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Divided 7th Circuit affirms 'career offender' conviction

March 9, 2012

The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed a District Court’s 100-month sentence for a man deemed to be a “career offender.” But the decision was not unanimous.

In United States of America v. Anthony Raupp, No. 11-2215, Anthony Raupp appealed the District Court’s determination that he was a “career offender” after he pleaded guilty to possessing a firearm, despite his status as a felon.

The 7th Circuit majority held that the single question for review was whether Raupp’s prior conviction of conspiracy to commit robbery could be considered a “crime of violence” under U.S. Sentencing Guidelines.

The majority wrote that an application note accompanying USSG Section 4B1.2 defines an inchoate offense such as conspiracy as a “crime of violence” when the underlying crime is one. “That disposes of this appeal, as far as the Sentencing Commission is concerned,” the 7th Circuit majority wrote.

But in her dissent, Judge Diane Wood wrote that the majority opinion is inconsistent with a long line of cases holding that the text of USSG Section 4B1.2 and the nearly identical language in the Armed Career Criminal Act have the same meaning. In Raupp, Wood wrote that her colleagues concluded that the sentencing guidelines have adopted a significantly broader definition of “crime of violence” than the ACCA.

The majority wrote that Raupp’s “sole contention is that district judges must ignore the first application note to Section 4B1.2, and that contention does not carry the day.”

Application notes in the sentencing guidelines should be treated as an agency’s interpretation of its own legislative rule, Wood wrote. She wrote that she would vacate and remand for resentencing.

 

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