United States District Court, D. Utah
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER
WADDOUPS UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT.
Jeffrey James Arguello has filed a Motion to Modify his
Sentence. At the time Mr. Arguello appeared before this
court, he also had a proceeding before a state court. Mr.
Arguello asks this court to modify its judgment to run
concurrent with the time he served in state custody. The
court concludes, however, that it lacks jurisdiction to rule
on the merits and therefore dismisses Mr. Arguello's
motion (ECF No. 32).
August 2, 2014, police officers lawfully entered a home and
observed Mr. Arguello “reach underneath a chair [he]
was sitting on.” Statement in Advance of Plea, ¶
11 (ECF No. 19). After securing the home and obtaining a
search warrant, officers searched the home and found “a
loaded Ruger LCP .380 pistol where” Mr. Arguello had
reached while sitting on the chair. Id. Almost three
years later, on April 24, 2017, “[t]he Utah State Crime
Lab obtained a mixed DNA profile from the Ruger LCP and
reported that [Mr. Arguello's] DNA profile could not be
excluded as a contributor to the sample.” Id.
There also were additional witnesses who reported he had
possessed the firearm. Id. Mr. Arguello was then
indicted on June 21, 2017, on the ground he was a felon in
possession of a firearm during the events that happened about
three years earlier. Indictment (ECF No. 1).
time of his indictment, Mr. Arguello was in state custody. He
had been charged for fleeing in a vehicle from officers on
April 21, 2017. He was located and arrested on June 10, 2017,
and bail was denied. Mr. Arguello elected to remain in state
custody when he was arraigned on his federal charge about a
month later. Waiver of Rights Under Interstate Agreement of
Detainers (ECF Nos. 6, 10).
January 8, 2018, Mr. Arguello pled guilty to the federal
charge. Minute Entry & Plea Agreement (ECF Nos. 18, 19).
He was sentenced on March 19, 2018. At the time of his
sentencing, Mr. Arguello faced a state parole violation and
had trial scheduled in state court on April 4, 2018, to
address the charges against him for fleeing in a vehicle from
officers. Defendant represented at the sentencing hearing
that he anticipated a favorable result, and if it was
favorable, then the nine months he had spent in state prison
would be for naught. Sentencing Hearing Tr., at 5 (ECF No.
33). He therefore requested that the nine months he spent in
state custody be credited against his federal sentence. The
government agreed with that recommendation based on Mr.
Arguello's plea agreement. Id. at 5-6. The
sentencing guideline range was 30 to 37 months. Taking into
account the nine months Mr. Arguello had served in state
custody, and the delay between the crime at issue and the
Indictment, the court sentenced him to 21-months
imprisonment. Judgement, at 2 (ECF No. 29). Thus, even though
Mr. Arguello elected to remain in state custody, he was given
credit against his federal sentence for that time.
Mr. Arguello's state jury trial was reset and started on
May 10, 2018. On May 11, 2018, the jury returned a guilty
verdict on two counts for failing to stop or respond at the
command of police and failing to stop at the command of law
enforcement. On the first count, Mr. Arguello was
“sentenced to an indeterminate term . . . not to exceed
five years in the Utah State Prison.” Minute Entry (May
11, 2018), Case No. 171901274, Second Dist. Ct., Weber Cty.,
State of Utah. On the related second count, he was
“sentenced to an indeterminate term . . . not to exceed
one year in the Utah State Prison.” Id. He
then was remanded to the custody of the Weber County Sheriff
“for transportation to the Utah State Prison.”
Id. The State court ordered that the state counts
“run concurrent with each other, ” but
consecutive to another state prison sentence. Id.
The court did not order “as to how the federal sentence
shall run.” Id.
his time in state custody, Mr. Arguello started serving his
federal sentence. His expected release date is September 8,
2020. Mr. Arguello contends he is doing more time for the
crime because his federal sentence did not run concurrently
with his state sentence. Motion to Modify, at 1-2 (ECF No.
32). He asks the court to modify his sentence to run
concurrently so he may be released. Id.
federal court generally ‘may not modify a term of
imprisonment once it has been imposed.'” Dillon
v. United States, 560 U.S. 817, 819 (2010) (quoting 18
U.S.C. § 3582(c)). The Tenth Circuit has noted the need
to be “mindful of Congress's directive that
sentence modifications are to be the exception, not the
rule.” United States v. White, 765 F.3d 1240,
1244 (10th Cir. 2014). It therefore “is well-settled
that a district court is authorized to modify a
Defendant's sentence only in specified instances where
Congress has expressly granted the court jurisdiction to do
so.” Id. (quotations, citation, and alteration
omitted). This means unless “one of a few
narrowly-defined statutory exceptions” is met,
“federal courts generally lack jurisdiction to modify
a” sentence. Id. (quotations, citation, and
United States v. Johnson, a defendant “moved
for a nunc pro tunc ruling that would retroactively
make her federal sentence run concurrently with her Texas and
Oklahoma state sentences.” Johnson, 766
Fed.Appx. 648, 649 (10th Cir. 2019). Through a complicated
set of circumstances involving the interplay between state
and federal sentences and a detainer, the defendant asserted
“that the delay in the detainer extended her time of
incarceration by almost two years.” Id. She
therefore asked for her federal sentence to be modified to
run concurrently. Id.
Tenth Circuit started its analysis “by considering
whether Congress has expressly granted jurisdiction to the
district court to modify” a sentence on the grounds
asserted. Id. at 649- 50. It found the defendant did
not meet any of the conditions stated under 18 U.S.C. §
3582(b). It noted that while a court does have authority
“to run a sentence concurrently with an anticipated
sentence, ” such authority must be done at the time of
the initial sentencing. Id. at 650 (distinguishing
Setser v. United States, 566 U.S. 231 (2012)).
Although Johnson is an unpublished decision, the
court finds it reasoning persuasive as to this court's
court has reviewed the facts of this case to determine
whether any of the factors listed under 18 U.S.C. §
3582(b) apply. Similar to the Johnson court, this
court concludes none of the factors have been satisfied.
Although Mr. Arguello is correct that there was a significant
delay between committing the crime at issue in this case and
his Indictment, the court already took that factor into
consideration during sentencing. The court also took other
mitigating factors into consideration. Moreover, the court
credited the time Mr. Arguello served in state custody, as
though he had been in federal custody. He therefore suffered
no detriment by electing to remain in state custody during
the pendency of this case. Following his federal sentencing,
a jury found Mr. Arguello guilty for fleeing from an officer.
That crime was committed about three years after the crime at
issue in this case. Due to the lack of correlation between
the two crimes, the court cannot say it is inappropriate for
the two sentences to run consecutively. More significantly,
however, the court has found no basis on which to ...