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Case Number: Robert L. Hinkle
Court: United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida
Plaintiff's Attorney: United States District Attorney's Office
Description: Tallahassee, Florida criminal defense lawyer represented Defendant charge with felony possession of a firearm.
After he pleaded guilty to several counts, including two violations of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g), the district court sentenced Keith Penn fo the mandatory minimum sentence under the Armed Career Criminal Act. In doing so, the court concluded that Penn’s two prior convictions for selling cocaine in violation of Florida Statutes § 893.13(1)(a) were “serious drug offense[s]” that Penn “committed on occasions different from one another.” 18 U.S.C. § 924(e). Penn
appeals both determinations.
Penn appealed contending that his sale-of-cocaine offenses were not serious drug offenses under ACCA for two reasons. First, he argues a serious drug offense is an offense that requires proof that the defendant knew of the illicit nature of the controlled substance, which Section 893.13(1)(a) does not require. Second, he asserts that his sale-of-cocaine offenses are not serious drug offenses because Section 893.13(1)(a) proscribes attempting to transfer a controlled substance, which he says is not “distributing” a controlled substance and therefore the offense is not a serious drug offense under ACCA. He also contends that his sale-of-cocaine offenses, which involved the sale of similar amounts of cocaine to a confidential informant at the same location thirty days apart, did not occur on “occasions different from one another” and cannot both count toward an enhanced sentence under ACCA
Outcome: Defendant's conviction on appeal was affirmed.