Articles Tagged with firearm

Here is an unpublished opinion in United States v. Jones, No. 09-15005 (11th Cir. 17 June 2010).  I’ve commented before about how nuanced sex offender registration issues can get.

Christopher Martin Jones appeals from his sentence imposed following his conviction for possessing a firearm as a convicted felon. On appeal, Jones argues that the district court erroneously found that his 1992 conviction by a special court-martial for sodomy, in violation of United States Military Justice ("UCMJ") Article 125, 10 U.S.C. § 925, constitutes a sex offense that requires registration under the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act, 42 U.S.C. § 16901 et. seq. ("SORNA"). Accordingly, he argues, the court abused its discretion in ordering that he register as a sex offender under SORNA as a special condition of his supervised release (special condition 5). In addition, Jones also argues that the court abused its discretion in imposing special conditions 2, 3, 4, 6, and 7 of his supervised release, which are targeted toward preventing future sexual misconduct. Relying on 18 U.S.C. § 3583(d), Jones contends that, in light of the fact that his criminal history includes only one conviction for a sex offense, and this offense occurred in 1992, these special conditions are not reasonably related to the sentencing goals set forth in 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a).

For the reasons set forth below, we vacate and remand.

The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals considers a conviction of “housebreaking,” under Article 130, UCMJ, to be a crime of violence for firearms possession charges in federal district court.  We frequently are asked by clients if they can still own a firearm.  The answer is a very nuanced one, as Begay and Whetzell indicate.

Appellant’s prior crime, the crime of housebreaking, occurs when "[a]ny person subject to [the Uniform Code of Military Justice] . . . unlawfully enters the building or structure of another with intent to commit a criminal offense therein. . . ." 10 U.S.C. § 930. . . .

Appellant’s primary argument against this conclusion is that the district court improperly referenced the military court’s discussion of the underlying facts of his conviction. Generally, a court is only to consider "the fact of conviction and the statutory definition of the prior offense." Taylor, 495 U.S. at 602. But the district court’s reference in this case to the underlying facts of Appellant’s housebreaking conviction, as articulated in the military court’s opinion, does not change the fact that the elements of housebreaking constitute a generic burglary crime, a crime of violence under our precedents. Further, and contrary to Appellant’s argument, the Supreme Court’s opinion in Begay v. United States, 553 U.S. 137 (2008), did not alter our decisions in regard to generic burglary and does not provide reason for reversal.