Federal Appeals Lawyer Stephen N. Preziosi’s Federal Sentencing Guidelines Awareness Campaign Looks at Alphonso James Jr. v. United States

Share Article

In the seventh installment of his U.S.S.G. awareness campaign, Federal appeals lawyer Stephen N. Preziosi looks at Alphponso James Jr. v. United States, which established that attempted burglary is classified as a violent felony. As a result, Sentencing Judges have the authority to impose harsher sentences per the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA).

Federal appeals lawyer Stephen N. Preziosi looks at Alphponso James Jr. v. United States.

Federal appeals lawyer Stephen N. Preziosi looks at Alphponso James Jr. v. United States.

This case established that defendants charged with attempted burglary must understand the sentencing implications of pleading guilty; because they will be subject to ACCA Guidelines, which are harsher than ordinary sentencing standards.

Per his chronicle of cases that have shaped and defined Federal Sentencing Guidelines (a.k.a. United States Sentencing Guidelines or U.S.S.G.), New York City-based Federal appeals lawyer Stephen N. Preziosi is focusing on the seminal 2007 Alphonso James Jr. v. United States case.

In Alphonso James Jr., v. United States, the Supreme Court established that, under Florida law, attempted burglary constitutes a violent felony within the context of the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA), and therefore a Sentencing Judge may consider a harsher, Guidelines-based sentence instead of an ordinary sentence.

In the case, the appelant James Jr. pled guilty to possessing a firearm, despite having a prior felony conviction (a contravention of 18 USC §922(g)(1)). However, his indictment contained three more felonies, including attempted burglary. As a result, the Sentencing Judge classified James Jr.’s crime as a “violent felony” under Florida law, which meant that per the ACCA, his term of imprisonment would be a minimum of 15 years.

James Jr. appealed the sentence the basis that he did not, in fact, have the three felony convictions prior to committing the attempted burglary. As a result, his sentence should not be subject to ACCA Guidelines, but instead he should receive prison sentence of up to 10 years for an ordinary offense under §924(a)(2). On appeal, the District Court held that the crime was indeed a violent felony and no error had been made. James Jr. then appealed to the Supreme Court, which rendered its decision in April, 2007.

The Supreme Court did not focus on whether James Jr.’s felonies, as part of the indictment to which he pled guilty, constituted “prior convictions.” Instead, it focused on, and ultimately confirmed, that the crime of attempted burglary was correctly classified in Florida law as a violent felony – and hence, the ACCA guidelines applied.

“This very important case in the history of both United States Sentencing Guidelines and the Armed Career Criminal Act established that attempted burglary is indeed considered by the Supreme Court to be conduct that presents a serious potential risk of physical injury to another, even if the attempt is aborted due to arrest or other reason, and no party is harmed or injured,” commented Stephen N. Preziosi, whose practice is located in New York City’s Times Sqauare. “As a result, it is considered a violent felony, and defendants charged with the crime must carefully understand the sentencing implications of pleading guilty; because they will be subject to ACCA Guidelines, which are obviously harsher than ordinary sentencing standards – in some cases, considerably so.”

Mr. Preziosi’s full analysis of Alphonso James Jr., v. United States is available on his firm’s website at http://www.newyorkappellatelawyer.com/armed-career-criminal-act-violent-felonies-and-the-residual-provision/.

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.

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Stephen Preziosi
Visit website