In 2017, Attorney Adam Stone represented a client charged with a felon in possession of a firearm. The jury found the client guilty, and the trial court, applying the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA) to the case, sentenced him to 15 years to life in prison.
Attorney Stone appealed the court’s use of the ACCA at sentencing. In his first appeal before the 6th Circuit Court, he argued that the conditions of the Act did not apply to his client’s case.
What Is the Armed Careers Criminal Act?
Under the ACCA, a convicted felon in possession of a firearm faces a minimum 15-year prison sentence if they had three convictions for violent felonies in the past. As defined by the law, a violent felony is an offense where the use of, or attempted use of, physical force is an element of that crime. Using physical force against another person means carrying out an action that would cause another person to suffer physical pain or injury.
The Appeals Court’s Decision
The client had been convicted of 3 separate charges in the past. In 1993 and 1997, he was convicted of aggravated assault, and in 2001, he was convicted of aggravated robbery. Attorney Stone argued that the prior offenses were not violent crimes.
The 6th Circuit Court applied the categorical approach to these cases to determine if the client had been convicted of violent felonies as defined by the ACCA elements clause. It decided that, although the definition applied to two of the offenses, it was unclear whether the third qualified. The court agreed with Attorney Stone that the ACCA did not apply and reversed and remanded the case for resentencing.
The client’s prison sentence was reduced from 15 years to life to less than 10 years under Federal Sentencing Guidelines.
For Skilled Defense Against Violent Crime Charges, Contact Eyer Stone, LTD
If you are facing criminal allegations, our lawyer will meticulously review the details of your case to ensure the law is justly applied. If an error made by the court results in an unjust outcome, we will fight hard to challenge the decision and work to defend your rights.