Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals - Published Opinions

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Gandy: Affirming ACCA sentence

In U.S. v. Gandy, No 11-15407 (Feb. 27 , 2013), the Court rejected a challenge to the determination that a defendant’s three prior convictions qualified as “violent felonies” for purposes of the mandatory 15-year sentence under the Armed Career Criminal Act (“ACCA”).

The Court rejected the argument that the information and certified judgment of conviction for one Florida prior offense cited only a sentence enhancement provision statute number, not the number of the substantive provision governing “aggravated assault.” The Court noted that the information quoted the text of the aggravated assault statute, and this sufficed.

Citing recent precedent, the Court rejected the argument that simple vehicle flight did not qualify as a “violent felony.” The Court also rejected the argument that the “residual clause” of ACCA is unconstitutionally vague.

The Court also rejected the argument that the sentence was invalid because Gandy was incorrectly advised at his plea hearing that the statutory maximum was 10 years, when in fact he was subject to a 15-year mandatory minimum. The Court noted that at sentencing the district court gave Gandy an opportunity to withdraw his plea, and he declined to do so.