The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals published its opinion in United States v. Cartwright on Wednesday, May 23, 2012.
The Tenth Circuit affirmed the district court’s sentence. Petitioner was convicted of being a felon in possession of ammunition. “The probation office prepared a Presentence Investigation Report (PSR) that classified [Petitioner], based on three prior Oklahoma burglary convictions, as an armed career criminal subject to a 15-year minimum sentence under the ACCA. [Petitioner] objected to that classification, arguing two of the three identified crimes did not qualify as ‘burglary convictions’ within the meaning of § 924 [of the ACCA]. The district court overruled [Petitioner]’s objections to the PSR and sentenced him accordingly. [Petitioner] appealed, asking [the Tenth Circuit] to decide two questions: (1) whether an Oklahoma second-degree burglary conviction based on entry into a building by an instrument capable of completing the intended crime qualifies as a ‘burglary’ under the ACCA and, (2) whether a nolo contendere plea to another Oklahoma second-degree burglary conviction qualifies as a ‘conviction’ under the ACCA.”
The Court found that Petitioner’s illegal entry with a tool or instrument is encompassed by the definition of generic burglary under the ACCA. Additionally, Petitioner’s nolo contendere plea constitutes a predicate offense and the Government has met its burden of showing, by a preponderance of the evidence, that Petitioner’s prior conviction constitutes a “violent felony.” As such, because the Government has shown that Petitioner has three prior violent felony convictions for purposes of the ACCA, the decision of the district court was affirmed.