United States v. Dominguez -Maroyoqui

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Law
  • Date Filed: 04-07-2014
  • Case #: 13-50066
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge Watford for the Court; Circuit Judges N.R. Smith and Farris
  • Full Text Opinion

A violation of 18 U.S.C. § 111(a) is not a categorical crime of violence, and a felony conviction under that subsection cannot support a “crime of violence” sentence enhancement under U.S.S.G. § 2L1.2(b)(1)(A).

After Carlos Dominguez-Maroyoqui pleaded guilty to an 8 U.S.C. § 1326 illegal reentry violation, the district court levied a 12-level enhancement on Dominguez-Maroyoqui’s sentence pursuant to United States Sentencing Guidelines (“Guidelines”) § 2L1.2(b)(1)(A)(ii). This subsection increases the level of the illegal reentry violation where a defendant has been convicted of a crime that is both a “crime of violence” and a felony. Guidelines § 2L1.2 defines “crime of violence” as either: the particular offenses delineated therein, or “any other offense under federal, state, or local law that has as an element the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against another.” The district court held that a 1996 conviction under 18 U.S.C. § 111(a), stemming from Dominguez-Maroyoqui’s assault of a federal officer, qualified as a “crime of violence,” resulting in the enhancement. The Ninth Circuit, upon review, employed a categorical approach, looking at the elements of the crime, not to the particular facts involved in Dominguez-Maroyoqui’s conviction. The panel ultimately disagreed with the district court, holding that § 111(a) does not fit the definition of a “crime of violence” set forth in § 2L1.2. The panel reasoned that: (1) § 111(a) does not match any of the particular offenses delineated in the definition; and, (2) that § 111(a) does not require any proof that a defendant “use[d], attempted use, or threatened use of physical force…” as a necessary element. Section 111(a) does require proof of “at least some form of assault,” but the panel noted that it need not rise to the level of “physical force” § 2L1.2 requires. Thus, the panel held that a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 111(a) is not a categorical crime of violence, and a felony conviction under that subsection cannot support a “crime of violence” enhancement under U.S.S.G. § 2L1.2(b)(1)(A). VACATED and REMANDED.

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