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. Miranda-Díaz

United States Court of Appeals, First Circuit

November 5, 2019

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Appellee,
v.
JONATHAN FRANK MIRANDA-DIAZ, Defendant, Appellant.

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

          Robert Millán on brief for appellant.

          Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez, United States Attorney, Mariana E. Bauzá-Almonte, Assistant United States Attorney, Chief, Appellate Division, and Thomas F. Klumper, Assistant United States Attorney, Senior Appellate Counsel, on brief for appellee.

          Before Howard, Chief Judge, Selya and Lynch, Circuit Judges.

          SELYA, CIRCUIT JUDGE

         Defendant-appellant Jonathan Frank Miranda-Díaz pleaded guilty to one count of possession of a firearm as a convicted felon. See 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1). Varying upward from the applicable guideline sentencing range (GSR), the district court sentenced the appellant to a 36-month term of immurement. Taking aim at the sentencing court's consideration of both the conduct underlying a dismissed charge and a prior controlled substance conviction, the appellant submits that his sentence is both procedurally and substantively unreasonable. Concluding that the sentence is sound, we affirm.

         I. BACKGROUND

         We briefly rehearse the relevant facts and travel of the case. When - as in this instance - a sentencing appeal follows a guilty plea, we draw the facts "from the change-of-plea colloquy, the unchallenged portions of the presentence investigation report (PSI Report), and the record of the disposition hearing." United States v. Dávila-González, 595 F.3d 42, 45 (1st Cir. 2010) (quoting United States v. Vargas, 560 F.3d 45, 47 (1st Cir. 2009)).

         On the morning of May 10, 2017, police officers in Carolina, Puerto Rico, carried out a traffic stop after observing the appellant drive through a red light. Upon approaching the appellant's vehicle, the officers spotted a firearm near the appellant's thigh. Once the appellant admitted that he lacked a license to carry a firearm, the officers arrested him. At the same time, they seized a .40 caliber Glock pistol loaded with nine rounds of ammunition and an additional Glock magazine (also loaded with nine rounds of ammunition) from the vehicle.

         During an interview later that morning with Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) agents, the appellant stated that he had obtained the firearm from a friend the day before and that he was on his way to purchase drugs for his personal consumption when stopped. He volunteered that he had arrived in Puerto Rico six days earlier from New York, where he was on parole "for possession of [one] kilogram of cocaine." A background check soon revealed that the appellant had previously been convicted of a crime punishable by imprisonment for more than one year.

         In due course, a federal grand jury sitting in the District of Puerto Rico returned a single-count indictment, charging the appellant with possession of a firearm as a convicted felon. See 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1). After some preliminary skirmishing, not relevant here, the appellant pleaded guilty to this charge.

         At the disposition hearing, the district court heard arguments of counsel and the appellant's allocution. Emphasizing the heightened need for deterrence in light of the appellant's earlier brushes with the law, the government requested a 21-month prison sentence. Before the appellant's counsel spoke, the court suggested that she address its concern that the appellant was an individual for whom "the guidelines do not necessary make justice" and that, therefore, the case "perhaps would warrant an upward[] variance." In response, counsel noted the appellant's successful completion of a diversionary drug-treatment program, his work as a barber while in prison, and the likelihood that he would face an additional state sentence for violating the conditions of his parole. In light of these considerations, she deemed a 17-month prison sentence sufficient. Without objection, the district court adopted the guideline calculations limned in the PSI Report, set the appellant's total offense level at 12, and placed him in criminal history category III. These uncontested determinations yielded a GSR of 15 to 21 months. After mulling the sentencing factors elaborated in 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a), the court varied upward and imposed a 36-month term of immurement.

         In the process, the court explained its sentencing rationale. To begin, the court observed that over the previous "five [to] six years," the appellant had squandered "opportunity after . . . opportunity after . . . opportunity" to live in a law-abiding manner. The court mentioned three relevant data points to undergird this observation.

         First, the court referenced a 2011 robbery charge in Puerto Rico. Drawing on factual details that the appellant himself had reported to the probation officer, the court noted that this charge had been reclassified as an illegal appropriation charge and then dismissed following the appellant's completion of a diversionary drug-treatment program.[1] But, the court observed, the appellant had absconded from the drug-treatment program at one point. According to unchallenged statements in the PSI Report, he was arrested and ...


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.