Kaplan Hecker & Fink Wins Sentencing Appeal in the Fourth Circuit

By: 
Kaplan Hecker & Fink LLP
Published on:
January 14, 2021

Kaplan Hecker & Fink LLP recently won an appeal in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in the case United States v. Al-Muwwakkil. The case was briefed and argued by Kaplan Hecker senior associate Yotam Barkai, who was appointed as counsel by the Fourth Circuit under the Criminal Justice Act, along with co-counsel at Boies Schiller Flexner LLP.

Our client was originally sentenced to 280 months of imprisonment for being a felon in possession of a firearm due to a sentencing enhancement under the Armed Career Criminal Act (“ACCA”). After the Supreme Court’s decision in Johnson v. United States, 576 U.S. 591 (2015), which narrowed the criminal offenses that qualify as violent felonies for ACCA purposes, our client filed a pro se habeas petition seeking resentencing without the ACCA enhancement. In 2017, the district court denied the habeas petition, and our client appealed pro se. After Barkai was appointed as counsel by the Fourth Circuit, he argued the appeal in September 2020 and succeeded in securing a favorable ruling from the appeals court in December 2020, reversing the district court's decision and remanding for resentencing of our client.

You can read the Fourth Circuit’s decision in the case here.

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