FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF
PUERTO RICO [Hon. Carmen Consuelo Cerezo, U.S. District
Merritt Schnipper on brief for appellant.
Pérez-Sosa, Assistant United States Attorney, Chief,
Appellate Division, Mainon A. Schwartz, Assistant United
States Attorney, and Rosa Emilia
Rodríguez-Vélez, United States Attorney, on
brief for appellee.
Howard, Chief Judge, Thompson and Barron, Circuit Judges.
HOWARD, Chief Judge.
Ángel Morales-Arroyo challenges the reasonableness of
a 132-month prison sentence imposed for unlawful possession
of firearms in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime and
for possession of crack cocaine with intent to distribute. He
contends that the waiver-of-appeal provision in his plea
agreement does not bar this appeal. After careful
consideration, however, we conclude that it does and dismiss
pleaded guilty, pursuant to a written plea agreement, to
unlawful possession of three AK-47s in furtherance of a drug
trafficking crime and possession of crack cocaine with intent
to distribute in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1)(A)
and 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1), respectively.
particular importance here, the plea agreement included a
provision titled "Waiver of Appeal." This provision
stated that Morales "knowingly and voluntarily waives
the right to appeal the judgment and sentence in this case,
provided that [he] is sentenced in accordance with the terms
and conditions set forth in the Sentence Recommendation
provisions of this Plea Agreement."
the plea agreement's "Sentence Recommendation"
section, the parties stipulated that, "[i]n
consideration of the relevant factors enumerated in 18 U.S.C.
§ 3553(a), " Morales would recommend "a
sentence of 96 months of imprisonment and the United States
[would] recommend to the Court a sentence of 144 moths [sic]
district court accepted Morales's plea and sentenced him
to 132 months in prison.
threshold matter, we must determine whether the
waiver-of-appeal provision is enforceable under the
circumstances of this case. See United States
v. Acosta-Roman, 549 F.3d 1, 3 (1st Cir.
2008). "[U]nder ordinary circumstances, a knowing,
voluntary waiver of the right to appeal from a sentence,
contained in a plea agreement, ought to be enforced."
United States v. Teeter, 257 F.3d
14, 23 (1st Cir. 2001).
in determining whether a waiver is valid, we look to confirm
that the plea agreement contains a clear statement
elucidating the waiver and delineating its scope, and we
examine the plea hearing to ascertain whether the defendant
was specifically questioned about his understanding of the
waiver and adequately informed of its ramifications.
United Statesv.Chandler, 534