When Anthony Soto-Rivera was arrested, he was in possession of a machine gun. Unfortunately for him, Soto-Rivera was also a felon, making his possession of any firearm, not to mention a machine gun, illegal. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced as a career criminal, under the assumption that being a felon in possession of a firearm is a "crime of violence" for federal career offender sentencing enhancements.
Not so, the First Circuit ruled last Friday. Given the Supreme Court's recent invalidation of the unconstitutionally vague "residual clause" in the Armed Career Criminal Act, the similar language in the federal sentencing guidelines must too fall, meaning the mere possession of a firearm cannot be seen as a crime of violence, the First Circuit found.