US v. Escovio Rios, No. 21-4059 (4th Cir. 2022)Annotate this Case
Four years into Defendant’s prison term for a felony drug offense, the government transferred him to Mexico to serve the rest of his sentence. But after Mexican authorities released him from prison, Defendant returned to the United States in violation of his conditions of supervised release. The district court revoked his supervised release and sentenced him to another two years in prison. On appeal, Defendant claimed that a 1976 U.S.-Mexico treaty stripped the district court of its subject-matter jurisdiction to revoke his supervised release. And even if the district court did have jurisdiction, he argues, it erred in considering his “early” release from Mexican custody in imposing an upward variance.
The Fourth Circuit affirmed. The court declined to vacate Defendant’s sentence finding that the Treaty doesn’t strip U.S. courts of their jurisdiction—and particularly not for transferees like Defendant, who return to the country before completing their original sentences. Further, the court explained that Defendant is incorrect in his claim that the district court based the sentence on its “disapproval of the transfer decisions and Mexico’s incarceration term.” Rather, the court disapproved of Defendant’s behavior after he was released. Defendant’s sentence wasn’t procedurally or substantively unreasonable, much less plainly so.