Juan Samuel Rodriguez-Huitron pleaded guilty to illegal reentry after removal in violation of 8 U.S.C. § 1326. On appeal, Rodriguez-Huitron argues he was erroneously convicted and sentenced under § 1326(b)(2)— rather than § 1326(b)(1), which imposes a lower cap on imprisonment— because his aggravated assault conviction was not an "aggravated felony."
The standard of review is well settled. Rodriguez-Huitron forfeited this issue and must thus "demonstrate (1) an error, (2) that is clear or obvious, and (3) that affects his substantial rights." United States v. Rojas-Luna, 522 F.3d 502, 504 (5th Cir. 2008) (addressing plain error); see also United States v. Gonzalez-Terrazas, 529 F.3d 293, 298 (5th Cir. 2008) (noting an error may be plain based on decisions that post-date sentencing). Only once these conditions are met may we then "exercise discretion to correct the error, . . . if (4) th[at] error seriously affects the fairness, integrity, or public reputation of judicial proceedings." Rojas-Luna, 522 F.3d at 504 (internal quotation marks and citation omitted).
This analysis need not detain us long. A conviction for aggravated assault in Texas no longer qualifies as an "aggravated felony" under 8 U.S.C. § 1326(b)(2),
Yet no remand is warranted. By his own admission, Rodriguez-Huitron seeks a limited remand to determine whether additional relief (i.e., vacatur) is appropriate. But the tail cannot wag the dog. See, e.g., United States v. Trujillo, 4 F.4th 287, 291 (5th Cir. 2021) (declining remand to explore the possibility of prejudice). The standard of review requires that Rodriguez-Huitron justify the requested relief. He fails.
Three points reveal the aggravated-felony classification does not affect Rodriguez-Huitron's substantial rights. First, this flawed heading played no role in calculating Rodriguez-Huitron's Guidelines range.
Even were we to assume prejudice, Rodriguez-Huitron also fails to prove the error seriously affects the fairness, integrity, or public reputation of his proceedings. This is outcome dispositive. See, e.g., United States v. Mondragon-Santiago, 564 F.3d 357, 369 (5th Cir. 2009); see also, e.g., United States v. Ramos-Bonilla, 558 F. App'x 440, 442 (5th Cir. 2014) (per curiam).
We nonetheless exercise our discretion and REFORM the district court's judgment to reflect a conviction and sentence under § 1326(b)(1), see, e.g., United States v. Hermoso, 484 F. App'x 970, 973 (5th Cir. 2012) (per curiam) (applying 28 U.S.C. § 2106), and AFFIRM the modified judgment.