10th Circuit holds Kansas aggravated battery convictions are crimes of violence for sentencing guidelines enhanced penalty purposes

United States v Williams

Williams appealed his enhanced sentence arguing his Kansas aggravated battery conviction was not a crime of violence under eh sentencing guidelines. The panel affirmed. Resolving an open question of law, it held the knowing conduct can constitute crimes of violence for guidelines enhanced sentence purposes as circuit precedent holds knowing violations can trigger armed career criminal status and knowing mens rea in the Kansas statute requires a reasonable certainty which eliminates convictions based on reckless conduct. The panel held Williams forfeited his argument than knowing violations are actually reckless violations under Kansas law as he did not raise it below, made no citations to authority on appeal and a similar argument under Utah law was rejected in a recent unpublished opinion. It held that under Kansas law, knowing violations are general intent violations and this satisfies the intentionality requirement in the guidelines. The panel held Kansas’ aggravated battery statute requires has a use of violence element under circuit precedent involving a predecessor statute, the United States Supreme Court Castleman decision and circuit precedent applying Castleman.