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United States v. Mathis

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

May 12, 2015

United States of America, Plaintiff - Appellee
v.
Richard Mathis, Defendant - Appellant

Submitted: December 9, 2014.

Appeal from United States District Court for the Southern District of Iowa - Davenport.

For United States of America, Plaintiff - Appellee: Andrew H. Kahl, Assistant U.S. Attorney, Marc Krickbaum, Assistant U.S. Attorney, Maureen McGuire, Assistant U.S. Attorney, U.S. Attorney's Office, Des Moines, IA; John D. Keller.

Richard Mathis, Defendant - Appellant, Pro se, Oxford, WI.

For Richard Mathis, Defendant - Appellant: John P. Messina, Assistant Federal Public Defender, Federal Public Defender's Office, Des Moines, IA.

Before LOKEN, BYE, and SMITH, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Page 1069

SMITH, Circuit Judge.

Richard Mathis was convicted for being a felon in possession of a firearm and received an enhanced sentence under the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA), which applies to felons guilty of possession of a firearm who have three prior violent felony convictions. The district

Page 1070

court[1] also imposed special conditions of supervised release usually reserved for convicted sex offenders. Mathis appeals his sentence and the special conditions of supervised release. We affirm.

I. Background

On February 15, 2013, a 15-year-old boy named K.G. went missing. While missing, the boy stayed at Mathis's house. K.G. alleged that, during this time, Mathis forcibly molested him. On February 25, 2013, police officers tracked K.G.'s cell phone to Mathis's house. Mathis's girlfriend, who also stayed at the house, answered the door and told officers that Mathis was not home and that she did not know K.G.'s whereabouts. She later admitted that she lied to the officers; in fact, Mathis, K.G., and two other young males were present in the house. Later that night, Mathis took K.G. to his grandmother's house. On March 3, 2013, K.G. disclosed Mathis's alleged sexual abuse to officers.

The officers obtained several warrants to search Mathis's residence. On March 8, 2013, they executed the warrants and found a loaded rifle and ammunition. The officers also found a cell phone with nearly 6,000 text messages on it. Many of the messages were between Mathis and young males whom he had met on Meetme.com, the same social networking site through which K.G. had met Mathis. Several of the text messages were sexually explicit. These text messages showed that Mathis had traveled far to bring some of the young males whom he met on Meetme.com back to his residence. Additionally, a memory card was recovered during the search, which contained a picture of a nude underage male. Investigators also questioned Mathis's girlfriend. She admitted that she lied to officers on their February 25th visit. Mathis's girlfriend also stated that she believed that Mathis was having sexual intercourse with the boys whom he routinely brought to his house. One of the other victims, an 18-year-old male, told the officers that Mathis asked him about masturbation, asked him about the size of his genitals, and made several sexually explicit comments.

Police arrested Mathis on March 8, 2013, at his place of employment. While in custody, Mathis admitted that he owned the rifle and ammunition. Mathis also freely admitted that the officers might find child pornography on his computer and that he had visited websites to view and visit with young-looking homosexual males.

Mathis was indicted for one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1), to which he pleaded guilty on January 21, 2014, in accordance with a plea agreement.

At Mathis's sentencing hearing, the court first considered whether the ACCA (18 U.S.C. § 924(e)) applied to Mathis. If Mathis possessed three prior convictions for " violent felonies," the ACCA would impose a 15-year mandatory minimum sentence. Id. After extensive oral argument and consideration of the Supreme Court's and this court's precedent, the district court ultimately found that Mathis's five burglary convictions in Iowa were violent felonies and justified sentencing under the ACCA. The court found that the Iowa burglary statutes in question, Iowa Code § § ...


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