Articles Posted in US Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit

by
The Eighth Circuit affirmed defendant's conviction for misusing a social security number and for the statutorily mandated two additional years in prison for aggravated identity theft. The court held that the district court did not err in considering defendant's prior unobjected-to conduct showing that defendant, then nineteen, had sex with a fifteen year old girl ten to fifteen times, in determining whether to vary upward; in denying defendant's request to move the paragraph detailing the sexual-conduct charge from the "Adult Criminal Conviction(s)" section of the PSR to the "Other Arrests" section; by imposing the $5,000 fine; in considering the pretrial services report to impeach defendants; and by imposing the fine before allocution. View "United States v. Hernandez-Espinoza" on Justia Law

by
The Eighth Circuit affirmed petitioner's new sentence after the district court vacated his original sentence under 28 U.S.C. 2255 and again applied an enhancement under the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA), 18 U.S.C. 924(e). The court held that petitioner's two prior Iowa assault convictions were committed on occasions different from one another and qualified as separate predicate offenses under section 924(e). Therefore, the district court properly enhanced petitioner's sentence under the ACCA and the corresponding sentencing guideline. The court also held that defendant's sentence was substantively reasonable where the district court had wide latitude in deciding how to weigh the relevant 18 U.S.C. 3553(a) factors and the district court did not abuse its discretion in sentencing defendant. View "Levering v. United States" on Justia Law

by
The Eighth Circuit affirmed defendant's sentence after he pleaded guilty to two counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition. The court held that the district court did not err by imposing sentencing enhancements under USSG 2K2.1(b)(1)(A) for three or more firearms, USSG 3B1.4 for use of a child in the commission of the offense; and USSG 2K2.1(B)(6)(b) for committing the firearm offense in connection with another felony; defendant waived his argument that the district court abused its discretion in granting the government's request to continue; even if subject to plain error review, the district court did not abuse its discretion, much less commit plain error, in granting the government's motion for a short continuance to secure the attendance of an important witness; the district court did not err by calculating defendant's base offense level as his prior conviction for assault while displaying a dangerous weapon in violation of Iowa Code Sections 708.1 and 708.2(3) was a crime of violence resulting in a base offense level of 22 under Guidelines Sec. 2K2.1(a)(3); and even if there was error, the error was harmless. View "United States v. McGee" on Justia Law

by
The Eighth Circuit affirmed defendant's sentence after he violated his terms of supervision. The court held that the district court properly considered the relevant factors and did not procedurally err in failing to explain its sentence. In this case, the district court discussed defendant's lengthy criminal history and his noncompliance to court orders. Therefore, the district court did not abuse its discretion in sentencing defendant and his 24 month sentence was substantively reasonable. View "United States v. Holt" on Justia Law

by
The Eighth Circuit denied a petition for review of the BIA's decision affirming the IJ's denial of asylum, withholding of removal, and voluntary departure. The court held that the record contained sufficient facts to support the BIA's conclusion that petitioner's prior conviction under North Dakota law for unlawful entry into a vehicle was an aggravated felony attempted theft as defined by 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(43)(U) and (G). View "Ahmed v. Sessions" on Justia Law

by
The Eighth Circuit held that defendant's challenge to his revocation sentence was moot because he had served the sentence and been release from custody. The court vacated the mandatory condition of supervised release requiring defendant to participate in an approved program for domestic violence, holding that there was lack of evidence supporting the condition and a complete lack of explanation for its imposition. Therefore, the district court erred and the error affected defendant's substantial rights. View "United States v. Hill" on Justia Law

by
The Eighth Circuit affirmed defendant's conviction of being a felon in possession of a firearm. The court held that evidence regarding the firearm's operability was properly excluded because it would have yielded substantial juror confusion without having significant probative value regarding the issue of weapon design; the firearm, a .380 Cobra, qualified as a firearm for purposes of the statute despite its missing pieces and broken parts; and proof that the firearm was operable was not required because the language of 18 U.S.C. 921(a)(3) requires only that the weapon was designed to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive. The court held however that the district court erred by sentencing defendant under the Armed Career Criminal Act in light of the court's en banc decision in United States v. Naylor, 887 F.3d 397 (8th Cir. 2018) (en banc). Therefore, the court vacated the sentence and remanded for resentencing. View "United States v. Hardin" on Justia Law

by
The Eighth Circuit affirmed defendant's conviction of being a felon in possession of a firearm. The court held that evidence regarding the firearm's operability was properly excluded because it would have yielded substantial juror confusion without having significant probative value regarding the issue of weapon design; the firearm, a .380 Cobra, qualified as a firearm for purposes of the statute despite its missing pieces and broken parts; and proof that the firearm was operable was not required because the language of 18 U.S.C. 921(a)(3) requires only that the weapon was designed to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive. The court held however that the district court erred by sentencing defendant under the Armed Career Criminal Act in light of the court's en banc decision in United States v. Naylor, 887 F.3d 397 (8th Cir. 2018) (en banc). Therefore, the court vacated the sentence and remanded for resentencing. View "United States v. Hardin" on Justia Law

by
The Eighth Circuit affirmed defendant's sentence after he pleaded guilty to unlawful reentry as a removed alien after an aggravated felony conviction. The court held that the district court did not plainly err by increasing defendant's base offense level by eight under USSG 2L1.2(b)(1)(C), based on his previous burglary convictions under California law. The court upheld the aggravated felony enhancement under section 2L1.2(b)(1)(C), and held that defendant could not maintain his vagueness challenge under the reasoning in Johnson v. United States, 135 S. Ct. 2551 (2015), and Beckles v. United States, 137 S. Ct. 886 (2017). The court also held that the sentence was not substantively unreasonable where the district court weighed the 18 U.S.C. 3553(a) factors. View "United States v. Sanchez-Rojas" on Justia Law

by
The Eighth Circuit affirmed defendant's sentence after he pleaded guilty to unlawful reentry as a removed alien after an aggravated felony conviction. The court held that the district court did not plainly err by increasing defendant's base offense level by eight under USSG 2L1.2(b)(1)(C), based on his previous burglary convictions under California law. The court upheld the aggravated felony enhancement under section 2L1.2(b)(1)(C), and held that defendant could not maintain his vagueness challenge under the reasoning in Johnson v. United States, 135 S. Ct. 2551 (2015), and Beckles v. United States, 137 S. Ct. 886 (2017). The court also held that the sentence was not substantively unreasonable where the district court weighed the 18 U.S.C. 3553(a) factors. View "United States v. Sanchez-Rojas" on Justia Law