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United States v. Alexander

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

January 11, 2016

United States of America, Plaintiff - Appellee
v.
Aemonn J. Alexander, Defendant - Appellant

Submitted September 25, 2015

Appeal from United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri - Kansas City.

For United States of America, Plaintiff - Appellee: Jess E. Michaelsen, Assistant U.S. Attorney, U.S. ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, Kansas City, MO.

Aemonn J. Alexander, Defendant - Appellant, Pro se, Leavenworth, KS.

For Aemonn J. Alexander, Defendant - Appellant: Clayton Evan Gillette, GILLETTE LAW OFFICE, Kansas City, MO.

Before LOKEN, BEAM, and SHEPHERD, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

SHEPHERD, Circuit Judge.

Aemonn Alexander pled guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1). Alexander was sentenced to 180 months imprisonment as an armed career criminal under 18 U.S.C. § 924(e)(1). Alexander appeals his sentence, arguing that because his conviction for Assault Second Degree does not qualify as one of three predicate offenses, the district court[1] erred in applying the armed career criminal enhancement. We find his Assault Second Degree conviction qualifies as a " violent felony." We affirm.

I.

On June 21, 2013, officers with the Independence, Missouri police department responded to a domestic disturbance call at Alexander's home. Alexander's wife reported to the officers that Alexander physically assaulted her and invited the police officers into the house. Upon their entry into the home, the officers discovered a loaded, stolen Ruger, 9 mm semiautomatic pistol. The officers found Alexander hiding in the basement of the home with six 9 mm rounds of ammunition in his front pocket.

A month later, Alexander was charged in a single-count Indictment with being a felon in possession of a firearm in violation of 18 U.S.C. § § 922(g)(1) and 924(a)(2). Alexander pled guilty to the Indictment without a plea agreement with the government. The presentence investigation report (" PSR" ) concluded that Alexander had " three prior convictions for a violent felony or a serious drug offense, or both," which qualified as violent felonies under the Armed Career Criminal Act (" ACCA" ), codified at § 924(e), and indicated that one of Alexander's prior " violent felonies" was a Missouri state court Assault Second Degree conviction. Alexander objected to the PSR's finding that his Assault Second Degree conviction under Missouri Revised Statute § 565.060 was a crime of violence under the ACCA. The district court considered documents from Alexander's Missouri state court prosecution, overruled Alexander's objections, and held that the Assault Second Degree conviction constituted a predicate offense under § 924(e). Alexander was sentenced to 180 months imprisonment, the minimum sentence allowed under the ACCA. 18 U.S.C. § 924(e)(1). Absent the ACCA enhancement, the maximum allowable sentence for being a felon in possession of a firearm in violation of § 922(g) is 120 months imprisonment. 18 U.S.C. § 924(a)(2).

II.

A.

On appeal, Alexander maintains that the district court erred in counting his Assault Second Degree conviction as a qualifying violent felony for ACCA purposes. The government contends that, under the modified categorical approach, Alexander's Missouri conviction for Assault Second Degree constitutes a violent felony and was properly counted as a predicate offense. " Having jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. ยง 1291, we review de novo the district court's legal determination that the prior ...


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