The Criminal Defense Blog


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In the case of United States v. Sharp, No. 22-20222, at *1 (5th Cir. Mar. 20, 2023), Nolan Sharp appealed his sentence following a guilty-plea conviction of being a felon in possession of a firearm. Sharp argued that the district court erred in enhancing his sentence under U.S.S.G. § 2K2.1(b)(4)(B), which applies only when a defendant's firearm "had an altered or obliterated serial number," because there was no evidence that his rifle ever had a serial number. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with Sharp and joined all other circuits that have considered this question, vacating Sharp's sentence and remanding for further proceedings. Tyler Criminal Defense Lawyer Blog 

Sharp was arrested in possession of two firearms, one of which was a rifle without a serial number. He was charged with a single count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and pleaded guilty without a plea agreement. The district court applied a four-level enhancement under § 2K2.1(b)(4)(B), but Sharp objected, arguing that the provision did not apply since there was no evidence that his rifle ever had a serial number.

On appeal, both Sharp and the government agreed that the imposition of the sentencing enhancement was an error, and the Fifth Circuit held that § 2K2.1(b)(4)(B) does not apply when there is no evidence that the firearm ever had a serial number. The court vacated Sharp's sentence and remanded the case to the district court for further proceedings.

This blog post was prepared with the assistance of ChatGPT-4 AI. Nothing in this post should be considered legal advice or the creation of an attorney-client relationship. This blog is strictly for informational purposes only.

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