Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals - Published Opinions

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Smith: Mere Possession = In Connection

In U.S. v. Smith, No. 06-14077 (March 19, 2007), the Court affirmed the 294-month sentence of a defendant convicted of possession of ammunition by a convicted felon.
Smith, a convicted felon, was stopped in an automobile and seen attempting to conceal a firearm and cocaine. He fled on foot. When arrested, one .38 caliber bullet was found in his pocket, another on the ground where he had thrown it. The sentencing court imposed a sentence enhancement based on the guideline provision which calls for enhancements when ammunition is possessed "in connection with" a drug felony or another felony offense. Smith challenged the enhancement on the ground that the ammunition was not possessed "in connection with" another felony. The Court rejected this argument, concluding that "mere possession" of the ammunition sufficed to make it "in connection with" another felony.
The Court also rejected the argument that the sentencing court erroneously treated the Guidelines as mandatory, noting the Court’s reference to the "advisory range."