Friday, November 1st, 2019

Connecticut First-Degree Robbery is a Crime of Violence Under Section 16(a)

Continuing to develop its “crime of violence” jurisprudence, the Second Circuit held that Connecticut first-degree robbery, Section 53a-134(a)(4), is a crime of violence under 18 U.S.C. § 16(a).

In Wood v. Barr, 17-514-ag (2d Cir. Nov. 1, 2019), a lawful permanent resident facing deportation argued that his Connecticut robbery conviction was not a “crime of violence,” and therefore not an aggravated felony.

Since the Supreme Court struck down Section 16(b)’s so-called residual clause in Sessions v. Dimaya, the Second Circuit focused on Section 16(a)’s elements clause. This provision defines a “crime of violence” as an offense that has an element requiring “the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against the person or property of another.” The Circuit adopted its rationale in an earlier decision, United States v. Bordeaux, 886 F.3d 189 (2d Cir. 2018), which addressed New York first-degree robbery. The Circuit noted that the Connecticut robbery statute at issue required the perpetrator to “display[] or threaten[] the use of what he represents by his words or conduct to be a pistol, revolver, rifle, shotgun, machine gun or other firearm.” The crime thus requires the threatened use of force because “[e]ven mere ‘display’ of a firearm during a larceny … necessarily implies a threat to commit violence.” Connecticut first-degree robbery in violation of Section 53a-134(a)(4) is therefore a crime of violence for purposes of 18 U.S.C. § 16(a).

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