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United States v. Jefferson

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

May 17, 2016

United States of America, Plaintiff - Appellee
v.
Kenneth David Jefferson, Defendant - Appellant

         Submitted February 10, 2016.

          Appeal from United States District Court for the Northern District of Iowa - Cedar Rapids.

         For United States of America, Plaintiff - Appellee: Martin Joseph McLaughlin, Assistant U.S. Attorney, Ravi T. Narayan, Assistant U.S. Attorney, Mark Tremmel, Assistant U.S. Attorney, U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Iowa, Cedar Rapids, IA.

         Kenneth David Jefferson, Defendant - Appellant, Pro se, Manchester, KY.

         For Kenneth David Jefferson, Defendant - Appellant: Heather Quick, Assistant Federal Public Defender, Federal Public Defender's Office, Northern District of Iowa, Cedar Rapids, IA; James F. Whalen, Federal Public Defender, Federal Public Defender's Office, Southern District of Iowa, Des Moines, IA.

         Before SMITH and COLLOTON, Circuit Judges, and ERICKSON[1], District Judge.

          OPINION

         Per Curiam.

         Kenneth David Jefferson appeals his 188-month sentence, arguing that the district court[2] plainly erred in classifying him as an armed career criminal. We affirm.

         I. Background

         Jefferson pleaded guilty to one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § § 922(g)(1) and 924(a)(2). Prior to sentencing, the presentence investigation report (PSR) revealed that Jefferson " has at least three prior convictions for a violent felony or serious drug offense, or both," including felony drug-trafficking convictions in 2001, 2004, and 2008 from Illinois. Based on these convictions, the probation office recommended that Jefferson be classified as an armed career criminal and subjected to an enhanced sentence under the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA), 18 U.S.C. § 924(e). Applying U.S.S.G. § 4B1.4(b)(3)(A), the PSR calculated an offense level of 34 because Jefferson " possessed the firearm in connection with Possession of Cocaine With Intent to Distribute in violation of Iowa Code § 124.401(1)(c)(2)(b)." The PSR ultimately calculated a total offense level of 31. Because the probation office identified Jefferson as an armed career criminal, it assigned him a criminal history category of VI. This resulted in a Guidelines range of 188 to 235 months' imprisonment.

         Jefferson challenged his alleged 2001 and 2004 convictions. Jefferson argued that the government produced insufficient proof that he had sustained these convictions. Jefferson, however, never argued that the 2001 Illinois drug-trafficking conviction would not constitute a " serious drug offense" under the ACCA, if proven to exist. At sentencing, the government offered seven exhibits as evidence of Jefferson's convictions. Crediting these documents, the district court determined that Jefferson was an armed career criminal based on the 2001, 2004, and 2008 convictions. Consistent with the PSR, the district court calculated a Guidelines range of 188 to 235 months' imprisonment. It then sentenced Jefferson to 188 months' imprisonment.

         II. Discussion

         Jefferson argues for the first time on appeal that his 2001 Illinois drug-trafficking conviction does not constitute a " serious drug offense" under the ACCA. Specifically, he asserts that because he received a " sentence" of " boot camp" [3] for that conviction, he was not convicted of an offense " for which a maximum term of imprisonment of ten years or more is prescribed by law." 18 U.S.C. § 924(e)(2)(A)(ii).

         Jefferson concedes that our review of his claim is for plain error. For Jefferson to obtain relief under this standard, he " must show that there was an error, the error is clear or obvious under current law, the error affected the [his] substantial rights, and the error seriously affects the fairness, integrity, or public reputation of judicial proceedings." Unite ...


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