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Abbott v. US, No. 09-479

By FindLaw Staff on November 22, 2010 8:10 AM

Drug and Firearm Sentences Affirmed

In Abbott v. US, No. 09-479, defendants' sentences for drug and firearm offenses and for violating 18 U.S.C. section 924(c), which prohibits using, carrying, or possessing a deadly weapon in connection with "any crime of violence or drug trafficking crime," and imposes a mandatory minimum sentence of five-years' imprisonment, are affirmed where 1) a defendant is subject to the highest mandatory minimum specified for his conduct in section 924(c), unless another provision of law directed to conduct proscribed by section 924(c) imposes an even greater mandatory minimum; and 2) defendants' challenges to their section 924(c) sentences, resting their objections on the "except" clause prefacing section 924(c)(1)(A) are rejected as there was strong contextual support for the view that the "except" clause was intended to simply clarify section 924(c), and it applied only when a greater minimum sentence is otherwise provided.

 

As the court wrote:  "Petitioners Abbott and Gould, defendants in unrelated prosecutions, were charged with drug and firearm offenses, including violation of 18 U. S. C. §924(c), which prohibits using, carrying, or possessing a deadly weapon in connection with "any crime of violence or drug trafficking crime," §924(c)(1). The minimum prison term for a §924(c) offense is five years, §924(c)(1)(A)(i), in addition to "any other term of imprisonment imposed on the [offender]," §924(c)(1)(D)(ii). Abbott was convicted on the §924(c) count, on two predicate drug-trafficking counts, and of being a felon in possession of a firearm. He received a 15-year mandatory minimum sentence for his felon-in-possession conviction and an additional five years for his §924(c) violation."

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