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United States v. Melbie

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

May 1, 2014

United States of America, Plaintiff - Appellee
v.
Harold William Melbie, Jr., Defendant - Appellant

Submitted January 17, 2014.

Appeal from United States District Court for the Southern District of Iowa - Des Moines.

For United States of America, Plaintiff - Appellee: Amy L. Jennings, Andrew H. Kahl, Mary Clare Luxa, Maureen McGuire, U.S. Attorney's Office, Des Moines, IA.

For Harold William Melbie, Jr., Defendant - Appellant: Gary Dean Dickey Jr., Dickey & Campbell, Des Moines, IA.

Harold William Melbie, Jr., Defendant - Appellant, Pro se, Leavenworth, KS.

Before WOLLMAN, BYE, and MELLOY, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Page 587

MELLOY, Circuit Judge.

A jury convicted Harold Melbie of being a felon in possession of a firearm in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1). The district court[1] found that prior convictions qualified Melbie as an armed career criminal and that the fifteen-year mandatory minimum sentence of 18 U.S.C. § 924(e)(1) applied. Melbie appeals, arguing that the district court erroneously treated a prior drug conspiracy conviction and a prior possession-with-intent-to-deliver conviction as separate qualifying predicate offenses. Although the possession conviction was for conduct that occurred during the period of the conspiracy and was related to the object of the conspiracy, the possession offense was a discrete episode in a series of events. The district court, therefore, correctly determined that the two convictions were " committed on occasions different from one another" as required by § 924(e)(1). We affirm the judgment of the district court.[2]

I. Background

The applicability of 18 U.S.C. § 924(e)(1) in the present case hinges on whether Melbie's prior conspiracy conviction and his prior possession conviction may be counted as two qualifying prior convictions or whether they must be treated as one.[3]

Page 588

The conspiracy conviction was a 1999 federal conviction. It appears that no party objects to our review of materials from that case to determine the relevant time frames involved, and, in fact, Melbie directs our attention to such materials in his brief.[4] That conspiracy ran from October 15, 1995 through September 19, 1996, and involved the sale of 9.07 kilograms of methamphetamine. The possession conviction was a State of Iowa conviction and involved seven grams of methamphetamine on September 19, 1996. The 1999 PSR for the federal conspiracy conviction described the timing of events as follows:

Melbie was arrested on September 19, 1996, following the execution of a search warrant at his residence. He was discovered to be in possession of approximately 7 grams of methamphetamine. He was sentenced [by the State of Iowa] on December 27, 1996 to a period of imprisonment not to exceed 10 years. His ...

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