Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals - Published Opinions

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Jordan: No selective prosecution where defendant did not rely on evidence regarding similarly-situated defendants

In U.S. v. Jordan, No. 10-11534 (March 16, 2011), the Court affirmed a felon in possession of a firearm conviction.

The Court rejected Jordan’s Fourth Amendment challenge to his seizure. The Court noted that Jordan’s encounter with police occurred in an “area known for crime.” Jordan suspiciously became defensive when confronted about walking in the middle of the street, belligerently yelling that he had done nothing wrong. One police officer saw a gun-shaped bulge in Jordan’s pocket. Jordan fled, and was then chased and seized. His seizure in these circumstances did not violate the Fourth Amendment.

The Court rejected Jordan’s argument that his prosecution as an armed career criminal was “selective” and therefore unconstitutional. Jordan pointed out that African-Americans account for approximately 93% of ACCA prosecutions in the Northern District of Georgia, even though they account for significantly less than this number in the population of convicted felons who carry firearms. The Court noted that Jordan did not include the criminal histories of the other defendants, and therefore failed to establish how “similarly-situated” defendants were affected.

Finally, citing binding precedent, the Court rejected Jordan’s claim that 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1) exceeded Congress’ power under the Commerce Clause.