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United States v. Madrid

United States Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit

June 5, 2019

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff - Appellee,
v.
ARMANDO LUGO MADRID, Defendant-Appellant.

          (D.C. No. 2:11-CR-02516-WJ-1) (D. N.M.)

          Before MATHESON, McKAY, and BACHARACH, Circuit Judges.

          ORDER AND JUDGMENT

          SCOTT M. MATHESON, JR. CIRCUIT JUDGE

         Armando Lugo Madrid pled guilty to a federal drug crime and was sentenced to 144 months in prison and four years of supervised release. He appeals the district court's denial of his motion to reduce his sentence under 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2). His appointed counsel has submitted an Anders brief stating the appeal presents no non-frivolous grounds for reversal. After careful review of the record, we agree. Exercising jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1291, we grant counsel's motion to withdraw, and we dismiss the appeal.

         I. BACKGROUND

         A. Conviction and Sentence

         Mr. Madrid was indicted for possessing with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of a mixture containing methamphetamine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(B). He pled guilty and signed a plea agreement under Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 11(c)(1)(C). The parties agreed that "[p]ursuant to [United States Sentencing Guidelines ("U.S.S.G." or "Guidelines")] § 2D1.1(c), . . . [Mr. Madrid] is responsible for approximately one hundred seventeen (117) grams of a mixture and substance of methamphetamine." ROA at 5.[1] They also agreed to a 12-year sentence.

         At sentencing, the district court calculated Mr. Madrid's advisory Guidelines sentence range. Although the drug quantity stipulated in the plea agreement would have yielded a base offense level of 26, see supra note 1, U.S.S.G. § 4B1.1 sets higher base offense levels for defendants who qualify as "career offenders."[2] That Guideline also states that "if the offense level [provided in § 4B1.1] is greater than the offense level otherwise applicable, the offense level from [§ 4B1.1] shall apply." U.S.S.G. § 4B1.1(b). The district court found that Mr. Madrid qualified as a career offender and, applying § 4B1.1, set his base offense level at 34. It then subtracted three levels for acceptance of responsibility, resulting in a total offense level of 31. The court placed Mr. Madrid in Criminal History Category VI because of his career offender status and calculated a resulting Guidelines range of 188 to 235 months.

         The court acknowledged that the 144-month sentence stipulated in the plea agreement "accord[ed] the defendant approximately two years' reduction from what would otherwise be the low end of the [G]uidelines," Dist. Ct. Doc. 37 at 2, but found that the agreement "depart[ed] [from the recommended Guidelines range] for justifiable reasons," id. at 6. It thus accepted the plea agreement and sentenced Mr. Madrid to the agreed-upon 144 months.

         B. Motions to Reduce Sentence

         Two years after Mr. Madrid was sentenced, the United States Sentencing Commission adopted Amendment 782, reducing the base offense levels listed in the Drug Quantity Table in U.S.S.G. § 2D1.1(c). See U.S.S.G. Supp. to App. C, Amend. 782, 788.

         Mr. Madrid moved to modify his sentence under 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2), which allows federal courts to reduce a sentence if the defendant's term of imprisonment was "based on a sentencing range that has subsequently been lowered by the Sentencing Commission." He argued that if Amendment 782 had been in effect at the time of his sentencing, his base offense level under § 2D1.1(c) would have been 24 rather than 26. Combined with his Criminal History Category of VI, this would have yielded a Guidelines range of 100 to 125 months. Mr. Madrid therefore requested that the district court reduce his sentence to 100 months.

         The district court dismissed Mr. Madrid's motion for lack of jurisdiction. It found that "Mr. Madrid's advisory Guideline range was a product of his career offender status, and his . . . sentencing range of 188 to 235 months was . . . a result of his career offender status alone and not related to the quantity or purity of the methamphetamine involved." ROA at 101. Because Amendment 782 did not modify the career offender Guideline, it had no effect on his advisory sentencing range. The court thus concluded that Mr. Madrid was "statutorily ineligible for consideration for a reduced sentence under § 3582(c)(2)." Id.

         Two years after the district court denied Mr. Madrid's motion, the Supreme Court decided Hughes v. United States, 138 S.Ct. 1765 (2018). As discussed above, § 3582(c)(2) applies only if the challenged sentence is "based on" a Guidelines sentencing range that was subsequently lowered. 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2). Hughes clarified that Rule 11(c)(1)(C) plea agreements are "based on" a Guidelines range-and therefore eligible for § 3582(c)(2) relief-if the advisory Guidelines range "was part of the framework the district court relied on in imposing the sentence or accepting the agreement." 138 S.Ct. at 1775. Because "the Sentencing Guidelines prohibit district courts from accepting [Rule 11(c)(1)(C)] agreements without first evaluating . . . the defendant's Guidelines range," the Court held that "in the usual case . . . the sentence to be imposed pursuant to [a Rule 11(c)(1)(C)] agreement [is] 'based on' the defendant's Guidelines range." Id. at 1776. But if the record clearly indicates that the "Guidelines range was not a relevant part of analytic framework the ...


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