United States v. Matthews, No. 09-2258 (1st Cir. 2011)Annotate this Case
The defendant was convicted as a felon in possession of a firearm. The district court applied an armed career criminal (ACCA) enhancement based on three prior convictions, including a conviction as a juvenile, to arrive at a minimum sentence of 15 years. The prosecution used a police report to establish that the juvenile offense involved use of a knife. The First Circuit affirmed. In a subsequent habeas corpus proceeding, the district court held a hearing, considered evidence other than the police report, and again applied the ACCA enhancement. The First Circuit affirmed, applying the "law of the case" doctrine. At the time of his first appeal, the defendant had access to Supreme Court precedent concerning the method through which a predicate conviction can be proved under the ACCA and forbidding use of a police report for that purpose. There is no reason to doubt that the defendant actually used the knife and there has been no intervening change in law.