United States v. Jones, 102518 FED11, 17-12240

Docket Nº:17-12240
Opinion Judge:MARCUS, CIRCUIT JUDGE.
Party Name:UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff - Appellee, v. LONNIE ANTHONY JONES, Defendant-Appellant.
Judge Panel:Before TJOFLAT, MARCUS and NEWSOM, Circuit Judges.
Case Date:October 25, 2018
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
 
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UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff - Appellee,

v.

LONNIE ANTHONY JONES, Defendant-Appellant.

No. 17-12240

United States Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit

October 25, 2018

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida D.C. Docket No. 2:16-cr-00055-JES-MRM-1

Before TJOFLAT, MARCUS and NEWSOM, Circuit Judges.

MARCUS, CIRCUIT JUDGE.

At issue today is whether second-degree murder in Florida is a "violent felony" within the meaning of the elements clause of the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA). 18 U.S.C. § 924(e)(2)(B)(i). Lonnie Jones argues that his prior conviction for second-degree murder does not qualify as a "violent felony" for purposes of the ACCA. We hold that it does and affirm his conviction under the ACCA.

I.

Jones was arrested after a search of his residence turned up seven unlawfully possessed firearms and a variety of illegal controlled substances. He was charged in five counts for possessing cocaine base with intent to distribute, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(C); in one count for possessing marijuana, cocaine, cocaine base, and oxycodone, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(C) and (D); and, finally, in one count for possessing firearms and ammunition after having been convicted of a felony, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1) and 924(e)(1).

Jones pled guilty to one federal drug count and the one federal weapons count -- being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm or ammunition. For the gun count, he was subject to a 15-year mandatory minimum sentence under the ACCA because he had three prior qualifying convictions. The three prior convictions qualifying Jones as an armed career criminal were: (1) a 1988 Florida robbery with a firearm; (2) a 1992 Florida second-degree murder conviction with a firearm; and (3) a 1994 Florida conviction for resisting an officer with violence.

At his sentencing, Jones objected to the classification of his Florida second-degree murder conviction as a "violent felony" for purposes of the ACCA. He did not challenge the felony convictions for resisting an officer with violence and robbery with a firearm. He argued, however, that Florida's second-degree murder charge was not a violent felony for purposes of the ACCA because the statute does not require the use of physical force. As an example of a second-degree murder conviction that could be overbroad for purposes of the categorical approach, he posited murder by providing a lethal amount of cocaine or surreptitious poisoning, although that was not...

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