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United States v. Vasquez-Puente

United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit

May 1, 2019

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff - Appellee
v.
CARLOS VASQUEZ-PUENTE, Defendant-Appellant

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

          Before CLEMENT, DUNCAN, and OLDHAM, Circuit Judges.

          STUART KYLE DUNCAN, CIRCUIT JUDGE

         Carlos Vasquez-Puente appeals two special conditions of supervised release in his written judgment, arguing they conflict with the sentence orally pronounced by the district court. Finding no abuse of discretion, we affirm.

         I.

         Vasquez-Puente pleaded guilty to being unlawfully found in the United States after a previous deportation in violation of 8 U.S.C. § 1326(a) and (b). Based on his presentence report ("PSR"), he faced a guidelines range of 51-63 months. In objections to the PSR, he admitted he "obviously knew that it was illegal to return [to the United States], because he has been prosecuted for this same offense twice before." At sentencing, Vasquez-Puente's attorney stated he had warned his client "more than once . . . that he should not be coming back here because these sentences are just going to get higher and higher[, ]" adding that Vasquez-Puente "has indicated that he has no plans to return here, [and] that he's going to stay in Mexico." For his part, Vasquez-Puente stated, "I want to apologize for having entered the country illegally." He explained he had come to the United States "to give a better life for my children but [now] I see I cannot be here," and so he promised, "I'm not coming back."

         The district court gave Vazquez-Puente a low-end prison sentence of 51 months. The court also imposed "a 3-year term of supervised release," explaining this was needed "because . . . in the PSR it indicates how that after that last removal, you remained in Mexico for only about one month." The court explicitly warned Vasquez-Puente that he had been previously deported and that therefore he "should understand certainly just from that that you can't be [in the United States]." The court also admonished him that, "[i]f you are deported, it will be without active supervision[, ] but if you are in the country, you're to comply with all the standard conditions adopted by the Court."

         The court's subsequent written judgment imposed on Vasquez-Puente the following "special conditions" of supervision (formatted for ease of reading):

[1] You must surrender to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and follow all [its] instructions and reporting requirements until any deportation proceedings are completed.
[2] If you are ordered deported from the United States, you must remain outside the United States unless legally authorized to reenter.
[3] If you reenter the United States, you must report to the nearest probation office within 72 hours after you return.

         These specific conditions, however, did not appear in Vasquez-Puente's PSR. Nor did the district court expressly enumerate them when orally pronouncing sentence.

         Vasquez-Puente appealed, arguing that the first and second special conditions in the written judgment conflict with the oral ...


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