United States v. Hobbs, 032020 FED6, 19-3343

Docket Nº:19-3343
Opinion Judge:LARSEN, CIRCUIT JUDGE.
Party Name:United States of America, Plaintiff-Appellee v. Isaac L. Hobbs, Defendant-Appellant
Attorney:Michael D. Meuti, Kristen-Elise F. DePizzo, BENESCH, FRIEDLANDER, COPLAN & ARONOFF LLP, Cleveland, Ohio, for Appellant. Brian M. McDonough, UNITED STATES ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, Cleveland, Ohio, for Appellee.
Judge Panel:Before: STRANCH, BUSH, and LARSEN, Circuit Judges.
Case Date:March 20, 2020
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
 
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United States of America, Plaintiff-Appellee

v.

Isaac L. Hobbs, Defendant-Appellant

No. 19-3343

United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit

March 20, 2020

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio at Cleveland. No. 1:17-cr-00280-1-Benita Y. Pearson, District Judge.

ON BRIEF:

Michael D. Meuti, Kristen-Elise F. DePizzo, BENESCH, FRIEDLANDER, COPLAN & ARONOFF LLP, Cleveland, Ohio, for Appellant.

Brian M. McDonough, UNITED STATES ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, Cleveland, Ohio, for Appellee.

Before: STRANCH, BUSH, and LARSEN, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

LARSEN, CIRCUIT JUDGE.

Isaac Hobbs pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1). The district court accepted his plea and, finding Hobbs to be an armed career criminal, sentenced Hobbs to fifteen years' imprisonment. See 18 U.S.C. § 924(e). Hobbs appealed. While his appeal was pending, the Supreme Court decided Rehaif v. United States, which held that, to obtain a conviction under § 922(g), the government must prove that the defendant "knew he belonged to the relevant category of persons barred from possessing a firearm." 139 S.Ct. 2191, 2200 (2019). Here, that would require proof that Hobbs knew he was a felon. Hobbs now challenges the district court's jurisdiction and the validity of his plea, basing these claims on Rehaif. Because Rehaif does not support Hobbs's challenges, we AFFIRM.

I.

Hobbs pleaded guilty on an indictment charging him with violating 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1), which forbids felons to possess firearms. The indictment reads, in relevant part: "[Hobbs], having been previously convicted of crimes punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year, . . . did knowingly possess in and affecting interstate commerce a firearm." The indictment listed three predicate felonies: Assault on a Peace Officer, Attempted Felonious Assault, and Aggravated Robbery with Firearm Specification. Hobbs had served a six-year sentence for the aggravated-robbery conviction.

Hobbs pleaded guilty to the indictment's charge pursuant to a written plea agreement. Based on Hobbs's prior convictions, the district court determined that Hobbs was an armed career criminal under § 924(e) and sentenced him to the statutory minimum, fifteen years' imprisonment. Hobbs filed a timely notice of appeal.

After Hobbs filed his appeal, the Supreme Court decided Rehaif, which held that to obtain a conviction under § 922(g), "the Government must prove both that the defendant knew he possessed a firearm and that he knew he belonged to the relevant category of persons barred from possessing a firearm." 139 S.Ct. at 2200. This court only recently recognized the latter mens rea requirement, however, see United States v. Conley, F. App'x, 2020 WL 571324, at *2 (6th Cir. Feb. 5, 2020), so Hobbs's...

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