Monday, November 25, 2013

Sentencing Enhancements Affirmed in Felon-in-possession Case

US v. Basnette, No. 12-7074 (ED Okla), 11/21/13 (Published) - Defendant was convicted of felon in possession of firearms, and raised several challenges to his sentence. None worked. Held: (1) enhancement for possessing at least eight guns was proper, where cops found a total of fourteen in his house; (2) no reduction in offense level for possessing antique firearms. Defendant had the burden of proof on this issue, since it constituted an affirmative defense, and he failed to show that any of them, much less all of them, were antiques; (3) same result for claim that guns were possessed for hunting or collecting, for the same reason; (4) enhancement for possessing guns in connection with another felony offense, transportation of stolen property, where defendant had sixty items of stolen property in his house, was proper. The district court properly relied on hearsay to establish that items were stolen, defendant was member of theft ring involving hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of stolen property, and some of the guns were kept out in the open, so it was proper to infer that he had the guns to protect his stash of stolen property; and (5) sentence at the bottom of the guidelines range was substantively reasonable.