Thursday, November 2, 2017

Hobbs Act robbery is not a crime of violence under Career Offender Guideline

Remember when we kept blogging about robbery and crimes of violence? Well, we are back to that again. Earlier this week in United States v. O'Connor, the 10th Circuit held that a robbery conviction that can be committed through threats to property is: (1) not generic robbery, and (2) not the new guideline definition of extortion. As the Court explained:
In both instances, we conclude that because Hobbs Act robbery includes threats to property, it is broader than both generic robbery and Guidelines extortion, which are limited to threats to a person. Hobbs Act robbery is therefore not categorically a crime of violence under the enumerated offense clause. 
The case is a good reminder to always read the commentary to the Guidelines. In the August 1, 2016 changes to the Career Offender Guideline (which also removes the residual clause and moved some enumerated offenses from the commentary to the Guideline itself) the commission created a new, narrow definition of extortion. If the generic definition of extortion would have remained instead of the narrower definition, most likely Mr. O'Connor's conviction would have been affirmed (see: United States v. Castillo). 

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