Argued March 26, 2015
Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Maryland, at Greenbelt. (8:13-cr-00444-PJM-1). Peter J. Messitte, Senior District Judge.
Julie L.B. Johnson, OFFICE OF THE FEDERAL PUBLIC DEFENDER, Greenbelt, Maryland, for Appellant.
Nicholas Jacob Patterson, OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY, Greenbelt, Maryland, for Appellee.
James Wyda, Federal Public Defender, Baltimore, Maryland, Matthew McNicoll, Law Clerk, OFFICE OF THE FEDERAL PUBLIC DEFENDER, Greenbelt, Maryland, for Appellant.
Rod J. Rosenstein, United States Attorney, Baltimore, Maryland, Kelly O'Connell Hayes, Assistant United States Attorney, OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY, Greenbelt, Maryland, for Appellee.
Before NIEMEYER, KING, and HARRIS, Circuit Judges. Judge King wrote the opinion, in which Judge Niemeyer and Judge Harris joined.
KING, Circuit Judge.
Gerson Arturo Aplicano-Oyuela (" Aplicano" ), a native and citizen of Honduras, pleaded guilty in the District of Maryland to an illegal reentry offense that occurred after his removal from this country following a felony conviction. See 8 U.S.C. § 1326(a), (b)(1). On March 13, 2014, the district court sentenced Aplicano to sixteen months in prison and three years of supervised release. On appeal, Aplicano challenges solely his term of supervised release, contending that it was procedurally and substantively unreasonable, and that the court failed to properly advise him with respect to supervised release before accepting his guilty plea. As explained below, we affirm.
In 2002, at the age of nineteen, Aplicano illegally entered the United States from Honduras. In August 2006, Aplicano pleaded guilty to second-degree assault in Maryland using the name " Hershen Arturo Oulala." Two years later, he pleaded guilty in Maryland to driving without a license, this time using the alias " Gerson E. Aplicano." In 2011, Aplicano was convicted of criminal mischief in Ohio under the name " Jefferson Ordonez." That November, Aplicano was released from state confinement into the custody of the Department of Homeland Security's Immigration and Customs Enforcement (" ICE" ). In late 2011, Aplicano was removed to Honduras.
Almost immediately after his removal, Aplicano unlawfully reentered the United States. He was apprehended by border patrol agents in McAllen, Texas, however, and removed to Honduras in January 2012. Sometime between January 2012 and March 2013, Aplicano again entered the United States without authorization. In March and May 2013, he was arrested for separate offenses in Maryland -- on both occasions using the alias " Frankin J. Maradiaga-Ortiz." Although those charges were later dismissed, Aplicano's brushes with law enforcement continued. In late May 2013, he was arrested for another second-degree assault in Maryland. Following Aplicano's guilty plea on the assault charge in July of that year -- under the fictitious name " Jose Roberto Ordonez" -- ICE again took custody of Aplicano and obtained his fingerprints. ICE determined Aplicano's true identity by comparing those fingerprints to fingerprint records in its database.
By its indictment of August 26, 2013, the federal grand jury in Maryland charged Aplicano with illegal reentry by an alien who had previously been removed after a felony conviction, in contravention of 8 U.S.C. § 1326(a) and (b)(1). Aplicano initially pleaded not guilty to the indictment. On November 22, 2013, however, Aplicano submitted a letter (the " plea letter" ) through his attorney to the district court, explaining that (1) he " knowingly and voluntarily agreed to plead guilty" to the single charge in the pending indictment " without the benefit of a plea agreement" ; and (2) the plea letter would " assist the Court in the Rule 11 colloquy." J.A. 9. Aplicano acknowledged that the " maximum sentence" for the illegal reentry offense includes " a period of supervised release of three (3) years." Id. at 10. According to the plea letter, Aplicano also understood that
if he serves a term of imprisonment, is released on supervised release, and then violates the conditions of his supervised release, his supervised release could be revoked -- even on the last day of the term -- and [he] could be returned to custody to serve another period of incarceration and a new term of supervised release.
Id. Aplicano signed and dated the plea letter, acknowledging therein that " I have carefully discussed this letter with my attorney. I understand it, and I voluntarily agree to it." Id. at 13.
The district court conducted Aplicano's plea hearing on December 11, 2013. Consistent with the plea letter, Aplicano pleaded guilty to the illegal reentry charge in the indictment. Accepting Aplicano's guilty plea, the court observed that there was no plea agreement. The court acknowledged receipt of the plea letter, however, and confirmed that Aplicano had reviewed it with an interpreter. It advised Aplicano that, by pleading guilty, he would be subject to the " maximum possible penalty" for his offense, including " supervised release for a period of three years." J.A. 23. Aplicano ...