Archive | explosives

Friday, September 23rd, 2016

Is Hobbs Act Extortion a “Crime of Violence”?

In today’s United States v. Sheehan, the Second Circuit (Winter, Wesley, Lynch) affirmed a conviction for using a “destructive device” during a “crime of violence,” in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1)(B)(ii).

Wearing a wig, an arm sling and makeup, Sheehan planted an almost-complete pipe bomb in a Home Depot on Long Island.  He sent a letter to the store, saying there was a bomb and demanding $2 million so he could “go[] to a warm climate with thin brown girls and drink [him]self to death.”  He promised to repay the money in the form of a $2 million “life insurance policy naming Home Depot beneficiary.”  The almost-complete bomb was recovered and no one was hurt.

Arrested and brought to trial, Sheehan conceded guilt on what was charged as the underlying “crime of violence” — Hobbs Act extortion in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1951 — but denied …

Posted by
Categories: explosives, extortion

Posted By
Categories: explosives, extortion

Continue Reading
Saturday, September 8th, 2012

The Cartridge Family

United States v. Graham, No. 09-2819-cr (2d Cir. August 15, 2012) (Cabranes, Livingston, Carney, CJJ)

Title 18, U.S.C. § 844(h) makes it a separate offense to use “an explosive” to commit a federal felony. During an attempted extortion of one of his fellow-gang members – a dispute over some robbery proceeds – defendant Graham fired a cartridge from his 9-millimeter semi-automatic into the ground. A jury convicted defendant Graham under this section, amongst other offenses; his 50-year sentence included the ten-year mandatory consecutive sentence that the statute requires.

On appeal, however, the circuit agreed that the single cartridge in his semi-automatic handgun did not constitute an “explosive.” It reversed the conviction on the § 844(h) count and remanded the case for resentencing.

Superficially, it would seem like firing a bullet might well trigger the statute (bad pun, I know). Section 844(j) defines “explosive” for purposes of § 844(h) as, …

Posted By
Categories: explosives, firearms, statutory construction, Uncategorized

Continue Reading