United States v. Jennings, No. 16-2861 (7th Cir. 2017)Annotate this Case
An individual attempted to purchase prescription drugs from Jennings in Hudson, Wisconsin. Jennings put a gun to his head; Jennings’ girlfriend stole the purchaser’s money from his truck. After the victim reported the robbery, police stopped Jennings’ car. Nearby, police found a loaded semi-automatic handgun that Jennings’ girlfriend had thrown from his vehicle shortly before he was stopped. Jennings pleaded guilty to possessing a firearm following a felony conviction, 18 U.S.C. 922(g)(1). Jennings’ criminal history included a Minnesota conviction for simple robbery and two Minnesota convictions for felony domestic assault. The pre-sentence report treated those convictions as crimes of violence under the Armed Career Criminal Act, 18 U.S.C. 924(e), and U.S.S.G. 4B1.4. Jennings argued that the offenses did not categorically involve the use or threatened use of violent physical force and did not qualify as violent felonies. The district court rejected the argument and stated that Jennings’ two convictions for making terroristic threats also constituted convictions for a violent crime. The district court elected to impose a below-Guidelines sentence of 180 months, the lowest sentence that the ACCA permitted him to impose. The Seventh Circuit, employing the categorical approach, affirmed the categorization of the prior convictions as crimes of violence.