Categorical Approach Update

Posted by on February 10, 2017 in Blog

United States v. Steiner, __ F.3d __, 2017 WL 437657 (3d Cir. Feb. 1, 2017): The Court held that Pennsylvania burglary (18 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. §3502(A)) is categorically not a crime of violence for purposes of U.S.S.G. §2K2.1 / §4B1.2.

United States v. Driver, __ F.3d __, 2017 WL 382307 (11th Cir. Jan. 27, 2017): The Court held that Florida’s false-imprisonment statute (Fla. Stat. Ann. §787.02)—which defines the crime as “forcibly, by threat, or secretly confining, abducting, imprisoning, or restraining another person without lawful authority and against her or his will”—does not necessarily require the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force, so it was plain error to use a conviction under that statute as an ACCA predicate.

United States v. Solano-Hernandez, __ F.3d __, 2017 WL 383371 (5th Cir. Jan. 26, 2017): The Court held that a New Jersey child-endangerment statute (N.J. Stat. Ann. §2C:24-4) was divisible and therefore subject to the modified categorical approach. But the modified categorical approach did not allow the district court to consider a “Statement of Reasons for Sentence,” which was attached to the state court judgment, absent any showing that the defendant had assented to those reasons.

United States v. Mendez-Henriquez, __ F.3d __, 2017 WL 414381 (5th Cir. Jan. 30, 2017): The Court held that California Penal Code §246—which criminalizes maliciously and willfully discharging a firearm at an inhabited dwelling house, occupied building, occupied motor vehicle, occupied aircraft, inhabited housecar, or inhabited camper—is divisible as to target of the shooting. The defendant was charged with discharging a firearm at an occupied motor vehicle, and the majority concluded that this crime “has as an element the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against the person of another” and is therefore a crime of violence for purposes of U.S.S.G. §2L1.2. But a dissenting judge disagreed that shooting at an occupied vehicle necessarily involves force against the occupant.