Thursday, July 11, 2013

Shooting Is Relevant Conduct for Felon in Possession Conviction

US v. Ashford:  Ashford  was a felon.  He possessed a firearm.  He shot someone else three times, as part of an argument that escalated out of control.  At sentencing, the district court applied a Guideline cross reference to attempted second-degree murder, producing a Guideline range of 110-120 months in prison (the statutory maximum).  He was sentenced to 120 months.

On appeal, Ashford challenged his sentence on both legal and factual grounds.  The Fourth Circuit turned away both challenges and affirmed his sentence.  First, Ashford argued that the shooting wasn't relevant conduct for his offense of conviction.  Looking to USSG 1B1.3(a), he argued that all four subsections were conditions that must be met before something qualified as relevant conduct.  The court disagreed, finding subsections (3) and (4) to be linked, but only to each other and not to the other two subsections, which were also not linked to each other.  Specifically, conduct must satisfy either subsection (1) or (2) to be classified as relevant conduct.  Unlike US v. Horton, 693 F.3d 463 (4th Cir. 2012), the shooting here clearly occurred "during the commission" of the offense of conviction and qualified as relevant conduct under 1B1.3(a)(1).  Second, Ashford argued that the facts did not support a cross reference to attempted second-degree murder, but at most attempted voluntary manslaughter.  The court had "no trouble affirming" the sentence on the facts in the record.

NOTE: This case was decided on June 20, 2013.

No comments: