USA v. Keitholus Watt
Per Curiam OPINION filed : The district court's judgment is AFFIRMED, decision not for publication. Gilbert S. Merritt and Eric L. Clay, Circuit Judges; William H. Stafford, Jr., United States District Judge for the Northern District of Florida, sitting by designation.
NOT RECOMMENDED FOR FULL-TEXT PUBLICATION
File Name: 13a0829n.06
UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS
FOR THE SIXTH CIRCUIT
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
Sep 12, 2013
DEBORAH S. HUNT, Clerk
ON APPEAL FROM THE
UNITED STATES DISTRICT
COURT FOR THE EASTERN
DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
BEFORE: MERRITT and CLAY, Circuit Judges; STAFFORD, District Judge.*
PER CURIAM. Keitholus Watts, a federal prisoner, appeals through counsel the sentence
imposed following his guilty plea to a charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Watts entered his plea in 2012. Because he had three prior convictions “for a violent felony
or a serious drug offense, or both,” (18 U.S.C. § 924(e)(1)), he was subject to a mandatory minimum
180 months of imprisonment under the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA). 18 U.S.C. § 924(e).
Section 924(e)(2)(A) and (B) define serious drug offenses and violent felonies, respectively. Watts
argued below that the “residual clause” of 18 U.S.C. § 924(e)(2)(B)(ii), which defines a violent
felony as one that “involves conduct that presents a serious potential risk of physical injury,” is void
for vagueness. That clause defines a violent felony as one that “involves conduct that presents a
serious potential risk of physical injury.” Watts argued that his prior conviction for third-degree
fleeing and eluding police in a car should not qualify him as an armed career criminal due to the
The Honorable William H. Stafford, Jr., United States District Judge for the Northern
District of Florida, sitting by designation.
United States v. Watts
statute’s vagueness. The district court heard argument from the parties on the issue and held against
Watts. He was subsequently sentenced to 180 months of imprisonment.
Watts repeats his argument before this court. We review a district court decision on the
constitutionality of a statute de novo. United States v. Bowers, 594 F.3d 522, 527 (6th Cir. 2010).
In this case, we are bound by the Supreme Court’s rejection of Watts’ argument in Sykes v. United
States, 131 S. Ct. 2267, 2277 (2011), and James v. United States, 550 U.S. 192, 210 n.6 (2007), as
well as this court’s previous rejection of the same argument in United States v. LaCasse, 567 F.3d
763, 764 (6th Cir. 2009). See United States v. Taylor, 696 F.3d 628, 633 (6th Cir. 2012).
Both the Supreme Court and this court have found that vehicle flight presents a serious
potential risk of physical injury. Sykes, 131 S. Ct. at 2273-74; United States v. Young, 580 F.3d 373,
379-81 (6th Cir. 2009); LaCasse, 567 F.3d at 765-67; United States v. Martin, 378 F.3d 578, 582-84
(6th Cir. 2004). Thus, Watts cannot argue that his prior conviction had not been found to be a
violent felony under the ACCA before he committed his current offense. See United States v. Jones,
689 F.3d 696, 701 (7th Cir. 2012), cert. denied,133 S. Ct. 895 (2013) (holding that vagueness
argument failed because Seventh Circuit had already found intentional vehicular fleeing to be a
violent felony within the meaning of the ACCA). Therefore, the argument that the residual clause
is unconstitutionally vague in this case is without merit.
Accordingly, we affirm the district court’s judgment.
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