APPEAL FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF PUERTO RICO. Hon. Aida M. Delgado-Colon, U.S. District Judge.
Hector E. Guzman, Jr., Hector L. Ramos-Vega, Thomas Trebilcock-Horan, Eric Alexander Vos, and Vivianne Marrero on brief for appellant.
Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez, United States Attorney, Nelson Pérez-Sosa, Assistant United States Attorney, and Juan Carlos Reyes-Ramos, Assistant United States Attorney, on brief for appellee.
Before Lynch, Chief Judge, Stahl and Kayatta, Circuit Judges.
LYNCH, Chief Judge.
This case is a cautionary tale for criminal defense counsel as to the need to observe the time limits for taking appeals set forth in the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure and the restrictions on reconsideration of sentences set forth in the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure. Two basic lessons emerge from our consideration of the interplay between the two sets of rules. First, self-styled " motions for reconsideration of sentence," unmoored in the rules, do not extend the time for an appeal. The era when this court accepted such an approach in United States v. Morillo, 8 F.3d 864 (1st Cir. 1993), ended in 2002 with the amendments to the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure, which specifically rejected Morillo. See Fed. R. App. P. 4(b)(5) advisory committee's note (2002 Amendments). Second, Congressional enactments have deprived the district courts of their common-law authority to modify sentences at a defendant's behest unless they have before them a motion properly brought under Fed. R. Crim. P. 35(a) and act on it within 14 days of the original sentence. See 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c).
Neither lesson was heeded here. Defendant's failure to file a timely notice of appeal from his original sentence dooms his appeal.
On April 30, 2002, defendant Hector Manuel Gonzalez-Rodriguez pled guilty to aggravated felonious sexual assault in state court in New Hampshire. As a result of this conviction, he was required under the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA), Pub. L. No. 109-248, Title I, 120 Stat. 587 (2006) (codified at 42 U.S.C. § § 16901-16962), to register as a sex offender. Failure to register pursuant to SORNA is a federal crime. See 18 U.S.C. § 2250(a).
Gonzalez-Rodriguez engaged in a number of other criminal offenses in New Hampshire which led to convictions after his 2002 guilty plea, and he had active arrest warrants outstanding in 2010. In December 2010, defendant moved from New Hampshire to Puerto Rico. He did not notify Puerto Rican authorities of his establishing residence there, as required under SORNA. On April 26, 2011, he was charged in a one-count indictment alleging that he had failed to register in Puerto Rico as a sex offender in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2250(a). Gonzalez-Rodriguez pled guilty to that charge on August 1, 2011, pursuant to a plea agreement.
The district court held defendant's sentencing hearing on February 24, 2012. After hearing arguments from counsel, the district court orally sentenced Gonzalez-Rodriguez
to 36 months imprisonment and 15 years of supervised release. The court imposed several special conditions on the term of supervised release, including conditions which require Gonzalez-Rodriguez to avoid contact with minors. After completing its recitation of the conditions of supervised release, the district court advised ...