Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals - Published Opinions

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Longoria: Substantive and Conspiracy Drug Distribution Convictions Can Occur on Separate Occasions for ACCA Purposes

In United States v. Longoria, No. 16-17645 (Nov. 1, 2017) (Tjoflat, Marcus, Jordan) (per curiam), the Court upheld the defendant's ACCA sentence.

The Court found that the defendant's serious drug convictions occurred on separate occasions.  To reach that conclusion, the Court held that a drug distribution offense may occur on a separate occasion from an overlapping conspiracy to distribute that drug.  In that case, the Court relied on Shepard documents to find that the substantive and conspiracy convictions were clearly defined and occurred on separate occasions.

The defendant's remaining arguments were foreclosed by binding precedent.  Specifically, the defendant argued that the dates of his prior convictions were non-elemental facts that could not be considered under Shepard, but that argument was foreclosed by Weeks.  Second, and relatedly, the Court held that there was no Fifth or Sixth Amendment violation by determining that the convictions occurred on separate occasions.  Third, and finally, the binding precedent foreclosed any argument that his 922(g) conviction was unconstitutional under the Commerce Clause.