By: Michael Klotz
In United States v. David Carlton Norton, Jr., the defendant appealed his sentence of 180 months under the Armed Career Criminal Act, 18 U.S.C. § 924(e) (“ACCA”). The ACCA punishes an individual who is convicted of being a felon in possession of a firearm after three prior convictions for violent felonies or serious drug offenses committed on separate occasions.
The issue in Norton was whether prior offenses that were committed on different occasions, but sentenced in a single consolidated judgment count as distinct offenses for the purpose of the ACCA. When determining career offender enhancement, a consolidated sentence for multiple North Carolina convictions is treated as a single sentence even when it punishes separate offenses committed on different occasions (United States v. Davis, 720 F.3d 215 (4th Cir. 2013)).
However, the Norton court reiterated that Davis does not apply to the ACCA. While the ACCA requires that the defendant committed the predicate offenses on different occasions, neither the statutory language of the ACCA nor the guidelines indicates that the offenses must have been tried or sentenced separately. As a result, the Fourth Circuit affirmed Mr. Norton’s conviction and sentence of 180 months.