United States v. Taylor, Nos. 09-5152 & 10-4054
Decided Oct 24, 2011
Taylor and Thompson were convicted of violating 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1), which prohibits convicted felons from possessing a firearm. Taylor’s sentence was enhanced because the handgun was stolen and because of his criminal history. Taylor objected to the enhancement, specifically because he did not know that the handgun was stolen. The district court rejected Taylor’s contentions and imposed a ninety-six month sentence.
On appeal, the Fourth Circuit affirmed, noting that the sentencing enhancement “applies regardless of whether the defendant knew or had reason to believe that the firearm was stolen.” The Court of Appeals refused to invalidate the stolen firearm enhancement, despite the absence of a mens rea element. Both Taylor and Thompson’s sentences were affirmed.
-Sara I. Salehi