Archive | crime of violence

Wednesday, July 30th, 2008

Glitter and Begay

United States v. Gray, No. 07-3636-cr (2d Cir. July 25, 2008) (Wesley, Hall, CJJ, Koeltl, DJ)

In New York, reckless endangerment in the first degree involves conduct “evincing a depraved indifference to human life” that “creates a grave risk of death to another person.” Nevertheless, under Begay v. United States, 128 S.Ct. 1581 (2008), the circuit here concludes, it is not a “crime of violence.”

Under Begay, which interpreted the Armed Career Criminal Act, 18 U.S.C. § 924(e), an offense must present a degree of risk similar to, and proscribe conduct that is similar in kind to, the offenses listed in the statute – burglary, arson, extortion and offenses involving explosives – to qualify as a “crime of violence.” For “in kind” similarity, the statute must involve conduct that is “purposeful,” “violent,” and “aggressive.”

Here, the court applied this same rubric to the definition of “crime of violence” in sentencing …


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Wednesday, February 27th, 2008

Risky Business

United States v. Lynch, No. 05-6048-cr (2d Cir. February 27, 2008) (Calabresi, Raggi, Hall, CJJ)

David Lynch received a 15-year sentence under the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA) and appealed. In an opinion that covered no new ground, the circuit affirmed. It held (again) that New York State convictions for attempted burglary in the third degree (N.Y. Penal Law §§ 110/140.20) and criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree (N.Y. Penal Law § 265.03) both involve “conduct that presents a serious potential risk of physical injury to another.”

For the attempted burglary, the court reaffirmed its decision in United States v. Andrello, 9 F.3d 247 (2d Cir. 1993) (per curiam), and also noted that a recent Supreme Court case, James v. United States, 127 S.Ct. 1586 (2007), held that attempted burglary is an ACCA predicate.

Similarly, in United States v. Danielson, 199 F.3d 666 (2d Cir. 1999) (per …


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Thursday, January 31st, 2008

Burglar Alarm

United States v. Brown, No. 05-5462-cr (2d Cir. January 30, 2008) (Kearse, Hall, CJJ, Rakoff, DJ)

This opinion deals with a seemingly straightforward issue: whether a New York State conviction for burglary in the third degree is a “crime of violence” under Guidelines section 4B1.2(a). It turns out, however, that the issue has a complication.

In Brown’s case, the district court held that the burglary conviction increased his offense level under U.S.S.G. § 2K2.1(a), which uses the Chapter 4 definition of crime of violence. The complication is that, under this definition, a crime of violence is “an offense . . . that . . . is burglary of a dwelling . . . or otherwise involves conduct that presents a serious potential risk” of injury. The New York statute proscribes burglary of a “building,” which is broader than a “dwelling,” thus third-degree burglary can only be a crime of violence …


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