United States v. Brito, No. 19-3239 (3d Cir. 2020)Annotate this Case
Brito, in the U.S. illegally, was arrested in 2001, after delivering heroin to an undercover officer; he admitted that he had been selling heroin for more than a year. After his release from prison, he was removed to the Dominican Republic. Brito returned, illegally. In 2007, he was arrested for heroin crimes. Brito pleaded guilty to two state offenses, three federal drug crimes, and illegal reentry. After his imprisonment, Brito was again removed in 2013. His first child had been born around 2007; his wife stayed in New York to care for their kids, who apparently have learning disorders. Brito returned, illegally and was arrested.
Brito pleaded guilty to illegal reentry. The Sentencing Guidelines recommended 70-87 months’ imprisonment. Brito claimed that he had committed no crimes since his children were born and that he had devised a plan to support them from the Dominican Republic. The court stated that it had “listened very carefully” and had read all of the written submissions. After reciting Brito’s criminal history, the judge asked: “Is there anything incorrect?” Brito’s counsel replied: “I wasn’t making a timeline ... if it tracks what’s in the Presentence Report, then, yes, it is.” After weighing the 18 U.S.C.3553(a) factors, the court sentenced Brito to 70 months. The Third Circuit vacated. In restating Brito’s criminal history, the judge erroneously implied that his criminal career continued after his daughter was born. That factual mistake undermined his argument for leniency. The error was plain.
This opinion or order relates to an opinion or order originally issued on September 21, 2020.