Monday, November 07, 2016

Sentencing Court Committed Plain Error By Failing to Make Relevant Conduct Findings

U.S. v. Godinez-Perez, 2016 WL 6155934 (10/24/16) (Kan.) - in sentencing Godinez for meth conspiracy, the district court erred by failing to make particularized findings regarding relevant conduct attributable to him. Even if the defendant does not lodge any objections to the PSR, the district court must still make particularized findings as to the scope of the criminal activity a particular defendant agreed to jointly undertake. The facts set out in the PSR and those admitted by Godinez in his plea were insufficient to determine whether a quantity of meth seized from a storage unit was properly attributed to Godinez. The plain error standard was met because a higher Guidelines range resulted from the district court's use of the wrong framework. There was a reasonable probability of a different outcome without the district court's error and a presumption applies that the unobjected-to error affected Godinez's substantial rights. The district court is ordered to resentence Godinez.

The Tenth rejects Godinez's argument that the meth mixture, which was over 80% pure, was improperly considered "Ice" for guideline purposes. And the district court was not required to examine the empirical grounding for the ยง 2D1.1 offense levels for meth offenses.