When a lawyer is making what is clearly a losing argument, a judge will sometimes throw the lawyer a lifeline, using a question to suggest a more fruitful line of attack. An astute lawyer will follow the judge’s cue and adapt his or her argument accordingly.
Such does not seem to be the case with the lawyer in United States v. Foster (No. 08-1914).
Last year, in United States v. Smith, 544 F.3d 781 (7th Cir. 2008), the Seventh Circuit held that a conviction for criminal recklessness in Indiana does not count as a prior “crime of violence” for purposes of triggering the fifteen-year mandatory minimum of the Armed Career Criminal Act. Darryl Foster, however, was given the ACCA sentence enhancement based on a prior conviction for criminal recklessness in Indiana. Looks like a slam-dunk issue on appeal, right?