United States v. Hammons

This case presented the question whether Oklahoma’s drive-by shooting statute, Okla. Stat. tit. 21, sec. 652(B), qualified as a violent felony under the federal Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA). In 2004, defendant-appellant Britt Hammons pleaded guilty in federal court to possessing a firearm as a felon. His criminal history included three prior convictions under Oklahoma’s drive-by shooting statute. At the time of sentencing, Hammons qualified for the ACCA’s fifteen-year mandatory minimum sentence because his prior convictions would have met the definition of “violent felony” under the ACCA’s residual clause. The district court thus imposed the ACCA enhancement, but the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the residual clause in Johnson v. United States, 135 S. Ct. 2551 (2015). Because the residual clause could not be relied upon for the enhancement, Hammons sought to vacate his sentence under 28 U.S.C. sec. 2255. On collateral review, the district court concluded that Hammons nevertheless qualified for the enhancement because his state-law convictions were violent felonies under the elements clause of the ACCA. The Tenth Circuit agreed, finding that a conviction under Oklahoma’s drive-by shooting statute categorically qualified as a violent felony under the elements clause of the ACCA. View "United States v. Hammons" on Justia Law