The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issued its opinion in United States v. Koufos on Thursday, November 17, 2011.
The Tenth Circuit affirmed the district court’s sentence. Following a determination that Petitioner’s 1990 conviction for a 1986 escape from custody was a crime of violence, the district court sentenced him to a total term of 76 months’ imprisonment for four offenses: felon in possession of a firearm, felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition, and two charges of bank fraud. Petitioner contends on appeal that the district court erred in classifying his escape from custody conviction as a crime of violence; the classification allowed for a sentence enhancement, which Petitioner claims is a procedurally unreasonable sentence.
The Court disagreed and found that Petitioner’s escape was significantly dangerous behavior for sentencing purposes and “could easily have ended in a confrontation leading to violence. Indeed, the escape was a direct challenge to those federal officers charged with his custody while awaiting arraignment. . . . [An] escape from federal a courthouse after arrest is a purposeful, provocative and dangerous act that dares, and in a typical case requires, law enforcement officers to seek him out or give chase, potentially ending in a violent confrontation. Such a situation makes the escaping offender ‘significantly more likely than others to attack, or physically to resist, an apprehender.’” And, because the district court committed no significant procedural error, the sentence was not unreasonable and was affirmed.