U.S. v. Moore, No. 04-8078.

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (10th Circuit)
Writing for the CourtLucero
Citation401 F.3d 1220
PartiesUNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Gary Dean MOORE, Defendant-Appellant.
Docket NumberNo. 04-8078.
Decision Date23 March 2005
401 F.3d 1220
UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
Gary Dean MOORE, Defendant-Appellant.
No. 04-8078.
United States Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit.
March 23, 2005.

Page 1221

Submitted on the briefs:* Thomas A. Fleener, Assistant Federal Public Defender, Cheyenne, WY, for Defendant-Appellant.

Matthew H. Mead, United States Attorney, District of Wyoming and David A. Kubichek, Assistant United States Attorney, Casper, WY, for Plaintiff-Appellee.

Before BRISCOE, LUCERO, and MURPHY, Circuit Judges.

LUCERO, Circuit Judge.


Gary Moore appeals his sentence under the Armed Career Criminal Act, 18 U.S.C. § 924(e). He urges us to conclude that the existence of prior convictions, and their classification as "violent felonies," as required by the Act constitute "facts" that must be charged in an indictment and proven to a jury. We conclude that Supreme Court precedent, including its recent holdings in United States v. Booker, ___ U.S. ___, 125 S.Ct. 738, 160 L.Ed.2d 621 (2005) and Shepard v. United States, 544 U.S. ___, 125 S.Ct. 1254, ___ L.Ed.2d ___ (2005), do not require the government to charge in an indictment or prove to a jury either the existence of prior convictions or their classification as "violent felonies," and therefore AFFIRM Moore's sentence.

I

While investigating a domestic violence complaint at the home shared by Gary

Page 1222

Moore and his wife, officers discovered six firearms in Moore's bedroom. During a subsequent interview, Moore's wife informed a sheriff's deputy that Moore had recently possessed an AK-47 assault rifle. Through follow-up interviews with Moore's associates, the deputy confirmed that Moore had possessed and sold the assault rifle. The investigation also revealed that Moore had previously been convicted of several felonies, including rape, "injury by conduct regardless of life," and escape.

After pleading guilty to one count of being a previously convicted felon in possession of firearms, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g), Moore received the pre-sentence report ("PSR") that recommended sentencing him as an armed career criminal pursuant to § 924(e). Under § 924(e), any "person who violates section 922(g) ... and has three previous convictions... for a violent felony ... shall be fined under this title and imprisoned not less than fifteen years." The maximum term of imprisonment under § 922(g), without application of § 924(e), is ten years. 18 U.S.C. § 924(a)(2) ("Whoever knowingly violates subsection ... (g) ... of section 922 shall be fined as provided in this title, imprisoned not more than 10 years, or both.").

Moore objected to the PSR, arguing that the determination of whether he had previously committed three violent felonies was a factual issue that, pursuant to Blakely v. Washington, ___ U.S. ___, 124 S.Ct. 2531, 159 L.Ed.2d 403 (2004), had to be charged in the indictment and found by a jury under a "beyond a reasonable doubt" standard. He further asserted that whether his previous felonies constituted "violent felonies" within the meaning of § 924(e) was a fact question that a jury had to decide. The district court rejected Moore's Blakely arguments and overruled his objection to the PSR. Finding that Moore had been convicted of at least three prior violent felonies, the court sentenced him as an armed career criminal to fifteen years imprisonment, the minimum sentence mandated by § 924(e).

II

On appeal, Moore repeats his argument that the three previous felony convictions required under § 924(e), and whether the felonies were "violent" within the meaning of the statute, are facts that must be charged in the indictment and either admitted to by the defendant or proven to a jury under a "beyond a reasonable doubt" standard. He argues that his sentence should be vacated and remanded for re-sentencing on the § 922(g) conviction without application of § 924(e)'s mandatory minimum sentence.1

A

In Almendarez-Torres v. United States, 523 U.S. 224, 118 S.Ct. 1219, 140 L.Ed.2d 350 (1998), the Supreme Court considered whether 8 U.S.C. § 1326(b)(2), which increased the maximum penalty for unlawful reentry upon a finding that the alien had previously been convicted of an aggravated felony, constituted a separate crime that had to be charged in the indictment. Because recidivism "is a traditional, if not the most traditional, basis for a sentencing court's increasing an offender's sentence," id. at 243, 118 S.Ct. 1219, and "as typical a sentencing factor as one might imagine," id. at 230, 118 S.Ct. 1219,

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the Court held that "neither the statute nor the Constitution require the Government to charge ... an earlier conviction in the indictment." Id. at 226-27, 118 S.Ct. 1219. The Court also expressed the importance of shielding a jury from prior-crimes evidence, because "the introduction of evidence of a defendant's prior crimes risks significant prejudice." Id. at 235, 118 S.Ct. 1219.

