Las Vegas Sun

April 24, 2014

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Crime:

Las Vegas man’s criminal history comes back to haunt him in appeal of prison sentence

A panel of a federal appeals court ruled Thursday that juvenile offenses can be used to increase the sentence of a Las Vegas man convicted of a felony as an adult.

The panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the challenge of DeMario Edwards, who pled guilty to possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

Edwards, now 23, was convicted twice, at ages 14 and 16, of felony robbery with a deadly weapon and at age 17 of felony possession of marijuana with intent to sell.

At age 19, he was convicted of attempted burglary. He was then arrested on the firearm charge in September 2011.

After Senior District Judge Lloyd George used two of the juvenile convictions in determining a 46-month prison term, Edwards challenged the constitutionality of the federal sentencing guidelines that permit judges to consider the juvenile offenses in sentencing an adult criminal.

The federal panel said the use of juvenile convictions can be used to determine the criminal history but sent the case back to George for re-sentencing. The three-judge panel said the federal guidelines allow an increased sentence if the individual was convicted of a firearms offense and had previously been convicted of a crime of violence as an adult.

In this case, the court said the attempted burglary conviction was not a crime of violence and the sentence should be modified.

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