United States v. Hayes, No. 16-3752 (7th Cir. 2017)Annotate this Case
Hayes pleaded guilty as a felon in possession of a firearm, 18 U.S.C. 922(g)(1). The indictment specifically charged him with possessing a model AK‐47 rifle. The plea agreement stated that the serial number on the AK‐47 “had been covered by a paint-like substance that prevented the serial number from being visible.” It was the government’s position that Hayes’ offense level should increase by four, pursuant to U.S.S.G. 2K2.1(b)(4)(B), because the serial number was “altered or obliterated.” Hayes conceded that the serial number was covered in a paint‐like substance, but argued that because the serial number was not “physically altered,” the enhancement should not apply. Hayes noted that the Forensic Science Laboratory of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives applied a “chemical solvent and light polishing” to the gun, which ultimately revealed the serial number. The court rejected his argument, calculated a Guidelines range of 84-105 months’ imprisonment, addressed the factors to be considered under 18 U.S.C. 3553(a), and imposed a sentence of 94 months’ imprisonment. The Seventh Circuit affirmed the application of the section 2K2.1(b)(4)(B) enhancement but remanded for recalculation of Hayes’s criminal history points.