Argued: October 26, 2017
from the United States District Court for the Eastern
District of North Carolina, at Raleigh. Louise W. Flanagan,
District Judge. (5:16-cr-00106-FL-1)
Jennifer Claire Leisten, OFFICE OF THE FEDERAL PUBLIC
DEFENDER, Raleigh, North Carolina, for Appellant.
Phillip Anthony Rubin, OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY,
Raleigh, North Carolina, for Appellee.
P. McNamara, Federal Public Defender, OFFICE OF THE FEDERAL
PUBLIC DEFENDER, Raleigh, North Carolina, for Appellant.
Stuart Bruce, United States Attorney, Jennifer P. May-Parker,
First Assistant United States Attorney, Seth M. Wood,
Assistant United States Attorney, OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES
ATTORNEY, Raleigh, North Carolina, for Appellee.
NIEMEYER, KING, and FLOYD, Circuit Judges.
by published opinion. Judge Niemeyer wrote the opinion, in
which Judge King and Judge Floyd joined.
NIEMEYER, Circuit Judge.
Geoffrey Gattis pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm by
a felon, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1), the
district court sentenced him to 70 months' imprisonment,
at the low end of the Sentencing Guidelines range that it had
calculated. In calculating that range, the court applied an
enhanced base offense level under U.S.S.G. §
2K2.1(a)(4)(A), based on its conclusion that Gattis had a
previous felony conviction for a crime of violence. And it
increased that level based, among other things, on its
findings that the offense involved 3 to 7 firearms and that
Gattis had possessed a firearm in connection with another
felony offense. On appeal, Gattis challenges these Guidelines
decisions. He argues that his previous North Carolina felony
conviction for common law robbery does not qualify as a
conviction for a "crime of violence" under the
definition in U.S.S.G. § 4B1.2(a) and that the
government's evidence was insufficient to support the
other two enhancements.
affirm, concluding that Gattis's North Carolina common
law robbery conviction categorically qualified as a felony
conviction for a crime of violence, as provided in §
2K2.1(a)(4)(A) and defined in § 4B1.2(a). We also
conclude that the evidence was sufficient to support the
district court's additional enhancements.
January 7, 2016, a resident of Oxford, North Carolina, called
the Granville County Sheriff's Department to report that
his home had been burglarized. Among the items stolen were
six firearms - including a 9-millimeter Glock semiautomatic
handgun, a .22 caliber Marlin semiautomatic long rifle, and
two assault rifles - as well as several fully loaded large
capacity magazines and a Kindle Fire tablet in a purple case.
days later, on January 11, 2016, a woman named Ms. Watson,
who resided just outside Henderson, in Vance County North
Carolina, filed a police report stating that on January 8 she
had heard automatic weapon fire and looked out her door to
see two men whom she knew - Geoffrey Gattis and Orrie
Williams - shooting at a sign at the end of her dead-end
street. According to a federal law enforcement agent, Watson
stated that she was "very familiar" with Gattis
because he stayed with her "on regular occasions"
and that she was "concerned" both about the
shooting as well as the fact that Gattis and Williams
"were using the street as a dump site for household
items and furniture."
next day, on January 12, 2016, officers with the Henderson
Police Department were conducting a driver's license
checkpoint when they observed a blue sedan turn around in an
apparent effort to evade the checkpoint. They stopped the
vehicle - which was driven by Williams and in which Gattis
was a passenger - and after an officer asked both men to step
out of the car, Gattis attempted to flee on foot before
struggling with the officers who apprehended him. After he
was apprehended, the officers recovered a loaded ...