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United States v. Roman

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

March 7, 2019

United States of America Plaintiff- Appellee
v.
Carlos Roman Defendant-Appellant

          Submitted: September 28, 2018

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

          Before SMITH, Chief Judge, MELLOY and STRAS, Circuit Judges.

          SMITH, Chief Judge.

         Carlos Roman challenges his Sentencing Guidelines classification as a career offender. See U.S.S.G. § 4B1.1. Specifically, Roman argues that his conviction for aggravated battery on a public way in Illinois is not a crime of violence. See id. § 4B1.2(a). We disagree and affirm.

         I. Background

         Roman pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. Roman's presentence investigation report (PSR) classified him as a career offender.[1] At sentencing, Roman opposed the career offender classification, arguing that his 2012 Illinois conviction for aggravated battery on a public way[2] is not a crime of violence. The district court[3] disagreed, accepted the PSR's recommendation, and sentenced Roman as a career offender. The court ultimately imposed a sentence of 220 months' imprisonment.

         II. Discussion

         On appeal, Roman asks this court to reverse the imposition of the career offender enhancement. He argues that his Illinois conviction for aggravated battery on a public way is not a crime of violence. "We review de novo the district court's determination that a conviction constitutes a crime of violence." United States v. Williams, 899 F.3d 659, 662 (8th Cir. 2018).

         The Guidelines state that "[a] defendant is a career offender" subject to an offense level enhancement

if (1) the defendant was at least eighteen years old at the time the defendant committed the instant offense of conviction; (2) the instant offense of conviction is a felony that is either a crime of violence or a controlled substance offense; and (3) the defendant has at least two prior felony convictions of either a crime of violence or a controlled substance offense.

         U.S.S.G. § 4B1.1(a).

         A "crime of violence" under the Guidelines' force clause is "any offense under federal or state law punishable by imprisonment for more than one year that 'has as an element the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against the person of another.'"[4] United States v. Harris, 907 F.3d 1095, 1095 (8th Cir. 2018) (per curiam) (quoting U.S.S.G. § 4B1.2(a)(1)). Roman avers that his 2012 conviction in Illinois for aggravated battery on a public way is not a crime of violence because physical or bodily injury can be caused "without using violent force" under the statute. Appellant's Br. at 16.

         To determine whether Roman's Illinois conviction for aggravated battery on a public way "has as an element the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force," U.S.S.G. § 4B1.2(a)(1), we apply "the categorical approach." United Statesv. Schneider, 905 F.3d 1088, 1090 (8th Cir. 2018) (quoting Mathis v. United States, 136 S.Ct. 2243, 2248 (2016)). The categorical approach "analyze[s] the legal definition of [Roman's] crime, not his actual acts." Id.; see also Moncrieffe v. Holder, 569 U.S. 184, 190 (2013) ("Under this approach we look 'not to the facts of the particular prior case,' but instead to whether 'the state statute defining the crime of conviction' categorically fits within the 'generic' federal definition of a corresponding aggravated felony." (quoting Gonzales v. Duenas-Alvarez, 549 U.S. 183, 186 (2007)). "[W]hen the statute creates a single crime by listing a single set of elements," "[w]e examine those elements and ask whether only conduct involving physical force can ...


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