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United States v. Salazar.

No. 19-3217.  D.Kan. Judge Moritz. Supervised Release—Statutory Maximum Combined Sentence—Mootness.

February 15, 2021

Defendant pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm and completed a 115-month prison term on that offense. He then began a three-year period of supervised release. Soon thereafter, the district court revoked defendant’s term of supervised release for violating its terms by committing battery and associating with a felon. The district court sentenced defendant to 10 months’ imprisonment to be followed by one year of supervised release.

As a threshold matter on appeal, because defendant’s 10-month prison term expired in November 2019, the Tenth Circuit assessed whether it had jurisdiction. Both defendant and the government argued that even though the prison term was complete, defendant had not yet served the entirety of the one-year term of supervised release, so a favorable appellate decision could potentially reduce the term of supervised release. Thus, the appeal was not moot.

On the merits, defendant argued that the district court imposed an illegal sentence following the revocation of his supervised release because the 10-month imprisonment term, when aggregated with his prior 115-month prison term, exceeds the 120-month statutory maximum for his crime of conviction. However, this argument is precluded by United States v. Robinson, 62 F.3d 1282 (10th Cir. 1995), which held that a prison sentence following the revocation of supervised release, when combined with the prison term for the crime of conviction, may exceed the statutory maximum prison sentence for the crime of conviction. Further, no intervening authority disturbs Robinson’s holding as controlling precedent.

The sentence was affirmed.

Official US Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit proceedings can be found at the US Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit website.

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