United States v. Aguilar Diaz, No. 16-50102 (9th Cir. 2018)Annotate this Case
The Ninth Circuit circuit vacated defendant's sentence after the district court denied defendant a minor role reduction under USSG 3B1.2(b). The panel rejected defendant's contention that the district court erred because it did not consider or mention the five factors listed in section 3B1.2 cmt. n.3(C), and failed to mention other factors it did consider when it concluded that defendant did not qualify for a minor-role adjustment. The panel explained that the district court was not obligated to tick off the factors on the record to show that it considered them, and the panel had no trouble determining from the sentencing memoranda and the transcript of the sentencing hearing that the district court was well aware of the factors added by Amendment 794. The panel held, however, that the decision to deny the adjustment rested on incorrect interpretations of section 3B1.2 and Amendment 794. In this case, there was no evidence that defendant had a proprietary interest in the outcome of the operation or otherwise stood to benefit more than minimally, and the government did not account for defendant's limited understanding of the overall scope and structure of the criminal operation.