United States v. Jackson (11th Cir. June 2022)

The Federal Docket

June 29, 2022

The Eleventh Circuit vacated a defendant’s enhanced sentence under the Armed Career Criminal Act after the defendant was convicted of unlawful possession of a firearm. At issue on appeal was whether his prior convictions for cocaine offenses under state law constituted “serious drug offenses” under the ACCA, which were the basis of his enhancement.

Key to the Court’s analysis was that one of the cocaine offenses Jackson was previously convicted for also criminalized the sale of “ioflupane.” At the time he was later charged and convicted of unlawful possession of a firearm, ioflupane was not a controlled substance under federal law.

Citing fair notice and due process concerns, the Eleventh Circuit concluded that, where a district court is trying to determine whether a defendant is subject to an enhanced sentence under the ACCA for a prior drug conviction, the court “apply the version of the Controlled Substance Act Schedules in place when the defendant committed the federal firearm-possession offense for which he is being sentenced,” as opposed to the schedules in effect when the defendant is convicted of his predicate state offenses. Since ioflupane was not a controlled substance under the CSA at the time of Jackson’s federal prosecution, his conviction for cocaine under the statute that includes ioflupane was not a “serious drug offense.”

Appeal from the Southern District of Florida
Opinion by Rosenbaum, J. Pryor, and E. Carnes

Click here to read the opinion.

Tom Church - Tom is a trial and appellate lawyer focusing on criminal defense and civil trials. Tom is the author of "The Federal Docket" and is a contributor to Mercer Law Review's Annual Survey in the areas of federal sentencing guidelines and criminal law. Tom graduated with honors from the University of Georgia Law School where he served as a research assistant to the faculty in the areas of constitutional law and civil rights litigation. Read Tom's reviews on AVVO. Follow Tom on Linkedin.

Scroll to Top