United States v. Simmons

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Law
  • Date Filed: 04-03-2015
  • Case #: 11-10459
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge Tashima for the Court; Circuit Judges Clifton and Rawlinson

The crime of escape does not inherently include a risk of physical injury to another and is not roughly similar to the offenses enumerating in the United States Sentencing Guidelines for the purpose of determining whether a defendant is a career offender for sentencing purposes.

Jordan Simmons pled guilty to several drug and firearm offenses. The district court determined Simmons was a career offender and increased his sentencing range accordingly. Simmons was sentenced to 204 months of imprisonment. Simmons appealed the sentence, arguing that the district court incorrectly determined that both of his prior convictions were crimes of violence under the United States Sentencing Guidelines (“U.S.S.G.”). U.S.S.G. § 4B1.1 defines a career offender as a defendant who “‘has at least two prior felony convictions of either a crime of violence or a controlled substance offense.’” Simmons’ prior convictions were second degree assault and second degree escape. Simmons did not argue that the assault conviction was a crime of violence, but did argue that the escape conviction did not fit within the U.S.S.G. definition. The panel held that the crime of escape does not inherently include a risk of physical injury to another and is not roughly similar to the offenses enumerating in the U.S.S.G. for the purpose of determining whether a defendant is a career offender for sentencing purposes. Simmons ran away from a police officer, he did not use a weapon, and the escape did not inherently involve harm to another. Therefore, the panel found that the district court improperly found Simmons to be a career offender. VACATED and REMANDED.

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