United States v. Eason, No. 18-5387 (6th Cir. 2019)Annotate this Case
Eason pleaded guilty as a felon in possession of a firearm. The statutory range for such a violation is zero to 10 years’ imprisonment but under the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA), 18 U.S.C. 924(e)(1), a defendant convicted under 18 U.S.C. 922(g) who has three prior convictions for violent felonies or serious drug offenses is subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of 180 months. Eason had five prior felony convictions for the promotion of methamphetamine manufacture. Eason argued that an ACCA “serious drug offense” is defined as “an offense under State law, involving manufacturing, distributing, or possessing with intent to manufacture or distribute, a controlled substance,” and that, under the Tennessee statute, his prior offenses could have been based on no more than the purchase of an ingredient that can be used to produce methamphetamine with reckless disregard of its intended use. The district court agreed with Eason. Without the ACCA enhancement, Eason was sentenced to 46 months’ imprisonment, the top of the guideline range. The Sixth Circuit reversed. Purchasing ingredients needed to make methamphetamine, and consciously disregarding an unjustifiable risk regarding how those products will be used, “indirectly,” if not “directly,” connects with methamphetamine’s “production, preparation, propagation, compounding or processing” and is a serious drug offense under ACCA.