United States v. Langforddavis, 120811 FED3, 10-3357

Docket Nº:10-3357
Opinion Judge:RESTANI, Judge.
Judge Panel:Before: FUENTES, CHAGARES, Circuit Judges, and RESTANI, Judge
Case Date:December 08, 2011
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit




No. 10-3357

United States Court of Appeals, Third Circuit

December 8, 2011


Submitted Under Third Circuit LAR 34.1(a) November 16, 2011

On Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey (D.C. Criminal No. 2-08-cr-00779-2) District Judge: Honorable Peter G. Sheridan

Before: FUENTES, CHAGARES, Circuit Judges, and RESTANI, [*] Judge



Appellant Larry Langforddavis appeals his conviction for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon under 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1) and his sentence of 115 months imprisonment. For the following reasons, we will affirm the District Court's judgment.

Because we write for the parties, we recount only the essential facts and procedural history. In the evening of January 4, 2008, Langforddavis celebrated Antoine Dobson's birthday at Jersey Girls Entertainment Club. Dobson—a Deputy U.S. Marshal at the time—sustained injuries during an altercation outside the club. Langforddavis chased after the assailants, returning to declare that he "got them" and had "sprayed the vehicle." Langforddavis visited Dobson that night in the hospital, at which time Langforddavis put his arm around a police officer, showed a gun secured in his ankle holster, and declared he was "on the job." Langforddavis disappeared before the officers could question him. In the early morning of January 19, 2008, Langforddavis and Dobson had been drinking heavily at a bar. Langforddavis's girlfriend, Sakinah Franklin, called Langforddavis to pick her up at Jersey Girls, where she worked and where officers were intervening in an altercation. Langforddavis left Dobson in the care of a friend and started driving to the club. When Dobson realized that he had left his firearm in Langforddavis's car, he called Langforddavis, asked him to return the gun and told him not to leave the gun in the car. Langforddavis proceeded to Jersey Girls and upon arriving strapped Dobson's gun to his leg and exited the car. When officers attempted to detain Langforddavis, he resisted arrest. The officers arrested Langforddavis and confiscated the gun, later identified as Dobson's Glock 27, a backup weapon Dobson had purchased in November 2007, but was not trained to carry. Langforddavis and Dobson were indicted, and the cases were severed.1 In December 2009, a jury found Langforddavis guilty of violating 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1). In July 2009, the District Court sentenced Langforddavis to 115 months of imprisonment. In this timely appeal, Langforddavis claims the District Court erred in, 1) refusing to instruct the jury on the affirmative defense to a § 922(g)(1) crime of innocent possession, 2) refusing to instruct the jury on the affirmative defense to a § 922(g)(1) crime of entrapment by estoppel, 3) admitting Dobson's prior conviction for the purpose of impeachment, and 4) imposing an unreasonable sentence.

We have jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1291 and 18 U.S.C. § 3742(a). We review a district court's denial of a jury instruction for abuse of discretion, United States v. Jimenez, 513 F.3d 62, 74 (3d Cir. 2008), and, where such denial involves an error of law, we review de novo, Bolden v. S.E. Penn. Trans. Auth., 21 F.3d 29, 33 (3d Cir. 1994). We review a district court's admission of impeachment evidence for abuse of discretion. United States v. Johnson, 302 F.3d 139, 152 (3d Cir. 2002). We review a sentence imposed by a district court for reasonableness. United States v. King, 454 F.3d 187, 194 (3d Cir. 2006).

Langforddavis alleges the District Court erred in failing to instruct the jury as to the affirmative defense to a § 922(g)(1) crime of innocent possession. Specifically, Langforddavis argues that his possession of the firearm was innocent because he intended to return the gun to Dobson. We have yet to recognize an affirmative defense to a § 922(g)(1) crime of innocent possession.2 Assuming arguendo such a defense exists, Langforddavis presented insufficient evidence to warrant an instruction on it. In the only published appellate opinion holding an affirmative defense to a § 922(g)(1) crime of innocent possession exists, the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia held that the defendant must show, 1) the possession of the firearm was transitory with intent to turn the weapon over to police immediately through a reasonable course of conduct, and 2) the firearm was attained innocently with no illicit purpose.3 United States v. Mason, 233 F.3d 619, 621, 624 (D.C. Cir. 2001) (finding facts sufficient for an innocent possession instruction on § 922(g)(1) charges where a truck driver with a felony conviction found a gun in a bag near a school, removed the bullets, and was walking directly toward a law enforcement officer with the intent of turning it over to avoid potential harm to children when he was arrested). Even viewing the facts in a light most favorable to Langforddavis, nothing indicates that Langforddavis's possession was transitory and innocent: Upon realizing he possessed a firearm,...

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