X

Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:Authorities indicted Christopher Helm on one charge of being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm. The charge against Helm arose after officers were summoned to a hotel to investigate complaints of attempted burglary. The officers discovered Helm and found that he was carrying a firearm. During arraignment, the government put Helm on notice that he was potentially subject to a sentencing enhancement under the Armed Career Criminal Act based on his status as an armed career criminal. Helm pleaded guilty to the charge against him. The district court found that Helm had the necessary previous convictions to justify his treatment as an armed career criminal under the ACCA and sentenced him to the 180-month statutory minimum. HOLDING:Affirmed. Under 18 U.S.C. � 924(e), the ACCA imposes a mandatory 15-year sentence on a felon who has been convicted of the unlawful possession of a firearm and who has three previous convictions for a “violent felony” or a “serious drug offense.” In the instant case, the court stated that the district court enhanced Helm’s sentence because of three previous burglary convictions. Each conviction qualified as a violent felony for the purposes of the ACCA. While Helm admitted that he fell under the letter of �924(e), he argued that he should not be treated as an armed career criminal under the ACCA, because his felonies were committed when he was 18 years old and because at the time of sentencing he claimed to be an addict of methamphetamine. The court stated, however, that neither the statute nor any case law suggested that the age of a qualifying conviction impacted the application of the ACCA. Helm argued on appeal that the district court’s application of �924(e) violated the due process clause, because the statute enhanced his punishment based on facts (i.e., the existence of his convictions) not submitted to a jury nor proved beyond a reasonable doubt. But the court found that Helm’s argument failed to meet the first step of plain error review, that is, a showing of error. The court also found tht the application of the ACCA to Helm does not violate the Eighth Amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment. OPINION:Per curiam; Wiener, Garza and Benavides, JJ.

Want to continue reading?
Become a Free ALM Digital Reader.

Benefits of a Digital Membership:

  • Free access to 3 articles* every 30 days
  • Access to the entire ALM network of websites
  • Unlimited access to the ALM suite of newsletters
  • Build custom alerts on any search topic of your choosing
  • Search by a wide range of topics

*May exclude premium content
Already have an account?

 
 

ALM Legal Publication Newsletters

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your digital membership, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters. Visit your My Account page to make your selections. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2020 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.