hearing; in this timely appeal, however, he argues that the sentence was unreasonable.

         II. Analysis

         Before addressing the merits, we first determine whether this appeal falls within the waiver of appeal to which Sánchez agreed. See United States v. Betancourt-Pérez, 833 F.3d 18, 21 (1st Cir. 2016). It does not.

         A. Waiver

         A plea agreement's appeal-waiver provision "is valid if it was knowingly and voluntarily executed, and if enforcement would not result in a miscarriage of justice." United Statesv.Santiago-Burgos, 750 F.3d 19, 22 (1st Cir. 2014). "But '[e]ven a knowing and voluntary appeal waiver only precludes appeals that fall within its scope.'" Id. at 22-23 (alteration in original) (quoting United Statesv.McCoy, 508 F.3d 74, 77 (1st Cir. 2007)). When determining such a provision's scope, "we rely on basic contract interpretation principles, construing the agreement where possible to give effect to every ...


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.