When I was growing up, my parents told me not to judge a book by its cover. The Supreme Court has expressed an analogous concern about concluding that a crime qualifies as a violent crime under the Armed Career Criminal Act (“ACCA”), based solely on the name of the crime. See Johnson v. United States, ___ U.S. ___, 135 S. Ct. 2551, 2560 (2015) (discussing whether Connecticut’s offense of “rioting at a correctional institution,” a crime that the Supreme Court characterized as “certainly sound[ing] like a violent felony,” qualifies as a violent felony under the residual clause of the ACCA).1
This case raises the question of whether the Florida crime of felony battery—a crime that, from its name, may sound like a crime of violence—actually satisfies the definition of “crime of violence” under §2L1.2 of the Sentencing Guidelines when it is committed by mere touching. Heeding the Supreme Court’s warning, we have carefully compared the elements of felony battery under Florida law to the “elements clause” of § 2L1.2’s definition of “crime of violence.” Based on our review, we now hold that felony battery under Fla. Stat. § 784.041 does not qualify as a “crime of violence” under § 2L1.2 when it is committed by mere touching. For this reason, we vacate Vail-Bailon’s sentence and remand for resentencing.
Wednesday, September 28, 2016
Another Johnson case leads to 3 opinions
This time it's United States v. Vail-Baron. Judge Rosenbaum writes the majority. Judge Jordan concurred. And visiting judge Eugene Siler (from the 6th) dissents. Judge Rosenbaum starts off her opinion this way: