Submitted: January 17, 2019
Appeals from United States District Courts for the Northern
and Southern Districts of Iowa
LOKEN, GRASZ, and STRAS, Circuit Judges.
consolidated these five sentencing appeals because they
present a common issue: whether a prior conviction under Iowa
Code § 124.401 qualifies as a predicate offense
warranting sentence enhancements under the Armed Career
Criminal Act ("ACCA"), the Controlled Substances
Act ("CSA"), and the career offender provisions of
the Sentencing Guidelines if the Iowa law of aiding and
abetting liability is "overly broad." Five judges
of the United States District Courts for the Northern and
Southern Districts of Iowa concluded that a conviction under
§ 124.401 is a "serious drug offense" under
the ACCA, 18 U.S.C. § 924(e)(2)(A)(ii); a "felony
drug offense" under the CSA, 21 U.S.C. §
841(b)(1)(D); or a "controlled substance offense"
under § 4B1.2(b) of the Guidelines. Separately
considering the three enhancement provisions, we agree with
the district courts' conclusions and therefore affirm
each of the five sentences.
The Common Issue.
Dwayne Boleyn and Erwin Keith Bell each pleaded guilty to
being a felon in possession of a firearm in violation of 18
U.S.C. § 922(g). The district courts concluded that
their multiple prior convictions under Iowa Code §
124.401 were "serious drug offenses" under the
ACCA. This determination increased their advisory guidelines
ranges and subjected them to the ACCA's mandatory minimum
fifteen-year sentence, rather than the maximum ten-year
sentence under § 922(g). See 18 U.S.C. §
Vasey, Robert Fisher, and Demetrius Green each pleaded guilty
to possession with intent to distribute controlled substances
in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1) and
(b)(1)(B) or (D). The district courts determined they were
subject to the career offender enhancement under § 4B1.1
of the Guidelines because their prior convictions under
§ 124.401 were "controlled substance
offenses." This significantly increased their advisory
guidelines ranges. The district court also determined that
one of Green's two convictions under § 124.401
qualified as a prior "felony drug offense" under
the CSA, 21 U.S.C. § 802(44). This increased the
statutory maximum sentence for his marijuana offense of
conviction from five to ten years under § 841(b)(1)(D).
appeal, each defendant argues that the district court erred
in determining that his prior convictions under §
124.401 warrant a drug offense enhancement under the ACCA,
the career offender guidelines provisions, or the CSA. The
Iowa statute at issue provides:
it is unlawful for any person to manufacture, deliver, or
possess with the intent to manufacture or deliver, a
controlled substance, a counterfeit substance, or a simulated
controlled substance, or to act with, enter into a common
scheme or design with, or conspire with one or more other
persons to manufacture, deliver, or possess with the intent
to manufacture or deliver a controlled substance, a
counterfeit substance, or a simulated controlled substance.
Code § 124.401(1). Raising an issue of first impression
in this circuit, defendants argue that no conviction
under this statute can be a predicate prior conviction under
the ACCA, the CSA, or the career offender guidelines because
aiding and abetting liability is inherent in the definition
of all drug offenses, and Iowa's doctrine of aiding and
abetting is broader than "the generic definition of
aiding and abetting." More specifically, defendants
argue that a "vast majority of relevant authorities --
the federal courts, 45 state jurisdictions, and the Model
Penal Code --[hold] that a defendant cannot be convicted on
an aiding and abetting theory on only a 'knowledge'
mens rea." By contrast, Iowa is one of the few
States that "only requires mere knowledge that one's
actions will facilitate a crime." Because
"knowledge" is a lesser mens rea than
"intent," defendants posit, "it follows, with
respect to aiding and abetting liability, that Iowa §
124.401 is broader than" drug offenses as defined in the
ACCA, the CSA, or the career offender guidelines.
review de novo the determination that a prior
conviction qualifies as a sentence enhancing predicate.
See United States v. Jones, 574 F.3d 546, 549 (8th
Cir. 2009) (ACCA); United States v. Sturdivant, 513
F.3d 795, 803 (8th Cir. 2008) (CSA); United States v.
Eason, 643 F.3d 622, 623 (8th Cir. 2011) (USSG). Though
creative, we conclude defendants' contention is unsound.
The Analytical Framework.
determining whether a prior § 124.401 conviction
qualifies as a predicate offense for purposes of these
federal sentencing enhancements, we apply a categorical
approach that looks to the statutory definition of the prior
offense, not to the facts underlying a defendant's prior
convictions. Taylor v. United States, 495 U.S. 575,
600-02 (1990). In Taylor, the Court considered
whether a burglary conviction fell within the ACCA provision
defining violent felony to include certain enumerated
offenses. See 18 U.S.C. § 924(e)(2)(B)(ii)
("is burglary"). If the state statute "sweeps
more broadly" than the generic crime enumerated, a
conviction "cannot count ...