Supreme Court limits the scope of federal gun crime law

Washington (AP) — Tuesday’s Supreme Court has restricted the scope of federal law that requires strict penalties for crimes, including guns.

The 7-2 decision An opposition judge compared the results to “Alice in Wonderland,” but united both conservative and liberal judges. The judge said the law could not be used to extend the judgment of a criminal convicted of a particular attempted robbery.

The case before the judge involved justin Taylor, a marijuana dealer in the region of Richmond, Virginia, in the early 2000s. The government said he sold a large amount of marijuana to the other dealers who distributed it. In 2003 he and another man planned to steal money from the buyer, and during the robbery the accomplice shot him deadly.

Taylor was charged with “attempted Hobbs Act robbery,” a federal crime punishable by imprisonment for up to 20 years. He was also charged under federal law outlining the mandatory minimum sentence for using firearms in connection with “crimes of violence.” Taylor pleaded guilty to both and was sentenced to 30 years, 10 years longer than he was charged with robbery.

However, a majority of courts ruled that Taylor would not be subject to a longer sentence because the Hobbs Act robbery attempt was not considered a violent crime.

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“Simply put, the elements of the Hobbs Act robbery attempt do not require evidence that the defendant used, attempted to use, or threatened to use power,” Judge Neil Gorsuch wrote in a majority of courts. rice field.

The judge upheld the Federal Court of Appeals’ ruling that Taylor should be re-judged on suspicion of robbery under the Hobbs Act.

In dissenting opinion, Judge Clarence Thomas quoted Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland” and “Through the Looking Glass”. He said this decision is an example of how the court’s approach to deciding this type of case led the inferior court in the “Seeing Glass Journey,” where judges discovered many “strange things.” Said that. He said, like Alice, the court wandered “far down the rabbit hole.”

“I will hold Taylor responsible for what he actually did and support his beliefs,” he wrote.

Judge Samuel Alito also opposed and agreed that the court proceedings in this area of ​​law “turned into a fantastic land.”

Francis Pratt, one of Taylor’s lawyers, said in an email that his lawyer “is pleased to know that the Supreme Court has ruled our client,” and this decision will help others. I hope that. Taylor’s indictment arose when Virginia officials brought these cases to federal court instead of state court and attempted to reduce Richmond’s high murder rate by cracking down on gun crime. This effort was called “project expulsion.”


The case is US vs. Taylor, 20-1459.