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United States v. Campos

United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit

April 30, 2019

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff - Appellee
v.
RANDY CAMPOS, Defendant-Appellant

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

          Before HAYNES, GRAVES, and HO, Circuit Judges.

          HAYNES, CIRCUIT JUDGE.

         Randy Campos appeals the district court's imposition of an eight-year supervised release term based on its conclusion that eight years was the mandatory minimum term. For the reasons set forth below, we REVERSE the district court's imposition of an eight-year supervised release term and REMAND for resentencing to a new term, if any, of supervised release.

         I. Background

         Campos pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute heroin within 1000 feet of a vocational school and college, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1), (b)(1)(B), 846, and 860(a). He was sentenced in July 2014 to sixty months of imprisonment and an eight-year term of supervised release.[1] Campos's supervision began January 29, 2016.

         In May 2016, the probation office reported that Campos had violated the conditions of his supervised release by failing to report to his probation officer as directed, truthfully answer his probation's officer's inquiries, and follow his probation officer's instructions. The probation officer completed a Violation Worksheet stating that the "[p]eriod of supervised release to be served following release from imprisonment" was "[no less than] 8 years to Life."

         After a hearing, the district court revoked Campos's supervised release. It stated that the relevant supervised release term was "not less than eight years up to life." Campos did not object. The district court sentenced Campos to nine months of imprisonment and an eight-year term of supervised release. It did not explain its reasons for the eight-year supervised release term.[2]

         The statement that Campos was subject to a mandatory minimum term of supervised release in this context was incorrect. While the minimum supervised release sentence for Campos's underlying drug conviction was eight years, see 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(b)(1)(B), 860(a), that floor did not apply to Campos's post-revocation supervised release, see 18 U.S.C. § 3583(h) (stating that "[w]hen a term of supervised release is revoked . . . the court may include a requirement that the defendant be placed on a term of supervised release after imprisonment" (emphasis added)); U.S.S.G. § 7B1.3(g)(2). Campos's supervised release was subject only to a maximum of "the term of supervised release authorized by statute for the offense that resulted in the original term of supervised release, less any term of imprisonment that was imposed upon revocation of supervised release." 18 U.S.C. § 3583(h); U.S.S.G. § 7B1.3(g)(2). Here, that is a life term less Campos's nine-month post-revocation imprisonment. See 18 U.S.C. § 3583(h).

         Campos appealed his supervised release sentence.

         II. Legal Standard

         Because Campos did not object to the district court's supervised-release determination, we review his sentence for plain error. United States v. Putnam, 806 F.3d 853, 855 (5th Cir. 2015) (per curiam); Fed. R. Crim. P. 52(b). To establish plain error, a petitioner must show: (1) an error, (2) which is "clear or obvious," that (3) "affected [his] substantial rights." Molina-Martinez v. United States, 136 S.Ct. 1338, 1343 (2016). A petitioner generally satisfies the third prong by showing "'a reasonable probability that, but for the error,' the outcome of the proceeding would have been different." Id. (quoting United States v. Dominguez Benitez, 542 U.S. 74, 76 (2004)).

         If a petitioner satisfies the first three prongs, we will "exercise [our] discretion to correct the forfeited error if the error 'seriously affects the fairness, integrity or public reputation of judicial proceedings.'" Molina-Martinez, 136 S.Ct. at 1343 (quoting United States v. Olano, 507 U.S. 725, 736 (1993)). The petitioner bears the burden of showing plain error. United States v. Huor, 852 F.3d 392, 398 (5th Cir. 2017).

         III. ...


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