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Defendant Contends Prior Conviction not an Aggravated Felony


The plaintiff and appellee in the case is the United States of America. The defendant and appellant of the case is Alexander Antoine Christopher. The case is being heard in the Eleventh Circuit of the United States Court of Appeals.


A New York Drug Crime Lawyer said the defendant, Alexander Antoine Christopher is appealing the district court’s sentencing of 77 months for illegally reentering the country and violating 18 of the United States Constitution. The issue he is raising on appeal is he feels there was an error made by the district court when they enhanced his criminal record score by 16. He states that his prior conviction of theft does not qualify as an aggravated felony.

Case History

The Immigration and Naturalization Service agents discovered in 1999, that Christopher was being held by the Clayton County Detention Center on a probation violation. The Immigration and Naturalization Service discovered that Christopher had been born in Bermuda and that he entered the U.S. through Miami, Florida. It was discovered that he had been arrested on five different occasions in Georgia for driving while intoxicated. He was charged with a felony offense in 1994 for being a habitual violator. He was voluntary deported from the United States in 1995. He then reentered the United States a short time later.

In the year 1997, Christopher was convicted of shoplifting and obstructing an officer, both misdemeanor offenses. A New York Drug Possession Lawyer said he was sentenced to 12 months in prison for each of these crimes. After this conviction he was deported again. Christopher reentered the country again, without the necessary consent of the Attorney General. This is a violation of the United States Constitution, 8. He was charged on this violation and sentenced to 77 months in prison. When determining his sentence for this offense, the court added 16 to his base offense level based on his prior conviction of shoplifting, which was determined to be an aggravated felony.

Case Discussion

Christopher argues that the shoplifting charge is not considered an aggravated felony by definition. A Nassau County Drug Possession Lawyer said he argues that the term of imprisonment for a shoplifting charge is at the most a year and not at least a year. He also states that the language of the law defining sentencing is applicable to only crimes that are obviously felonies by their very nature.

We find that the intent of the statute is stated to include a crime that has a penalty of at least a year of imprisonment. While in this case the maximum sentence is up to a year, we feel it still qualifies to be determined as an aggravated assault based on the language of the law. Even though his sentence in the case was suspended, that is irrelevant in this particular case for appeal.

Case Result

The argument made by the defendant and appellant, Christopher is that the shoplifting charge should not be considered an aggravated felony. However, we have concluded that the statute in the state laws defines an aggravated felony as any offense that has a term of imprisonment that is at least a year. A Queens Drug Possession Lawyer said the shoplifting violation qualifies under this reasoning.

The court finds in favor of the plaintiff and the initial sentencing stands. The addition of 16 points to Christopher’s base offense level was fair and is hereby affirmed.

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