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United States v. Martinez

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

November 14, 2014

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
MICHAEL ANTHONY MARTINEZ, Defendant-Appellant

Argued and Submitted, September 10, 2014, San Francisco, California

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California. D.C. No. 1:12-cr-00312-LJO-SKO-1. Lawrence J. O'Neill, District Judge, Presiding.

SUMMARY[*]

Criminal Law

Affirming a fifteen-year mandatory-minimum sentence imposed under the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA), 18 U.S.C. § 924(e), the panel held that the defendant's prior conviction under California Vehicle Code § 2800.2 for vehicle flight from a pursuing peace officer was a " violent felony" under the ACCA's residual clause, 18 U.S.C. § 924(e)(2)(B)(ii).

The panel rejected as foreclosed the defendant's arguments that the ACCA's residual clause is unconstitutionally vague as applied to his prior conviction for vehicle flight and that the district court's application of the residual clause violated Apprendi v. New Jersey. Because the residual clause as applied to § 2800.2 is not ambiguous, the panel held that the rule of lenity is not applicable.

Peggy Sasso (argued) and Janet Bateman, Assistant Federal Defenders; Heather E. Williams, Federal Defender, Federal Public Defender's Office, Fresno, California, for Defendant-Appellant.

Kimberly A. Sanchez (argued) and Laurel J. Montoya, Assistant United States Attorneys; Benjamin B. Wagner, United States Attorney; Camil A. Skipper, Appellate Chief, Office of the United States Attorney, Fresno, California, for Plaintiff-Appellee.

Before: Mary M. Schroeder, John B. Owens, and Michelle T. Friedland, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Page 673

OWENS, Circuit Judge.

Michael Anthony Martinez appeals his fifteen-year mandatory-minimum sentence imposed under the Armed Career Criminal Act (" ACCA" ), 18 U.S.C. § 924(e). Martinez contends that the district court erred in concluding that his prior conviction under California Vehicle Code § 2800.2, vehicle flight from a pursuing peace officer, was a " violent felony" under the ACCA's

Page 674

residual clause, 18 U.S.C. § 924(e)(2)(B)(ii). We affirm.[1]

I. BACKGROUND

Martinez pled guilty to being a felon in possession of ammunition, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1) . At sentencing, the parties disputed whether Martinez's criminal history included three prior " violent felony" convictions. If it did, he would qualify as an armed career criminal and face the ACCA's fifteen-year mandatory-minimum sentence. Martinez conceded that he had two prior violent felonies for domestic violence, but argued that his 2006 California Vehicle Code § 2800.2 conviction was not a violent felony under the ACCA. The district court held that ...


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