United States v. Rafael Lopez-Morales

Case: 17-12965 Date Filed: 04/23/2018 Page: 1 of 5 [DO NOT PUBLISH] IN THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE ELEVENTH CIRCUIT ________________________ No. 17-12965 Non-Argument Calendar ________________________ D.C. Docket No. 1:17-cr-20179-FAM-1 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff-Appellee, versus RAFAEL LOPEZ-MORALES, Defendant-Appellant. ________________________ Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida ________________________ (April 23, 2018) Before TJOFLAT, WILSON and JORDAN, Circuit Judges. PER CURIAM: Case: 17-12965 Date Filed: 04/23/2018 Page: 2 of 5 Rafael Lopez-Morales received a sixty-month, statutory-maximum sentence after pleading guilty to one count of encouraging and inducing aliens to enter the United States, 8 U.S.C. § 1324(a)(1)(A)(iv), (v)(II). On appeal, he challenges this sentence, which varies upward from the applicable Guidelines range of thirty-one to forty-one months. Lopez makes two arguments: (1) the District Court based its upward variance “solely” on Lopez’s criminal history, a factor already accounted for in his Guidelines range, and therefore failed to consider relevant 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a) factors and imposed a sentence greater than necessary to achieve the purposes of sentencing; and (2) in considering Lopez’s criminal history, the Court did not account for the nature and circumstances of his prior offenses. We affirm Lopez’s sentence. We review the reasonableness of a sentence, whether inside or outside the Guidelines range, under a deferential abuse-of-discretion standard. Gall v. United States, 552 U.S. 38, 41, 128 S. Ct. 586, 591 (2007). The party challenging a sentence has the burden of proving that the sentence is unreasonable in light of the record. United States v. Tome, 611 F.3d 1371, 1378 (11th Cir. 2010). The district court must “impose a sentence sufficient, but not greater than necessary, to comply with the purposes” listed in § 3553(a)(2).1 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a). A sentence 1 These purposes include the need to deter criminal conduct, promote respect for the law, and protect the public from further crimes of the defendant. 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a)(2)(A)–(C). In sentencing a defendant district courts must also consider, among other factors, the nature and 2 Case: 17-12965 Date Filed: 04/23/2018 Page: 3 of 5 outside the Guidelines range need not be justified by extraordinary circumstances. Gall, 552 U.S. at 47, 128 S. Ct. at 595. Further, the weight given to any specific § 3553(a) factor is left to the sound discretion of the district court, United States v. Garza-Mendez, 735 F.3d 1284, 1290 (11th Cir. 2013), and the court may consider factors already accounted for in the Guidelines range. 2 The district court must only acknowledge that it considered the defendant’s arguments at sentencing and the § 3553(a) factors; it is not required to expressly discuss each factor. Garza- Mendez, 735 F.3d at 1290. However, the district court abuses its discretion if it fails to consider relevant factors that were due significant weight, gives an improper or irrelevant factor substantial weight, or commits a clear error of judgment by unreasonably balancing the proper factors. United States v. Irey, 612 F.3d 1160, 1189 (11th Cir. 2010) (en banc). Here, ...

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