Supreme Court Upholds 15-Year Prison Term For Man With Multiple Convictions

Tuesday, December 4th 2007, 9:35 am
By: News On 6

WASHINGTON (AP) _ The Supreme Court unanimously upheld a stiff prison term Tuesday for a repeat offender who argued that some earlier convictions shouldn't count in calculating his sentence.

The ruling in the case of James Logan of Wisconsin is the latest effort by the court to clarify the Armed Career Criminal Act, most recently amended in 2004. The law allows longer sentences for ``career criminals.''

Logan pleaded guilty to possessing a gun after having been convicted of a felony. Federal law bars felons from having guns.

He received a term of 15 years because he also had three prior misdemeanor convictions in Wisconsin, punishable by up to three years in prison.

The Armed Career Criminal Act makes defendants eligible for longer prison terms if they have three prior criminal convictions for crimes that are either violent felonies or serious drug offenses. Misdemeanors also qualify if they have maximum prison terms of more than two years.

But Logan argued the misdemeanors should not have been considered because the law also says those convictions shouldn't count when an individual has his civil rights, which normally includes the right to vote, restored. In Wisconsin, misdemeanors do not result in the loss of civil rights, so Logan argued the convictions shouldn't be counted.

The court, however, was unpersuaded. ``We hold that the words 'civil rights restored' do not cover the case of an offender who lost no civil rights,'' Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said.

The case is Logan v. U.S., 06-6911.