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United States v. Rodriguez-Negrete

United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit

November 3, 2014

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff - Appellee
v.
RODRIGO RODRIGUEZ-NEGRETE, Defendant - Appellant

Page 222

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

For United States of America, Plaintiff - Appellee: Joseph H. Gay Jr., Assistant U.S. Attorney, Mara Asya Blatt, Esq., Assistant U.S. Attorney, U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Texas, San Antonio, TX.

For Rodrigo Rodriguez-Negrete, Defendant - Appellant: Judy Fulmer Madewell, Assistant Federal Public Defender, Maureen Scott Franco, Federal Public Defender, Federal Public Defender's Office, Western District of Texas, San Antonio, TX.

Before STEWART, Chief Judge, and JONES and HIGGINSON, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Page 223

HIGGINSON, Circuit Judge:

Rodrigo Rodriguez-Negrete (" Rodriguez" ) appeals his sentence for illegal reentry, contending that the district court erred in imposing a sentence enhancement based on its classification of Rodriguez's prior state crime as a drug trafficking offense. We find that the documents we are permitted to consult establish that Rodriguez necessarily was convicted of a drug trafficking offense, as defined by the federal Sentencing Guidelines.

FACTUAL BACKGROUND

In March 2010, Rodriguez was indicted for " [t]rafficking [c]ocaine" by a South Carolina Grand Jury under section 44-53-370(e)(2)(a)(1) of the South Carolina Code. The indictment charged, inter alia,[1] that he

unlawfully and knowingly did sell, manufacture, cultivate, deliver, purchase, or bring into this State; or did provide financial assistance or otherwise aid, abet, attempt, or conspire to sell, manufacture, cultivate, deliver, purchase, or bring into this State; or did possess or attempt to possess a controlled substance or a controlled substance analogue, to wit: Cocaine, in excess of ten grams . . . .

The affidavit of probable cause supporting this initial trafficking charge stated that

Page 224

after Rodriguez was stopped for a traffic violation, officers found 13.8 grams of cocaine in his vehicle. Thereafter, however, Rodriguez pleaded guilty to a " lesser included offense" pursuant to section 44-53-370(a), which makes it unlawful, inter alia, for a person to " manufacture, distribute, dispense, deliver, purchase . . . or possess with the intent to manufacture, distribute, dispense, deliver, or purchase a controlled substance or a controlled substance analogue." S.C. Code Ann. ยง 44-53-370(a)(1). Rodriguez was sentenced to a prison term of 264 days. The sentencing sheet, signed by Rodriguez, his counsel, and the judge, ...


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