Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Sixth Circuit Holds that Solicitation to Commit Aggravated Assault Qualifies as Violent Felony for Armed Career Criminal Act
Today the Sixth Circuit holds that the Tennessee state offense of solicitation to commit aggravated assault “involves conduct that presents a serious potential risk of physical injury to another,” and “involves the same kind of purposeful, violent and aggressive conduct as the enumerated offenses.” Therefore, the Court finds it qualifies as a “violent felony" under the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA).
In this case out of the Western District of Tennessee, Derek Benton appeals his conviction and sentence for being a felon in possession of a firearm; and, specifically the enhancement he received as a result of his prior conviction in state court for solicitation to commit aggravated assault.
The ACCA sets a fifteen year minimum sentence for any person convicted of being a felon in possession of a firearm if that person also has three or more prior convictions for a violent felony.
Whether solicitation to commit aggravated assault constitutes a “violent felony” under the ACCA is a question of first impression in the Sixth Circuit in this case. Because the crime involves conduct that presents a serious potential risk of physical injury it qualifies just as if it were an actual aggravated assault. Benton's sentence of 180 months was affirmed.