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March 24, 2005

Intriguing 7th Circuit career offender ruling

Today in US v. Rosas, No. 04-2929 (7th Cir. Mar. 24, 2005) (available here), the Seventh Circuit affirmed over various objections a lengthy sentence based on a career offender enhancement.  The key legal question was whether the defendant's prior conviction for fleeing a police officer qualified as a "crime of violence," and one of the defendant's arguments was that the Almendarez-Torres prior conviction exception was inapplicable because his case concerned "the nature, not the mere existence, of a previous conviction."

The Seventh Circuit rejected this claim in Rosas on grounds similar to the ruling by the Tenth Circuit in Moore yesterday (discussed here).  Explained the Rosas court, "whether a previous offense constitutes crime of violence for purposes of sentencing enhancement is a question of law, whereas Blakely implicates only questions of fact."

Interestingly, after disposing of the defendant's Blakely claim, the Rosas court simply affirmed the defendants guideline sentence without considering any Booker issues.

March 24, 2005 at 01:55 PM | Permalink

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