Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida. D.C. Docket No. 1:82-cr-00276-UU-1.
For United States of America, Plaintiff - Appellee: Andrea G. Hoffman, Kathleen Mary Salyer, Wifredo A. Ferrer, Vanessa S. Johannes, U.S. Attorney's Office, Miami, FL.
For Jose Huco Cruanes, Defendant - Appellant: Carlos Cruanes, Law Offices of Carlos Cruanes, PA., Miami, FL; Michael Mirer, Steven Amster, PA, Miami, FL.
Before TJOFLAT, JILL PRYOR, and FAY, Circuit Judges.
On July 29, 1982, Jose Hugo Cruanes pled guilty to conspiracy to possess cocaine with intent to distribute, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § § 841(a)(1) and 846. On October 8, 1982, the District Court pronounced sentence. The court found " reasonable grounds to believe" that Cruanes, then 24 years of age, " w[ould] benefit from treatment under the Youth Corrections Act" (" YCA" ) and sentenced him to the custody of the Attorney General " for treatment and supervision pursuant to [18 U.S.C. § ] 5010(b)
until discharged by the United States Parole Commission as provided in [18 U.S.C. § ] 5017(c)."  Cruanes was confined in FCI Morgantown, a prison facility in West Virginia once set aside for YCA offenders.
A year after reporting to FCI Morganton, Cruanes moved the District Court to reduce his sentence. The court responded by requesting FCI Morganton to submit a report on Cruanes's institutional adjustment. On November 3, 1983, after receiving the institution's report, the District Court granted Cruanes's motion, entering an order reducing his sentence effective December 1, 1983, " to time served." Doc. 82, at 2. In addition to FCI Morganton's report, the court relied on several factors, among them the nature of Cruanes's crime, his admission of guilt, his age, the support of a strong family unit, the offer of employment he had received, and the fact that he had been incarcerated for over one year. Id.
The Federal Youth Corrections Act, 18 U.S.C. § § 5005-5026 (1982), repealed by Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1984, Pub. L. 98-473, tit. 11, § 218, 98 Stat. 1976, 2027, provided that the conviction of a youth offender " shall be automatically set aside" when the offender is discharged by the Parole Commission or by the court. The pertinent provisions of the YCA provided as follows:
(a) Upon the unconditional discharge by the Commission of a committed youth offender before the expiration of the maximum sentence imposed upon him, the conviction shall be automatically set aside and the Commission shall issue to the youth offender a certificate to that effect.
(b) Where a youth offender has been placed on probation by the court, the court may thereafter, in its discretion, unconditionally discharge such youth offender from probation prior to the expiration of the maximum period of probation theretofore fixed by the court, which discharge shall automatically set aside the conviction, and the court shall issue to the youth offender a certificate to that effect.
18 U.S.C. § 5021. Although the November 3, 1983, order effectively discharged Cruanes on December 1, 1983, when he completed his sentence, the District Court never ...