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United States v. Coleman

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

March 18, 2019

United States of America Plaintiff - Appellee
v.
Cornelius Coleman, also known as Cornbread Defendant-Appellant

          Submitted: January 17, 2019

          Appeal from United States District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas - Little Rock

          Before BENTON, MELLOY, and KELLY, Circuit Judges.

          KELLY, CIRCUIT JUDGE.

         Cornelius Coleman pleaded guilty to one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1). The district court sentenced Coleman under the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA), 18 U.S.C. § 924(e), to 15 years of imprisonment, the statutory minimum sentence. Coleman appeals, challenging the ACCA enhancement. Because Coleman did not object to the enhancement at sentencing, we review for plain error, affirming his sentence unless he can show (1) an error; (2) that is plain; (3) that affects his substantial rights; and (4) that seriously affects "the fairness, integrity, or public reputation of judicial proceedings." United States v. Boman, 873 F.3d 1035, 1040 (8th Cir. 2017) (quoting United States v. Olano, 507 U.S. 725, 732 (1993)).

         To enhance a defendant's sentence under the ACCA, the court must identify three predicate convictions, either violent felonies or serious drug offenses, in the defendant's criminal history. Here, the district court applied the ACCA based on Coleman's 2006 Arkansas conviction for kidnapping and two prior convictions for serious drug offenses. On appeal, Coleman challenges the use of the kidnapping conviction as a predicate. Kidnapping is not an enumerated offense under the ACCA, so it may qualify as a violent felony only if it satisfies the ACCA's force clause, that is, if it "has as an element the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against the person of another." § 924(e)(2)(B)(i). To determine whether a prior conviction meets this definition, "courts look to the elements of the crime of conviction, not the underlying facts." Boman, 873 F.3d at 1040 (citing Mathis v. United States, 136 S.Ct. 2243, 2248 (2016)).

         Arkansas Code § 5-11-102, the statute that criminalizes kidnapping, provides:

(a) A person commits the offense of kidnapping if, without consent, the person restrains another person so as to interfere substantially with the other person's liberty with the purpose of:
(1) Holding the other person for:
(A) Ransom or reward; or
(B) Any other act to be performed or not performed for the other person's return or release;
(2) Using the other person as a shield or hostage;
(3) Facilitating the commission of any felony or flight after ...

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