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UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
KARL DEVON AMERSON,
Defendant-Appellant.
   No. 17-1713
Appeal from the United States District Court
for the Western District of Michigan at Grand Rapids.
No. 1:16-cr-00176-1—Janet T. Neff, District Judge.
Argued: March 6, 2018
Decided and Filed: March 27, 2018
Before: COLE, Chief Judge; WHITE and BUSH, Circuit Judges.


_________________________
OPINION
_________________________

JOHN K. BUSH, Circuit Judge. When are two crimes “part of the same course of conduct?” For a defendant like Karl Amerson, who illegally possessed firearms on two different occasions, the answer under section 1B1.3(a)(2) of the United States Sentencing Guidelines (USSG) could mean almost twice as many years in prison.

Amerson pleaded guilty to one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm after police officers discovered a rifle and a pistol in his home. In exchange for his plea, the government agreed not to prosecute him for his previous possession of a different handgun, three and a half months before. But that agreement did not bar the government from arguing at sentencing that Amerson’s uncharged handgun possession was “part of the same course of conduct” as his rifle-and-pistol conviction and was thus relevant conduct for purposes of calculating Amerson’s sentence. The district court agreed with the government. The result? A near doubling of Amerson’s sentencing range.

Amerson contends that this relevant-conduct determination was erroneous because the government showed no connection between the gun possession that resulted in his conviction and his prior gun possession. We agree. For two, non-contemporaneous illegal firearm possessions to be considered part of the same course of conduct, they must, among other factors, be connected by strong evidence of similarity. Because the government failed to prove enough similarity between Amerson’s illegal firearm possessions, we reverse the district court’s relevant-conduct finding.

Amerson also appeals the district court’s determination that he attempted to obstruct justice, warranting a higher offense level under USSG § 3C1.1. Because the evidence showed that Amerson took a substantial step toward his goal of having someone else claim ownership of his rifle, we affirm the obstruction-of-justice enhancement.



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UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
ROBERT PORTER,
Defendant-Appellant.
   No. 17-5064
Appeal from the United States District Court
for the Eastern District of Kentucky at Pikeville.
No. 7:15-cr-00022-1—Danny C. Reeves, District Judge.
Decided and Filed: February 12, 2018
Before: COLE, Chief Judge; MERRITT and BOGGS, Circuit Judges.


_________________________
ORDER
_________________________

Robert Porter, a federal prisoner, appeals the district court’s judgment of conviction. The parties have waived oral argument, and this panel unanimously agrees that oral argument is not needed. See Fed. R. App. P. 34(a).



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UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
DEREK MICHAEL TAGG,
Defendant-Appellee.
   No. 17-1777
Appeal from the United States District Court
for the Eastern District of Michigan at Detroit.
No. 2:16-cr-20597-1—Paul D. Borman, District Judge.
Argued: March 7, 2018
Decided and Filed: March 27, 2018
Before: COOK, McKEAGUE, and STRANCH, Circuit Judges.


_________________________
OPINION
_________________________

McKEAGUE, Circuit Judge. In September 2015, police executed a warrant at Derek Tagg’s residence, searching for child pornography. They found plenty of it—over 20,000 files, all stored on Tagg’s computer. The search warrant was based primarily on digital evidence from an FBI operation showing that Tagg had spent over five hours browsing a website (“Playpen”) that obviously contained child pornography. The district court found that the police lacked probable cause to search Tagg’s house because the search warrant did not state that Tagg actually viewed any illegal images while on the site. Further, the court held that no reasonable officer would have relied on the warrant, and therefore suppressed all the evidence seized from Tagg’s home. Because the warrant was supported by probable cause, we REVERSE the order granting the motion to suppress and REMAND the case for proceedings not inconsistent with this opinion.