United States v. Bennett, No. 16-2039 (1st Cir. 2017)Annotate this Case
Petitioner was convicted of, among other federal crimes, violating 18 U.S.C. 922(g), which prohibits certain persons from possessing or transporting firearms if that defendant has at least three prior convictions for an offense that falls within the Armed Career Criminal Act’s (ACCA) definition of a “violent felony.” The sentencing judge applied ACCA’s mandatory minimum fifteen-year sentence to Petitioner’s section 922(g) conviction. Petitioner filed this federal habeas petition, challenging his overall prison sentence of thirty years. Specifically, Petitioner argued that he did not have three prior convictions for an offense that qualifies as a “violent felony” within the meaning of ACCA. The district court granted Petitioner’s habeas petition. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that Petitioner’s two prior Maine convictions for aggravated assault did not qualify as violent felonies under ACCA insofar as aggravated assault in Maine may be committed with a mens rea of mere recklessness as opposed to purpose or knowledge.