United States v. Batiste, No. 19-30927 (5th Cir. 2020)Annotate this Case
The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of defendant's motion for sentence reduction filed pursuant to section 404 of the First Step Act of 2018. The court held that the district court did not misinterpret United States v. Hegwood, 934 F.3d 414, 418 (5th Cir.), cert. denied, 140 S. Ct. 285 (2019), as precluding consideration of the 18 U.S.C. 3553(a) factors during First Step Act sentencings and preventing any downward departure or variance from the guidelines range.
However, the court held that it is not clear where the district court considered and implicitly rejected defendant's request for a reduction of his term of supervised release, or merely overlooked it. Therefore, the court remanded the issue to the district court for consideration and disposition. The court rejected defendant's argument that the district court's re-imposition of a 262-month sentence resulted in a substantively unreasonable sentence. Rather, the court held that the substantive reasonableness standard does not apply here and that defendant has not demonstrated an abuse of discretion or legal error occurred. Finally, defendant's argument that the district court failed to consider the guidelines range applicable to him if he were sentenced today is foreclosed by Hegwood.