US v. Davis: Davis robbed a Wendy's in North Carolina and was convicted of a Hobbs Act robbery and firearm charges. The PSR recommended that Davis was a career offender based on multiple prior North Carolina convictions for burglary. Davis objected, arguing that the priors were a "consolidated sentence" that counted as only one prior offense. The district court disagreed, noting that the priors were separated by an intervening arrest. It sentenced Davis to 276 months, within the career offender Guideline range.
On appeal, the Fourth Circuit vacated Davis's sentence. The court noted that, for Guideline purposes, the operative prior event is the sentence, not convictions, and that a single sentence only counts once, regardless of how many convictions underlie that sentence. In Davis's case, his prior convictions were consolidated under a specific North Carolina statutory provision that allows for the entry of a single judgment for consolidated offenses. Thus, he "came to federal court with one consolidated sentence." It noted that the North Carolina provision is a substantive one that affects the defendant's rights, not merely a procedural means for efficiently imposing multiples sentences in a single proceeding.
Congrats to the Defender office in WDNC on the win!
NOTE: This case was decided on June 24, 2013.