United States v. Nasir

An en banc panel of the Third Circuit vacated the defendant’s sentence, holding that the District Court erred when it applied a career offender enhancement. After the District Court denied the defendant’s motion to suppress, a jury found him guilty of drugs and guns charges. The District Court sentenced the defendant to 210 months of imprisonment, ruling that he qualified as a career offender under the guidelines because of two earlier convictions–one for attempting to possess cocaine with intent to distribute and one for possession of cocaine as well as marijuana. The defendant appealed, and the Third Circuit affirmed the convictions but vacated the sentence. First, the Third Circuit held that: a.) the evidence was sufficient to convict him under the crack house statute; b.) a police officer lawfully searched the defendant’s truck because the search was incident to his arrest; and c.) the District Court did not manifestly err when it denied the defendant’s motion to strike a juror for cause. The Third Circuit then held that the District Court misapplied the career offender sentencing enhancement because one of the defendant’s two prior qualifying convictions was for an inchoate drug offense, which does not qualify as a predicate offense under the guidelines.

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