Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals - Published Opinions
Friday, February 21, 2014
Ramirez-Flores: Pre-Descamps burglary is divisible
In U.S. v. Ramirez-Flores, No. 12-15602 (Feb. 21, 2014), the Court affirmed the imposition of a sentence enhancement for a prior South Carolina burglary of a dwelling qualified as a “crime of violence” under U.S.S.G. § 2L1.1(b)(1)(A)(ii). Because Ramirez-Flores raised the issue for the first time on appeal after briefing, the Court reviewed only for “plain error” his argument that the South Carolina burglary of a dwelling statute is “indivisible.” The Court found that it was not “plain” whether the statute was “indivisible” – it could be read to be “divisible.” Therefore it was not plain error to treat the statute as “divisible.” Turning to Ramirez-Flores’ argument that even under a pre-Descamps, Shepard-based challenge, his prior burglary conviction was not a “crime of violence,” the Court faulted the defendant for failing to raise sufficiently specific objections to the PSI’s description of the burglary to alert the government that it should obtain further documentation about the state court proceeding, i.e. to determine whether Ramirez-Flores burglarized a residence or a secondary structure.