United States v. Burnett, No. 21-1945 (7th Cir. 2022)Annotate this Case
After passengers in a car shot two people, the police approached a car matching the description given by witnesses. The car sped away but crashed into another car. Three men, including Burnett, got out and ran. At least one passenger carried a gun. Police pursued two of the men and caught Burnett; they found two different brands of ammunition in his pockets, matching that found in two loaded guns tossed during the foot chase. Police later determined that the gun in the alley where police arrested Burnett and the gun from the backseat of the car were fired during the shooting. Burnett pleaded guilty under 18 U.S.C. 922(g)(1). The court applied a two-level enhancement under U.S.S.G. 2K2.1(b)(1)(A), reasoning that, even if Burnett did not personally possess the three guns, all three were attributable to him as relevant conduct because they were used as part of joint criminal activity and Burnett had aided and abetted the others in possessing them.
The Seventh Circuit affirmed Burnett’s 110-month sentence. The district court could permissibly infer that, even if not fired, the gun was still involved in the broader events around the shooting. The district court could reasonably infer that Burnett intended to aid his associates based on his continued participation in the crime during and after the shooting.