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