The following year, in Jones v. United States, 526 U.S. 227, 119 S.Ct. 1215, 143 L.Ed.2d 311 (1999), the Court reaffirmed its holding in Almendarez-Torres, stating that it "stands for the proposition that not every fact expanding a penalty range must be stated in a felony indictment, the precise holding being that recidivism increasing the maximum penalty need not be so charged." Id. at 248, 118 S.Ct. 1219. The Court again confronted a challenge to sentence enhancements one year later in Apprendi v. New Jersey, 530 U.S. 466, 120 S.Ct. 2348, 147 L.Ed.2d 435 (2000). Although the Court held generally that any fact increasing a sentence beyond the statutory maximum must be submitted to a jury, it affirmed the continued validity of Almendarez-Torres as an exception to the rule it announced. Central to the Court's decision to carve out recidivism as an exception to its holding in Apprendi was its conclusion that prior convictions are "entered pursuant to proceedings with substantial procedural safeguards of their own." Id. at 488, 120 S.Ct. 2348. Accordingly, the Court stated its holding as: "Other than the fact of a prior conviction, any fact that increases the penalty for a crime beyond the prescribed statutory maximum must be submitted to a jury, and proved beyond a reasonable doubt." Id. at 490, 120 S.Ct. 2348 (emphasis added).

We have previously reviewed § 924(e) in light of Apprendi. In United States v. Dorris, 236 F.3d 582 (10th Cir.2000), a criminal defendant appealed his sentence under § 924(e) arguing that, under Apprendi, his prior convictions must be charged in an indictment and proven to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt. Dorris argued that the rule announced in Apprendi effectively overruled Almendarez-Torres. We noted that Apprendi carved out an exception for prior convictions and that "use of a prior conviction to increase a defendant's sentence does not implicate the same concerns as other sentencing enhancements because the defendant's previous conviction was accompanied by all the procedural safeguards required in a criminal prosecution." Id. at 587-88. Accordingly, we rejected Dorris's argument and held that the "fact" of prior convictions under § 924(e) need not be charged in an indictment and proven to a jury.

Consequently, the question before us now is whether our holding in Dorris remains good...

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83 practice notes
  • U.S. v. Ezell, No. CRIM.A.02-815.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Pennsylvania)
    • March 3, 2006
    ...States v. Bermudez, 407 F.3d 536, 545 (1st Cir.2005); United States v. Childs, 403 F.3d 970, 972 (8th Cir.2005); United States v. Moore, 401 F.3d 1220, 1222 n. 1 (10th Cir.2005); United States v. Rojas-Coria, 401 F.3d 871, 874 n. 4 (8th Cir.2005); United States v. Shelton, 400 F.3d 1325, 13......
  • U.S. v. Serrano, No. 04-2090.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (10th Circuit)
    • May 3, 2005
    ...is a question of law and not fact, the Sixth Amendment does not require that determination to be made by a jury." United States v. Moore, 401 F.3d 1220, 1225 (10th Cir.2005). "Booker's exception for prior convictions subsumes inquiries into whether a given conviction constitutes a `violent ......
  • State v. Gonzalez, No. 91,469.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Kansas
    • October 27, 2006
    ...law. . . . We believe that any reconsideration of Almendarez-Torres must be conducted by the Supreme Court."); United States v. Moore, 401 F.3d 1220, 1224 (10th Cir.2005) ("Although the Court may overrule Almendarez-Torres at some point in the future, it has not done so, we will not presume......
  • State v. Rudolph, No. 32658-2-II.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Washington
    • October 2, 2007
    ...as the defendant's community custody status. Jones, 159 Wash.2d at 241, 149 P.3d 636 (emphasis added) (quoting United States v. Moore, 401 F.3d 1220, 1225 (10th Cir.2005), and citing United States v. Mattix, 404 F.3d 1037, 1038 (8th Cir.2005)) (per curiam) (courts have long considered prior......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
83 cases
  • U.S. v. Ezell, No. CRIM.A.02-815.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Pennsylvania)
    • March 3, 2006
    ...States v. Bermudez, 407 F.3d 536, 545 (1st Cir.2005); United States v. Childs, 403 F.3d 970, 972 (8th Cir.2005); United States v. Moore, 401 F.3d 1220, 1222 n. 1 (10th Cir.2005); United States v. Rojas-Coria, 401 F.3d 871, 874 n. 4 (8th Cir.2005); United States v. Shelton, 400 F.3d 1325, 13......
  • U.S. v. Serrano, No. 04-2090.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (10th Circuit)
    • May 3, 2005
    ...is a question of law and not fact, the Sixth Amendment does not require that determination to be made by a jury." United States v. Moore, 401 F.3d 1220, 1225 (10th Cir.2005). "Booker's exception for prior convictions subsumes inquiries into whether a given conviction constitutes a `violent ......
  • State v. Gonzalez, No. 91,469.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Kansas
    • October 27, 2006
    ...law. . . . We believe that any reconsideration of Almendarez-Torres must be conducted by the Supreme Court."); United States v. Moore, 401 F.3d 1220, 1224 (10th Cir.2005) ("Although the Court may overrule Almendarez-Torres at some point in the future, it has not done so, we will not presume......
  • State v. Rudolph, No. 32658-2-II.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Washington
    • October 2, 2007
    ...as the defendant's community custody status. Jones, 159 Wash.2d at 241, 149 P.3d 636 (emphasis added) (quoting United States v. Moore, 401 F.3d 1220, 1225 (10th Cir.2005), and citing United States v. Mattix, 404 F.3d 1037, 1038 (8th Cir.2005)) (per curiam) (courts have long considered prior......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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