United State v. Garcia-Jimenez

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Law
  • Date Filed: 11-19-2015
  • Case #: 14-10484
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge Berzon for the Court; Circuit Judges Fletch and Bea
  • Full Text Opinion

Where a state statute’s required mens rea is more broad than a federal statute, the crime will not constitute a crime of violence; a crime-of-violence sentencing enhancement will therefore be improper.

Alberto Garcia-Jimenez was convicted for illegally reentering the United Staes. Due to Garcia-Jimenez previously having been convicted for aggravated assault, this incidentally increased his State sentence because it constituted a “crime of violence” under U.S. Sentencing Guidelines section 2L1.2. Garcia-Jimenez timely appealed, arguing that under the generic federal offense definition for aggravated assault, which increased his sentence because it qualified as a “crime of violence”, was not actually appropriate in his case. On appeal, the Ninth Circuit decided whether Garcia-Jimenez’s prior crime actually constituted a “crime of violence.” The panel explained that because the state had a broader definition of mens rea required for this crime than that of the federal definition, to have increased Garcia-Jimenez sentence based on a crime-of-violence enhancement was improper and harmful. VACATED and REMANDED FOR RESENTENCING.

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