Career Offender Clarifications

Adult convictions, even if committed and obtained before a defendant is eighteen, may be used when determining career offender status. In U.S. v. Doxey, the Sixth Circuit (in a published opinion) joined the Fourth and Tenth Circuits in finding that the plain language of Committee Note 1 to 4B1.2 requires that result.

The Sixth Circuit also confirmed that plain error review is required if a defendant fails to make a Johnson claim at sentencing. In Doxey’s case, he objected to the career offender enhancement because his two prior drug convictions involved a relatively insubstantial amount of drugs, but he did not contest his conviction for third-degree fleeing and eluding a police officer. The Court found no record evidence that the sentencing court relied on the flight conviction when applying the career offender enhancement. As such, the Court found no error.

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