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US v. Sonnenberg, 09-2801

By FindLaw Staff on December 08, 2010 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Enhancement of defendant's sentence as a career offender reversed

US v. Sonnenberg, 09-2801, concerned a challenge to the district court's imposition of an enhanced sentence in treating defendant as a career offender under the sentencing guidelines, in a prosecution of defendant for crack cocaine distribution conspiracy.  In vacating the sentence, the court remanded for resentencing as, under the Supreme Court's decision in Begay v. US, 533 U.S. 137 (2008), defendant's Minnesota conviction for "intra familial sexual abuse" does not qualify as a crime of violence within the meaning of U.S.S.G. section 4B1.1.


As the court wrote: "[S]ubsection (1) of the Minnesota statute, under which Sonnenberg was convicted, swept much more broadly to include as well sexual activity that could be consensual and non-violent under the standards of Begay and McDonald.  For these reasons, the offense decribed in the Minnesota statute, "in the typical or ordinary case," would not meet Begay's requirement of purposeful, aggressive, and violent conduct."

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