Thursday, October 05, 2006

Simple Assault on a Peace Officer is not Generic Aggravated Assault, and Therefore not a 2L1.2 Crime of Violence

United States v. Fierro-Reyna, No. 05-51198 (5th Cir. Sept. 28, 2006) (Smith, Garza, Clement)

If you're looking for a textbook example of how to deal with the enumerated offense prong of guideline ยง2L1.2's 16-level crime of violence definition, then you need look no further than Fierro-Reyna. In fact, this opinion is so well-reasoned and so concise (it clocks in at a trim six pages) that you might as well just read the whole thing instead of a summary. Okay, maybe just a short preview:
  • Fierro-Reyna holds that simple assault on a police officer (which Texas classified as aggravated assault) is not generic aggravated assault because only a small minority of states treat a victim's status as a police officer as an aggravator that will convert simple assault into aggravated assault.
  • The opinion explains that that Taylor is the source of the common-sense approach to enumerated crimes of violence (thus putting to rest the notion that the common-sense approach is any different from or less rigorous than the categorical approach).
  • Where other cases have just relied on the Model Penal Code for the generic definition of an enumerated offense, Fierro-Reyna canvasses all of the relevant sources for the definition of generic aggravated assault, including Black's Law Dictionary, LaFave's "Substantive Criminal Law," and the statutes of other states (and in doing so Fierro-Reyna reveals that LaFave needs some updating on the point at issue in this case).
  • Astonishigly, the Government actually argued that "any conviction a state labels with the title of one of the enumerated crimes of violence automatically triggers a sentence enhancement." As you know by now, the court held otherwise.

Sounds pretty good, doesn't it? Now go read the whole thing.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for adding the panel composition.

10/06/2006 09:01:00 AM  

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