Thursday, July 09, 2020

Oklahoma Drug Convictions Did Not Qualify as Serious Drug Offenses for ACCA Purposes

US v. Cantu, 2020 WL 3636331, Docket No. 19-6043 (10th Circuit July 6, 2020): On plain error review, the Tenth Circuit reverses Mr. Cantu’s sentencing under the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA), 18 U.S.C. § 924(e)(1). Defendant’s Oklahoma drug convictions did not qualify as serious drug offenses for purposes of the ACCA. His 2010 convictions under Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 63, § 2-40(A)(1) (West 2011) did not qualify because at that time at least three substances covered by the statute were not covered under federal law. The Court rejected the government’s argument that the statute was divisible by drug and therefore the defendant’s convictions (which involved methamphetamine) were therefore serious drug offenses. The Court reviewed Oklahoma case law and concluded it is “impossible to say with certainty that the Oklahoma statute is divisible by individual drug.” Although Oklahoma divided drugs into three different categories, the drug involved in Defendant’s state prosecutions was in the same category as three Oklahoma controlled substances that were not controlled substances under federal law.