77 F.3d 774 (4th Cir. 1996), 95-5435, United States v. Dickerson

Docket Nº:95-5435.
Citation:77 F.3d 774
Party Name:UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. Christopher DICKERSON, Defendant-Appellee.
Case Date:March 12, 1996
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit

Page 774

77 F.3d 774 (4th Cir. 1996)

UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellant,


Christopher DICKERSON, Defendant-Appellee.

No. 95-5435.

United States Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit

March 12, 1996

Argued Jan. 29, 1996.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, at Alexandria. Claude M. Hilton, District Judge. (CR-94-511)

ARGUED: William Graham Otis, Senior Litigation Counsel, Office of the United States Attorney, Alexandria, Virginia, for Appellant. Joseph N. Bowman, Alexandria, Virginia, for Appellee. ON BRIEF: Helen F. Fahey, United States Attorney, Alexandria, Virginia, for Appellee.

Before WILKINSON, Chief Judge, HAMILTON, Circuit Judge, and BLAKE, United States District Judge for the District of Maryland, sitting by designation.

Vacated and remanded for resentencing by published opinion. Judge HAMILTON wrote the opinion, in which Chief Judge WILKINSON and Judge BLAKE joined.


HAMILTON, Circuit Judge:

The United States (the government) appeals the sentence of Christopher Dickerson (Dickerson) imposed by the district court following Dickerson's plea of guilty to felony attempted escape from custody, see 18 U.S.C.A. § 751(a) (West Supp.1995). The government contends that the district court erroneously concluded that Dickerson did not qualify as a career offender under United States Sentencing Commission, Guidelines Manual (USSG), § 4B1.1 (Nov.1994). Because we conclude that the crime of felony attempted escape from custody, in violation of 18 U.S.C.A. § 751(a), in the abstract, "involves conduct that presents a serious potential risk of physical injury to another," USSG § 4B1.2(1)(ii), we vacate Dickerson's sentence and remand for resentencing.

Page 775


The relevant facts of this appeal are straightforward. On July 1, 1993, while serving a felony murder sentence of twenty years to life at the Lorton Reformatory, a federal maximum security prison, in Lorton, Virginia, Dickerson attempted to escape from custody through an opening in the perimeter fence that he and two fellow inmates, aided by a pair of wire cutters, had just created. Hearing gunfire, Dickerson retreated toward an interior building where he was apprehended and subsequently charged by a federal grand jury in an indictment that read, in pertinent part, as follows:

On or about July 1, 1993, at the Occoquan Facility of the Lorton Reformatory Correctional Complex in Fairfax County, Virginia, in the Eastern District of Virginia, defendant CHRISTOPHER DICKERSON, having been convicted of a felony and lawfully committed to the custody of the Attorney General and her authorized representative, namely, the District of Columbia Department of Corrections, by virtue of Judgment and Commitment Order of the District of Columbia Superior Court, did unlawfully, knowingly, and willfully attempt to escape from such custody.

(Violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 751(a)).

(J.A. 16). In February 1995, Dickerson pled guilty to this charge.

At Dickerson's sentencing hearing, the government...

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