United States v. Rodriguez-Rosado, No. 15-1335 (1st Cir. 2017)Annotate this Case
In 2010, Appellant pled guilty to participating in a conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute between fifteen and fifty kilograms of cocaine. Consistent with the parties’ joint recommendation, the district court sentenced Appellant to 180 months’ imprisonment. In 2014, Appellant filed a motion to reduce his sentence, citing an April 2014 amendment to the sentencing guidelines that was given retroactive effect. The amendment reduced the base offense level for certain drug crimes by two levels. Five days after the amendment’s effective date, the Puerto Rico District Court issued an administrative directive under which all motions to reduce sentence based on the amendment are automatically referred to a magistrate judge for initial screening. In the instant case, the district judge sua sponte denied Appellant’s motion before the magistrate judge had the opportunity to make an eligibility determination. Appellant appealed, arguing, inter alia, that the district court failed to apply its own administrative directive. The First Circuit vacated the district court’s orders denying Appellant’s motion to reduce sentence, holding that, under the circumstances of this case, remand to the district court for it to apply its administrative directive was the appropriate course.