Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Courts Affirms Multiple Enhancements for Bringing Gun to Probation Office

US v. Perez: Perez was an illegal alien who was arrested by ICE when he appeared for a meeting with his Maryland state probation officer. A search of his backpack uncovered a loaded handgun and additional ammunition. Perez was charged with and pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm. At sentencing, the district court applied several enhancements not set forth in the PSR, bouncing Perez's Guideline range from 27-33 months to 63-78 months. The district court then imposed a sentence of 96 months in prison.

On appeal, Perez challenged both the calculation of his Guideline range and the substantive reasonableness of his sentence. The Fourth Circuit rejected all those arguments and affirmed. As to the Guidelines, Perez first challenged the four-level enhancement under USSG 2K2.1(b)(6), which the district court applied because Perez's carrying a loaded firearm without a safety around in public in a cloth bag constituted reckless endangerment in Maryland. The court found that conclusion was not clearly erroneous. Second, Perez challenged the two-level enhancement under 5K2.3 imposed by the district court after it concluded that it caused the probation officer psychological injury as she began wearing a bullet-proof vest and requested a transfer after 25 years in that position. The court found that conclusion was not clearly erroneous. Third, Perez challenged a two-level enhancement under 5K2.7 imposed after the district court concluded that the probation officer's transfer and the display of a sign stating its policy banning handguns from the office showed that Perez's actions "resulted in a significant disruption of a governmental function." Again, the court found that conclusion was not clearly erroneous. As for the substantive reasonableness of the sentence, the court found that the district court provided sufficient explanation for its sentence.

No comments: