United States v. Prien-Pinto, No. 18-30055 (9th Cir. 2019)Annotate this Case
The Ninth Circuit affirmed defendant's sentence and held that the strict liability enhancement of USSG 2K2.1(b)(4), for the commission of a crime with a stolen firearm, is constitutional. The panel joined its sister circuits and reaffirmed the holding of United States v. Goodell, 990 F.3d 497 (9th Cir. 1993), that the lack of a mens rea requirement in section 2K2.1(b)(4) does not violate due process. The panel also held that Application Note 8(B) simply serves as confirmation that Goodell's reading has always been the correct one.
The panel held that subsequent Supreme Court opinions recasting the role the Guidelines play in a district court's sentencing decision did not affect Goodell. The panel failed to understand how the Supreme Court's Sixth Amendment jurisprudence requiring that all facts leading to a sentence enhancement beyond the statutory maximum be proven to a jury overrules the long-settled position that the Fifth Amendment permits a sentencing enhancement for possession of a stolen firearm to apply on a strict-liability basis.