Unlawful Firearm Possession – A defendant’s convictions for unlawful possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and unlawful possession by a domestic violence misdemeanant must be merged as a matter of law where the charges are based on one act of possession.
Joshua Grant pled guilty to two counts of violating 18 U.S.C. § 922(g) by unlawfully possessing a firearm. Both counts alleged that he possessed the same firearm on the same occasion, but one alleged his possession was unlawful because he was a convicted felon, and the other claimed the same because he was a domestic violence misdemeanant. The district court accepted Grant’s plea, entering a judgement on both convictions and imposing concurrent 120-month sentences on each count. Grant did not object to this sentence.
Reviewing the case for plain error, the Sixth Circuit vacated Grant’s sentenced on one of the counts and remanded with instructions that the two counts of conviction be merged. § 922(g) does not permit a court to impose multiple punishments on a defendant who commits only one act of possession but is barred from possession for multiple reasons. The Sixth Circuit had not yet addressed this issue, but the First, Fourth, Fifth, Seventh, Eighth, Tenth, and Eleventh had all unanimously come to the same decision previously.
Appeal from the Northern District of Ohio
Opinion by McKeague, joined by Sutton and White
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