Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals - Published Opinions

Monday, November 13, 2017

Alicea: New York Certificate of Disposition Sufficient to Prove Prior Conviction

In United States v. Alicea, No. 16-17545 (Nov. 9, 2017) (Ed Carnes, Tjoflat, William Pryor) (per curiam), the Court upheld the calculation of the defendant's guideline range.

First, agreeing with two other circuits, the Court held that a New York certificate of disposition was sufficient evidence to establish that the defendant had a prior serious drug offense.  The Court rejected his assertion that the certificate was insufficient because it was signed by an unidentified court clerk and mistakenly transposed the numbers of his birthday.

Second, and for purposes of calculating his criminal history score, the Court rejected his assertion that the government failed to provide reliable evidence to prove his three New York drug convictions.  The Court already addressed the argument with regard to one of the convictions.  With regard to the other two, it was undisputed that both convictions bore an identification number identical to Alicea's.  And while the arrests in those cases were made under different names, those names were known aliases of the defendant.  The Court alternatively concluded that any error was harmless, because his criminal history score would have remained the same in light of other convictions not challenged on appeal.