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7th Circuit: Man’s offense level for selling gun was properly increased

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The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Monday affirmed the 60-month sentence imposed on a convicted felon prohibited from possessing a gun who sold the weapon to a man who was also prohibited from possessing a gun. The judges held that the District Court properly increased Darnell Jackson’s offense level because he committed separate offenses.

Jackson took a Ruger pistol his friend purchased and sold it a couple weeks later to David Dircks, whom Jackson knew to be an illegal user of drugs. Jackson, Dircks and others were later indicted, with Jackson charged for unlawful possession of the pistol as a convicted felon. Jackson pleaded guilty to the charge without a written plea agreement. At sentencing, his offense level included a four-level enhancement under 2K2.1(b)(6)(B) for transferring the firearm “with knowledge, intent or reason to believe that it would be used or possessed in connection with another felony offense.”

The court found the transfer of the gun facilitated the commission of a felony by Dircks, whose gun possession was prohibited under federal law. Without the enhancement, Jackson’s sentencing range would have been 33-41 months.

Last year, in a nonprecedential decision, U.S.A. v. Jones, 528 F. App’x 627, 631-32 (7th Cir. 2013), the 7th Circuit concluded that the enhancement applies when a defendant guilty of being a felon-in-possession has transferred the firearm to another prohibited person. The court has now adopted the rationale in Jones as binding precedent.

Jones argued that his transfer of the pistol to Dircks wasn’t “another felony offense” separate and distinct from the possession offense, and so the enhancement shouldn’t apply. He argued that his conduct was “simply the firearms possession or trafficking offense” that would be excluded under the enhancement. He also claimed that had he been charged with possession and transfer of the pistol, the two charges would have been grouped at sentencing and treated as a single offense when calculating his offense level, so there would not be “another felony offense” to trigger the enhancement.

“If we were to agree with Jackson that a second conviction for transfer of the gun would take the section 2K2.1(b)(6)(B) enhancement off the table, then we would be saying that the Guidelines would, in practice, treat one’s unlawful possession and transfer of a firearm to another prohibited person no differently than simple possession of the gun. That would be both illogical and contrary to the spirit of the grouping rules,” Judge Ilana Diamond Rovner wrote in United States of America v. Darnell Jackson, 13-1496.

“By selling the Ruger pistol to Dircks, who like Jackson was prohibited from possessing a firearm, Jackson transferred the firearm in connection with a felony offense separate and distinct from the possession offense of which he was charged and convicted. Consequently, the district court properly increased Jackson’s offense level pursuant to section 2K2.1(b)(6)(B).”
 

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  1. For many years this young man was "family" being my cousin's son. Then he decided to ignore my existence and that of my daughter who was very hurt by his actions after growing up admiring, Jason. Glad he is doing well, as for his opinion, if you care so much you wouldn't ignore the feelings of those who cared so much about you for years, Jason.

  2. Good riddance to this dangerous activist judge

  3. What is the one thing the Hoosier legal status quo hates more than a whistleblower? A lawyer whistleblower taking on the system man to man. That must never be rewarded, must always, always, always be punished, lest the whole rotten tree be felled.

  4. I want to post this to keep this tread alive and hope more of David's former clients might come forward. In my case, this coward of a man represented me from June 2014 for a couple of months before I fired him. I knew something was wrong when he blatantly lied about what he had advised me in my contentious and unfortunate divorce trial. His impact on the proceedings cast a very long shadow and continues to impact me after a lengthy 19 month divorce. I would join a class action suit.

  5. The dispute in LB Indiana regarding lake front property rights is typical of most beach communities along our Great Lakes. Simply put, communication to non owners when visiting the lakefront would be beneficial. The Great Lakes are designated navigational waters (including shorelines). The high-water mark signifies the area one is able to navigate. This means you can walk, run, skip, etc. along the shores. You can't however loiter, camp, sunbath in front of someones property. Informational signs may be helpful to owners and visitors. Our Great Lakes are a treasure that should be enjoyed by all. PS We should all be concerned that the Long Beach, Indiana community is on septic systems.

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