FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF
MAINE [Hon. George Z. Singal, U.S. District Judge]
MiAngel Cody on brief for appellant.
Benjamin M. Block, Assistant United States Attorney, and
Halsey B. Frank, United States Attorney, on brief for
Howard, Chief Judge, Torruella and Lynch, Circuit Judges.
Manuel Pérez-Crisostomo ("Crisostomo")
appeals from his 121-month sentence, arguing that the
district court erred in calculating his Guidelines sentencing
range ("GSR") because it imposed an unwarranted
sentence enhancement for obstruction of justice and denied
him credit for acceptance of responsibility. Having carefully
reviewed the record -- which shows that Crisostomo maintained
a false identity throughout his criminal proceedings -- we
disagree and affirm.
many years predating this offense, Crisostomo, a citizen of
the Dominican Republic, used the identity of a U.S. citizen,
"Nelson Calderon." On March 7, 2016, Crisostomo was
charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute cocaine
and cocaine base, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§
841(a)(1), 841(b)(1)(C), and 846. Crisostomo pleaded guilty
without any plea agreement as "Nelson Calderon" on
November 21, 2016. He maintained this false identity
throughout his criminal proceedings.
the U.S. Probation Office ("USPO") was preparing
Crisostomo's presentence investigation report
("PSR"), the government came across evidence of his
false identity: it found a Puerto Rico driver's license
photo of the real Nelson Calderon and a Dominican passport at
Crisostomo's apartment under the name "Manuel
Carlos." Confronted with this evidence, Crisostomo
nevertheless continued to assert that he was, in fact, Nelson
refused to provide the USPO with any information to verify
his identity. Instead, he claimed that he was born in Puerto
Rico and orphaned at a young age, but could not name the
church he was allegedly raised by or the school he had
attended. He claimed that he had a brother in New York (and
no other family), but was unable to provide his brother's
name. He claimed to have a significant drug and alcohol
addiction. And he claimed to have a doctor (who treated him
for various other ailments) in Maine, but the USPO could not
find any evidence that such a doctor actually existed. As a
result, the USPO was unable to piece together an accurate
social or criminal history.
calculated that Crisostomo's offense level was 32 (which
included a two-level obstruction enhancement, and no credit
for acceptance of responsibility), and that his criminal
history category was I, resulting in a GSR of 121-151 months
of imprisonment, see U.S.S.G. ch. 5, pt. A,
sentencing table. Crisostomo's counsel objected to the
obstruction of justice enhancement in the PSR, arguing that
Crisostomo "ha[d] no memory of any other identity,"
and had "suffered a series of head traumas which affect
his cognition and memory." However, defense counsel
later filed a motion to continue because Crisostomo finally
admitted his true identity.
was delayed to September 7, 2017. At the outset of the
hearing, Crisostomo still maintained that he was "Nelson
Calderon," but added that "[he] heard [he was]
known as Carlos."
his relatives testified at the hearing and flatly
contradicted Crisostomo's previous statements. His
sister-in-law stated that she had always "called him
Carlos," and was "definitely sure" he had
never used drugs. She also revealed that he used the name
"Nelson Calderon" in order "to be a U.S.
citizen" to avoid deportation. His niece stated that he
often visited her family in Providence, Rhode Island, and
that he was helpful to her family.
light of this testimony and other facts provided by the
prosecution, the district court adopted the PSR's
Guidelines calculation, over the objection of