In this case, the `letter of the law’ was clearly at-odds with the intent, and the result was a potential miscarriage of justice.
New York, NY (PRWEB) February 04, 2013
Federal appeals lawyer Stephen N. Preziosi has focused on the seminal 2008 Larry Begay, Petitioner v. United States case, as part of his ongoing look at key cases that that have influenced, developed and defined United States Sentencing Guidelines (U.S.S.G.).
In Larry Begay, Petitioner v. United States, the Supreme Court determined whether driving under the influence of alcohol was a “violent felony” as defined by the Armed Career Criminal Act; a designation that mandates a 15-year prison term, and is reserved for indivuals who have three or more convictions for violent felonies and unlawfully possess a firearm.
The petitioner, New Mexico resident Larry Begay, pled guilty to threatening his sister and aunt with a rifle, and also to unlawfully possessing a firearm contrary to §922(g)(1). Begay’s presentence report (PSR) noted that he had a dozen prior DUI convictions, which in New Mexico, are considered felony offenses on the fourth (or subsequent) offense. As a result, the Sentencing Judge determined that Begay had committed several “violent felonies” per the Armed Career Criminal Act, and was therefore a “serious potential risk of physical injury to another.” Accordingly, he sentenced Begay to the minimum mandatory sentence dictacted by the statute: 15 years.
By a majority vote of 2:1, Began’s appeal to the Court of Appeal was rejected. However, the Supreme Court heard and ultimately granted the appeal upon its determination that driving under the influence falls outside the definition of “violent felony” under the Armed Career Criminal Act.
“The Armed Career Criminal Act is a essential statute that is designed to protect law abiding citizens, as well as to deter and punish individuals who are deemed by the courts to be significantly at-risk of injuring others,” commented Federal appeals lawyer Stephen N. Preziosi, who is a recognized authority on the topic of Federal Sentencing Guidelines. “However, it’s just as essential for legislators and courts to ensure that the statute is interpreted and applied as it was intended. In this case, the `letter of the law’ was clearly at-odds with the intent, and the result was a potential miscarriage of justice. Fortunately, the Supreme Court fulfilled its duty to objectively scrutinize the facts and interpret them in the context of the real world -- not a law book.”
Mr. Preziosi’s full analysis of Larry Begay, Petitioner v. United States is available on his firm’s website at http://www.newyorkappellatelawyer.com/defining-violent-offense-under-the-armed-career-criminal-act-felony-driving-while-intoxicated/.
For more information or media inquiries, email newyorkappellatelawyer(at)gmail(dot)com or phone (212) 300-3845.
About the Appellate Law Office of Stephen N. Preziosi, P.C.
Federal appeals lawyer Stephen N. Preziosi handles criminal appeals in all U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeals and in New York State Appellate Courts (including Appellate Divisions and the New York Court of Appeals). Whether a case is under the Penal Law in New York State Courts or under Federal Law in the U.S. District Courts, Mr. Preziosi has extensive experience with all types of appellate matters in both the New York State Courts and the Federal Circuit Courts of Appeal. Mr. Preziosi has pursued appellate cases in the Appellate Divisions, the Appellate Terms and the highest court in the State of New York, the New York Court of Appeals. He has also taken on cases in the various U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeals, and successfully identified legal issues, designed and written briefs and conducted oral argument. The firm’s practice is concentrated in the area of appeals in criminal matters in both State and Federal Courts, and Mr. Preziosi recently launched a Federal Sentencing Guidelines Awareness Campaign to help the general public learn more about this critically important and influential aspect of criminal law.
Learn more at http://www.newyorkappellatelawyer.com.