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. Garcia

United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit

May 23, 2017

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
JAIME SHAKUR GARCIA, Defendant-Appellant.

         Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas

          Before SMITH, PRADO, and GRAVES, Circuit Judges.

          EDWARD C. PRADO, Circuit Judge.

         Jaime Shakur Garcia pleaded guilty to one count of Hobbs Act robbery and one count of possessing and discharging a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence. In calculating Garcia's sentence for the Hobbs Act robbery count, the district court applied a sentencing enhancement based on the assessment that Garcia and his codefendants had physically restrained the victims. Garcia contends that this sentencing enhancement was improper. Garcia also claims that his firearm conviction is invalid because the statute of conviction is unconstitutionally vague and therefore violates his due process rights. We AFFIRM Garcia's firearm conviction, VACATE his sentence for the Hobbs Act robbery count, and REMAND for resentencing.

         I. BACKGROUND

         In October 2015, Garcia and two other defendants entered a gun store in Lubbock, Texas, wearing ski masks and carrying firearms. One of the defendants held a handgun to a store employee's head and demanded that the employee get down on the floor. Due to physical limitations, however, the employee was unable to comply. Meanwhile, another defendant stood near the door holding a firearm, and a third defendant smashed a glass display case that contained firearms. One of the store's employees was in a back room when he heard glass break. This second employee then rushed to the front of the store, took cover behind a display case, and loaded a pistol. Shortly thereafter, the second employee heard two rounds of shots fired and felt a sharp pain in his ankle. After realizing he had been shot, the employee stood and fired at the defendants. A brief exchange of gunfire ensued. The defendants then fled the scene with nine stolen firearms, while the employee continued to fire at them.

         Garcia later pleaded guilty to one count of Hobbs Act robbery under 18 U.S.C. § 1951(a) and one count of possessing and discharging a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence under 18 U.S.C. § 924(c). Garcia did not waive his right to appeal. A presentence investigation report ("PSR") calculated Garcia's sentencing range under the 2015 edition of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines Commission Manual (the "Guidelines"). The PSR recommended a range of 51 to 63 months for the Hobbs Act robbery count, which included a two-level enhancement for physical restraint of a victim under U.S.S.G. § 2B3.1(b)(4)(B).[1] The PSR also recommended imposing the statutory minimum sentence of 120 months for the firearm count.

         The government-joined by the defense-objected to the physical restraint enhancement, contending that binding Fifth Circuit precedent "likely precludes application of the physical restraint enhancement under this set of facts." The government's objection relied on United States v. Hickman, 151 F.3d 446, 460-61 (5th Cir. 1998), unanimously approved of in relevant part on reh'g en banc, 179 F.3d 230 (5th Cir. 1999), a case in which we held that the district court erred in imposing a physical restraint enhancement. The probation office then prepared an addendum to the PSR, which took the position that the physical restraint enhancement was properly applied. The addendum noted that a few facts distinguished Garcia's case from Hickman: a defendant in the instant case held a gun to the head of a victim and ordered the victim to get on the ground; one of the defendants stood near the exit while holding a firearm; and gunfire was exchanged. Garcia and the government maintained their objections to the enhancement during the sentencing hearing.

         The district court adopted the PSR addendum's reasoning and overruled the objections to the sentencing enhancement. The district court then imposed a sentence of 51 months' imprisonment for the Hobbs Act robbery count and 120 months' imprisonment for the firearm count, to be served consecutively. This appeal followed. On appeal, Garcia claims that (A) his conviction under 18 U.S.C. § 924(c) is invalid and (B) the physical restraint enhancement was improperly applied.

         II. DISCUSSION

         A. Conviction for Possessing a Firearm

         Garcia argues that we should reverse his conviction under 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1)(A) for possessing, brandishing, or discharging a firearm "during and in relation to any crime of violence." The term "crime of violence" is defined as any felony that:

(A) has as an element the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against the person or property of another, or
(B) that by its nature, involves a substantial risk that physical force against the person or property of another may be used in the ...

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.