USA v. Christopher Eaton
Per Curiam OPINION filed :The district court's judgment is AFFIRMED, decision not for publication pursuant to local rule 206. Alice M. Batchelder, Chief Circuit Judge; David W. McKeague, Circuit Judge and Gordon J. Quist, U.S. District Judge for the Western District of Michigan, sitting by designation.
NOT RECOMMENDED FOR FULL-TEXT PUBLICATION
File Name: 12a0417n.06
UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS
FOR THE SIXTH CIRCUIT
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
CHRISTOPHER G. EATON,
Apr 16, 2012
LEONARD GREEN, Clerk
ON APPEAL FROM THE
UNITED STATES DISTRICT
COURT FOR THE WESTERN
DISTRICT OF TENNESSEE
BEFORE: BATCHELDER, Chief Judge; McKEAGUE, Circuit Judge; QUIST, District
PER CURIAM. Christopher G. Eaton appeals the district court’s judgment of conviction and
Eaton pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm, in violation of 18 U.S.C.
§ 922(g). The district court determined that Eaton was an armed career criminal under 18 U.S.C.
§ 924(e) based on his prior Mississippi conviction for arson and his prior Tennessee convictions for
aggravated burglary and aggravated assault. The court determined that Eaton’s guidelines range of
imprisonment was 188 to 235 months. It sentenced him to the statutory mandatory minimum term
of 180 months in prison.
On appeal, Eaton argues that the district court made two errors in determining that his prior
Tennessee convictions were “committed on occasions different from one another” as required by
The Honorable Gordon J. Quist, United States District Judge for the Western District of
Michigan, sitting by designation.
United States v. Eaton
§ 924(e): (1) it improperly relied on the facts set forth by the prosecutor during the plea colloquy
because Eaton effectively entered his plea pursuant to North Carolina v. Alford, 400 U.S. 25 (1970),
which did not constitute an admission to the proffered facts; and (2) it erroneously determined that
there was sufficient evidence to demonstrate that the Tennessee offenses were committed on
different occasions. We review de novo the district court’s determination that Eaton’s Tennessee
offenses were committed on different occasions for purposes of § 924(e). See United States v. Paige,
634 F.3d 871, 873 (6th Cir.), cert. denied, 132 S. Ct. 206 (2011). Offenses are committed on
different occasions if (1) it is possible to discern when the first offense ended and the second offense
began; (2) it would have been possible for the offender to cease his criminal conduct after the first
offense and withdraw without committing the second offense; or (3) the offenses are committed in
different residences or business locations. Id.
The district court properly determined that Eaton’s prior Tennessee offenses were committed
on different occasions. At the plea hearing, the prosecutor stated the factual basis of the charges as
follows. Eaton broke into the home of the first victim, vandalized the property, and left. He went
up the road to the vicinity of another home, where he fired a weapon toward a different victim.
Those facts were sufficient to demonstrate that the offenses occurred at different residences, that the
burglary ended before the assault began, and that Eaton could have ceased his criminal conduct after
the burglary without committing the assault. Further, despite Eaton’s argument to the contrary, he
did not enter an Alford-type plea to the Tennessee charges. At no time during the plea hearing did
the court or parties refer to Eaton’s plea as anything other than a standard guilty plea, and Eaton
acknowledged that the prosecution could produce witnesses to support the proffered factual basis
and that he was pleading guilty because he was actually guilty of the offenses.
United States v. Eaton
Accordingly, we affirm the district court’s judgment.
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