FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF
MASSACHUSETTS [Hon. Richard G. Stearns, U.S. District Judge]
L. Sultan, with whom Kerry A. Haberlin and Rankin &
Sultan were on brief, for appellant.
T. Quinlivan, Assistant United States Attorney, with whom
William D. Weinreb, Acting United States Attorney, was on
brief, for appellee.
Torruella, Lipez, and Thompson, Circuit Judges.
THOMPSON, CIRCUIT JUDGE.
before us a case of déjà vu: an all too
familiar argument that we have rejected in at least three
prior decisions. Not to beat a dead horse, but today,
adhering to our precedent, we necessarily reject the argument
López pled guilty to being a felon in possession of a
firearm and possession with intent to distribute heroin. The
Probation Office for the District of Massachusetts (the
"Probation Office") determined that López
was subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of fifteen years
imprisonment under the Armed Career Criminal Act
("ACCA") because he had previously been convicted
of at least three qualifying ACCA predicate offenses. Before
us, López challenges the sufficiency of his prior
convictions to serve as ACCA predicates, alleging that
direction from the Supreme Court requires us to revisit
existing First Circuit precedent. We find no intervening law
that alters the validity of our prior decisions concerning
ACCA predicate offenses and thus affirm his sentence.
Getting Our Factual Bearings
won't dwell on the circumstances leading to
López's most recent arrest and convictions because
they are undisputed. López's objections focus
instead on five prior Massachusetts convictions identified by
the Probation Office that qualify as "serious drug
offense[s]" or "violent feloni[es]" as defined
by ACCA. Our recitation of the facts therefore follows
López's lead and only briefly addresses the
circumstances leading to his most recent convictions. We then
shift gears, focusing primarily on the Probation Office's
presentence report ("PSR") and the district
court's subsequent sentencing determination.
López's Most Recent Criminal Convictions
Bedford, Massachusetts police department executed a search
warrant on López's girlfriend's residence on
December 31, 2014, following an investigation indicating that
López was selling heroin at the house. Although
López initially denied the presence of anything
illegal, he eventually told the officers he was hiding heroin
and a pistol. Officers found three individually packaged bags
of heroin and several Percocet pills in López's
jeans pocket, in addition to four grams of heroin elsewhere
in the house. Police also recovered a loaded Glock 9mm with
sixteen rounds of ammunition in the magazine. The pistol was
traced by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and
Explosives and was determined to have been reported stolen in
North Carolina three months earlier.
March 17, 2016, a federal grand jury in the District of
Massachusetts returned an indictment charging López
with being a felon in possession of a firearm in violation of
18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1) and possession with intent to
distribute heroin in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1).
López pled guilty to both charges.
Presentence Report and Sentencing
López's guilty plea, the Probation Office prepared
a PSR. The PSR concluded that López was subject to a
sentencing enhancement under 18 U.S.C. § 924(e), known
colloquially as ACCA, because he had at least three prior
convictions for "serious drug offense[s]" or
"violent felon[ies]." 18 U.S.C. §§
924(e)(2)(A), (B). In fact, the PSR identified five
Massachusetts convictions that qualified as predicate
offenses under ACCA: (1) a 2007 conviction for distribution
of a class B drug prosecuted in the New Bedford District
Court; (2) a May 2009 conviction for assault with a dangerous
weapon ("ADW") prosecuted in the New Bedford
District Court; (3) an October 2009 conviction for possession
to distribute a class A drug prosecuted in the New Bedford
District Court; (4) a 2012 conviction for breaking and
entering in the nighttime for a felony prosecuted in the New
Bedford District Court; and (5) a 2013 conviction for
unlawful distribution of a class B substance (cocaine)
prosecuted in the Bristol Superior Court.
under ACCA, López was subject to a fifteen-year
(180-month) mandatory minimum sentence.
After scoring the severity of López's offenses and
his criminal history against the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines,
the PSR further ...