USA v. Timothy Martin
Per Curiam OPINION filed : The sentence imposed by the district court is AFFIRMED. Decision not for publication. Ronald Lee Gilman, Julia Smith Gibbons, and Jane Branstetter Stranch, Circuit Judges.
NOT RECOMMENDED FOR FULL-TEXT PUBLICATION
File Name: 16a0551n.06
UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS
FOR THE SIXTH CIRCUIT
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
TIMOTHY DEAN MARTIN,
Sep 26, 2016
DEBORAH S. HUNT, Clerk
ON APPEAL FROM THE UNITED
STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR
THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF
BEFORE: GILMAN, GIBBONS, and STRANCH, Circuit Judges.
PER CURIAM. Timothy Dean Martin, a federal prisoner, appeals the sentence imposed
following his guilty plea to a charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition.
Martin’s sentencing guidelines range was calculated in his presentence report (PSR) to be
37 to 46 months of imprisonment. At his sentencing hearing, Martin objected that his prior jurytrial conviction for aggravated assault in Tennessee state court should not be considered a crime
of violence under USSG § 2K2.1. Excluding that prior convictions would have resulted in a
reduced guidelines range of 21 to 27 months of imprisonment. The district court relied on the
state-court judgment, which showed that Martin had been convicted of a Class C felony for
aggravated assault, and therefore of a crime of violence. Martin, on the other hand, contended
that the conviction was for reckless behavior, a Class D felony that would not be considered a
United States v. Martin
crime of violence. He was sentenced to 37 months of imprisonment, at the bottom of the PSR’s
In his brief on appeal, Martin argues that the district court should not have relied on the
state-court judgment to determine whether the prior conviction was a crime of violence, citing to
Shepard v. United States, 544 U.S. 13, 16 (2005). He also argues that we should overrule
Almendarez-Torres v. United States, 523 U.S. 224, 228 (1998), which held that indictments need
not set forth factors relevant only to sentencing, such as prior convictions.
The parties disagree as to the standard of review we should employ. Martin argues that
we review de novo whether a prior conviction is a crime of violence, citing United States v. SotoSanchez, 623 F.3d 317, 319 (6th Cir. 2010), while the government argues that the district court
made a factual finding that Martin was convicted of a Class C aggravated assault, which is
reviewed for clear error only, see United States v. Beasley, 442 F.3d 386, 394 (6th Cir. 2006).
The government’s argument is persuasive because Martin has conceded that a Class C
aggravated assault in Tennessee is a crime of violence and contests only whether the district
court was correct in finding that he had been convicted of that crime. Martin argues that the
district court should not have relied on the state-court judgment to make the determination.
However, introduction of a judgment is a valid method of proving a prior conviction. Old Chief
v. United States, 519 U.S. 172, 174 (1997); United States v. Cooper, 739 F.3d 873, 881-82 (6th
Cir. 2014) (relying on the state-court judgment to conclude that defendant was convicted of a
Class C aggravated assault in Tennessee, a crime of violence); United States v. Moore,
578 F. App’x 550, 554 (6th Cir. 2014) (“[S]tate-court judgments are valid Shepard documents.).
Therefore, the district court did not clearly err in finding that Martin had a prior conviction of a
crime of violence. We further decline the invitation to overrule Almendarez-Torres, a Supreme
United States v. Martin
Court decision that is still in good standing. See United States v. Nagy, 760 F.3d 485, 488 (6th
Accordingly, we AFFIRM the sentence imposed by the district court.
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