United States v. Kerr, No. 12-4775 (4th Cir. 2013)Annotate this Case
Defendant was convicted of possession of a firearm after being previously convicted of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 922(g)(1). Defendant was sentenced to 268 months' imprisonment after the district court concluded that defendant qualified as an armed career criminal under the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA), 18 U.S.C. 924(e). Because the maximum possible prison sentence that defendant faced for his prior state convictions exceeded on year, and because that potential punishment was far from hypothetical, the court held that defendant's prior state convictions qualified as predicate felonies for sentencing under the ACCA. Therefore, the district court did not err in sentencing defendant as an armed career criminal. The court also concluded that the district court did not err in denying defendant's motion to vacate his conviction and dismiss the indictment where defendant had the requisite predicate felony for his section 922(g)(1) conviction. Finally, the court concluded that defendant's contention that his prior appellate counsel was ineffective by failing to challenge his conviction on the basis that he lacked a predicate felony was moot. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court.