Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Tenth rejects Brady claim; creates circuit split on firearm guidelines definition

U.S. v. Hoyle, 2014 WL 1887613 (5/13/14) (Kan.) (Published) - There was no Brady violation with respect to two officer disciplinary letters and a prior conviction. One letter did not relate to the officer's honesty. Mr. Hoyle did not put the contents of the other letter in the record. And Mr. Hoyle didn't show the government intentionally kept itself ignorant of the conviction. Contrary to the 9th Circuit's holding on the issue, the 10th holds the firearm guidelines don't have to define prior convictions the same way as § 921(a)(20) does. So, even though Mr. Hoyle's prior convictions were expunged and all his civil rights restored with respect to those convictions so that they didn't count for § 922 or ACCA purposes, the guidelines could count them. The different definitions of "felony convictions" served different purposes. Congress's definition did not control the Guidelines'. It was okay for the court to believe a witness whose testimony established Mr. Hoyle committed the felony of criminal threat with the firearm, justifying an enhancement for using the gun in a felony.