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RODRIGUEZ V. UNITED STATES, 480 U. S. 522 (1987)

U.S. Supreme Court

Rodriguez v. United States, 480 U.S. 522 (1987)

Rodriguez v. United States

No. 86-5504.

Decided March 23, 1987

480 U.S. 522


While released on a personal recognizance bond following her arrest for selling cocaine, petitioner was arrested again for selling heroin. She pleaded guilty to both charges. Although recognizing that 18 U.S.C. § 3147 (1982 ed., Supp. III) required that petitioner, as a person who committed a felony while on release pending judicial proceedings, had to be sentenced to at least a 2-year term of imprisonment in addition to the sentences for the two drug offenses, the sentencing judge, relying on 18 U.S.C. § 3651, suspended execution of the § 3147 sentence and instead imposed a 2-year probation term as more appropriate under the circumstances. The Court of Appeals reversed, holding that § 3147 "supersede[d]" § 3651, leaving federal judges without authority to suspend execution of sentences imposed under § 3147.

Held: Section 3147 does not divest sentencing judges of their § 3651 authority. Nothing in the language of the two provisions suggests the existence of an "irreconcilable conflict" from which an intent to work an implicit partial repeal of § 3651 may be inferred; to the contrary, the provisions fit together quite sensibly. Moreover, the totality of the legislative history of the Act of which § 3147 is a part demonstrates with unusual clarity that no repeal was intended. The Court of Appeals impermissibly relied on its understanding of the broad purposes of that Act, since § 3147 is sufficiently clear in its context, and not at odds with the legislative history.

Certiorari granted; 794 F.2d 24, reversed.

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