Thursday, December 30, 2010

Possession of Sawed-Off Shotgun Is Crime of Violence

US v. Hood: Hood was convicted of drug and gun offenses and sentenced as a career offender. He objected to that classification, arguing that a prior North Carolina conviction for "possession of a weapon of mass death and destruction" (actually a sawed-off shotgun) was not a crime of violence. The district court disagreed and the Fourth Circuit affirmed.

Holding that earlier precedent on the issue was obsolete in light of Begay, the court nevertheless found that possession of a sawed off shotgun was a crime of violence. Distinguishing the Guideline issue from the related Armed Career Criminal Act definition of "violent felony" (the court has held, in an unpublished case, that possession of a sawed-off shotgun is not a violent felony), the court noted that Guideline commentary specifically includes possession of a sawed-off shotgun in the definition of crime of violence. Therefore, it qualified as such, even under a Begay analysis.

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