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Prior State Conviction Held To Be "Crime Of Violence" For Sentencing

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By FindLaw Staff on May 19, 2010 3:57 PM

In US v. McConnell, No. 09-3036, the court of appeals affirmed defendant's sentence for possessing a firearm after conviction of a felony, on the ground that defendant's prior Kansas state conviction for eluding a law enforcement officer constituted a "crime of violence" under U.S.S.G. section 2K2.1(a)(4)(A).

As the court wrote:  "Jason McConnell pleaded guilty to one count of possessing a firearm after conviction of a felony, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 922(g)(1) and 924(a)(2). In calculating the advisory range of sentences under the United States Sentencing Guidelines (USSG), the district court determined that Mr. McConnell's prior Kansas conviction for fleeing and eluding a law enforcement officer under Kan. Stat. Ann. § 8-1568 constituted a "crime of violence" under USSG § 4B1.2. The court granted Mr. McConnell a downward variance from the advisory Guidelines range and imposed a sentence of 48 months' imprisonment.

Mr. McConnell now argues that the district court erred in characterizing his Kansas fleeing and eluding conviction as a "crime of violence." Although he concedes that in United States v. West, 550 F.3d 952 (10th Cir. 2008), this court upheld that characterization of a similar Utah offense, he maintains that the Supreme Court's subsequent decision in Chambers v. United States, 129 S. Ct. 687 (2009), has overruled the principal holding of West. We are not persuaded, and we therefore affirm Mr. McConnell's sentence."

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