Wednesday, April 5th, 2023

Kidnapping is Not a Crime of Violence

Most courts (and the government) have for a while acknowledged that kidnapping is not a crime of violence given that it can be accomplished through deception and thus without physical force.  The Second Circuit has now acknowledged this too, holding in US v. Eldridge that NY kidnapping in aid of federal racketeering isn’t a 924(c) predicate: it can be committed using “deception to hold a victim in a place” and thus without “the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force.”

PS – The career offender guideline lists “kidnapping” as a COV but doesn’t define it, meaning the generic definition (how most jurisdictions define it) applies.  The DC Circuit surveyed the law and decided generic kidnapping requires “a criminal purpose beyond the mere intent to restrain the victim.”  US v. De Jesus Ventura, 565 F.3d 870, 876 (D.C. Cir. 2009).  Neither federal kidnapping nor NY kidnapping requires such heightened intent, see id. at 876-77, meaning neither offense qualifies as generic kidnapping.

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Categories: 924(c), crime of violence
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