In United States v. Stancil, 19-12001 (July 13, 2021) (Branch, Grant, Tjoflat), the Court affirmed the defendant’s ACCA-enhanced conviction and sentence for being a felon in possession of a firearm.  

Defendant was pulled over for speeding one night.  When officers approached his car, they saw him reach down several times.  They also smelled marijuana when defendant lowered his window.  They asked the defendant to step out of his vehicle and ran his driver’s license, which revealed that he was a convicted felon on probation.  While one officer checked defendant’s license, another searched his car and found a firearm under the driver’s side floor mat.  

Defendant moved to suppress the firearm, which the district court denied.  He then proceeded to a stipulated bench trial, and was found guilty.  At sentencing, the district court determined that his three prior Virginia drug convictions were serious drug offenses under the ACCA, and sentenced him to 15 years imprisonment.  

As to the prior Virginia drug convictions, defendant argued that the least culpable conduct included “giving or possessing with intent to give a controlled substance to another” without intent to profit, and therefore was overbroad.  The Court disagreed, analogizing to similar Alabama statutes analyzed in Hollis v. United States and United States v. Robinson.   

As to defendant’s motion to suppress the firearm, the Court found no clear error in the district court’s decision to credit the testimonies of the police officers who testified, and found that the officers had probable cause to search defendant’s car on account of the marijuana odor.  

The Court also rejected–as clearly foreclosed by binding circuit precedent–defendant’s arguments that his Fifth and Sixth Amendment rights were violated when the court determined that his prior predicate offenses occurred on different occasions, and his argument that 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1) exceeds Congress’s authority under the Commerce Clause.