United States v. Garcia

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Law
  • Date Filed: 09-18-2014
  • Case #: 12-10189
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge Rawlinson for the Court; Circuit Judge Tallman and Senior District Judge Garbis
  • Full Text Opinion

The Commerce Clause jurisdictional requirements for an 18 U.S.C. § 844(i) conviction are satisfied, so long as the building and vehicle damaged are used in, or affect interstate commerce.

Following an investigation of Daniel Garcia and a search of his home, police found evidence connecting Garcia to a crime involving a pipe bomb damaging an apartment building and a vehicle. The government found Garcia in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 844(i) for “maliciously damag[ing] and destroy[ing], by means of an explosive, a building and vehicle used in interstate commerce, and in an activity affecting interstate commerce.” If an apartment building is used as rental property, it is used in interstate commerce, and if a vehicle is transported from the state it was manufactured, it is also used in interstate commerce. Garcia filed a motion to dismiss arguing that the Commerce Clause jurisdictional requirements of § 844(i) were not met. The district court denied Garcia’s motion. On appeal, the Ninth Circuit held that there was sufficient evidence presented that the apartment building was used as rental property, which means that the building was used in interstate commerce, and the fact that Garcia’s explosive damaged the building, shows that the Commerce Clause jurisdictional requirements of § 844(i) were satisfied. Based on Russell v. United States and United States v. Gomez, which held that “all rental property affects commerce sufficiently enough to warrant federal jurisdiction under section 844(i),” the panel held that the government did satisfy the Commerce Clause jurisdictional requirements for an 18 U.S.C. § 844(i) conviction. AFFIRMED.

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