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U.S. v. Arturo Albino-Loe

In this criminal appeal, the Ninth Circuit upheld a sentencing enhancement for prior convictions for crimes of violence despite a variance in the availability of an affirmative defense. The district court imposed the enhancement in this illegal reentry case because the defendant had previous California convictions for attempted murder and kidnapping. He had argued California attempt was not a categorical match to the generic definition of a crime of violence because California does not provide for the affirmative defense of voluntary abandonment, while the majority of jurisdictions and the Model Penal Code do.

The court held that Ninth Circuit precedent, e.g., United States v. Velasquez-Bosque, 601 F.3d 955, 963 (9th Cir. 2010), compelled it to reject Albino-Loe's argument. It found that the Supreme Court's decision in Moncrieffe v. Holder, 133 S. Ct. 1678 (2013) did not undermine that precedent. The court distinguished Moncrieffe because it did not involve an affirmative defense, but rather a sentencing exception that defined whether the offense was a felony or misdemeanor.