Criminal law

Second Circuit rules for second-degree kidnapping as a criminal conviction that does not amount to a crime of violence | Patterson Belknap Webb and Tyler LLP


At its most extreme last opinion In the United States v. Eldridge The Case, Second Circuit (Shane, Sullivan, W nardini) (painting”) It held that second-degree kidnapping under the New York Penal Code is not a crime of violence pursuant to 18 USC § 924(c)(3)(A). Thamud Eldridge was found guilty of possession of a firearm in furtherance of three confirmed violent crimes charged on two separate charges. One of those charges charged Eldridge with kidnapping in aid of racketeering, where the crime of kidnapping was second-degree kidnapping under New York law. The second count charged Eldridge with Hobbs Act theft under two different possible theories – conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act theft and attempted Hobbs Act theft. The jury convicted Eldridge on all counts, made no determination on any predicate or predicate, and based its conclusion that Eldridge was guilty of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence.

when we were Last wrote about Eldridge In 2021, the court considered, among other things, whether to overturn Eldridge’s conviction for possession of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence because the Supreme Court had meanwhile held that a robbery conspiracy under the Hobbs Act was not a crime of violence. United States v. Eldridge2 F.4th 27, 42 (2d Cir. 2021) (“Eldridge I“). The court held that any error that might have occurred if Eldridge’s conviction had been based on a conspiracy to steal Hobbes’ law did not affect Eldridge’s substantive rights because there was overwhelming evidence that the jury would also have convicted Eldridge of attempting to steal Hobbes’ law, which at that time remained A violent crime. See United States v. McCoy995 F.3d 32, 57 (2d Cir. 2021) (“The Hobbs Act considers attempted robbery a crime of violence under Section 924(c)….”).

But the Supreme Court then overturned Eldridge I The case was returned for further study in the light of its decision United States v. Taylor, 142 cc. 2015 (2022). in Taylor18 Southern University California § 924(c)(3)(a). Taylorneither the conspiracy to violate the Hobbs Act, nor the attempted Hobbs Act counts, count as crimes of violence to support a conviction under section 924(c).

In light of this, in his latest book Eldridge Resolution, the panel must consider whether a second-degree kidnapping conviction under New York law constitutes a crime of violence. Both Eldridge and the government maintained that this had not happened, and the committee agreed. In this regard, the Committee used the modified categorical approach. The Commission considered the minimum conduct necessary for conviction under the offense of second-degree kidnapping and concluded that a person could be convicted of this offense for using deception to detain a victim in a location where the victim was unlikely to be found. Therefore, a conviction for this crime does not require the use, attempted use, or threat of use of physical force, and therefore does not constitute a crime of violence. Because none of the three possible predicate acts for which Eldridge was convicted were classified as a violent crime, the panel vacated Eldridge’s conviction for possession of a firearm in furtherance of a violent crime. The opinion did not prejudice any other ruling in it Eldridge I.

This case provides another example of how the Supreme Court’s decision can impact United States v. Davis588 US 2319 (2019), Which invalidated the remainder clause of section 924(c)(3)(B), resulting in the Second Circuit ruling that more and more convictions do not constitute crimes of violence. Supreme Court decision in the last semester Taylor He continued this trend and led to more conviction charges being overturned. Accordingly, Eldridge is the latest case of a defendant whose conviction for possession of a firearm in furtherance of a violent crime was overturned.

While a categorical approach remains the norm for assessing whether a predicate act was a crime of violence, some judges on the circuit have increasingly questioned the wisdom of that approach. in United States v. Morris, 61 F.4th 311, 317 n. In Case 9 (2d Cir. 2023), Justice Cabranes compared the categorical approach (in a footnote) to Alice’s “journey through the looking glass” and “Sabine Moreau’s 900-mile journey to a train station approximately 38 miles away.” (Citations and internal citations omitted). “Congress can give us an exit ramp at any time,” he added. Identification card. In response, Judge Loeher wrote a short, separate opinion. Judge Loehr noted that while “the categorical approach is complex” and that he “sympathizes with the concerns of my judicial colleagues who have called for it to be reformed or eliminated entirely,” he noted that “there is some wisdom in the current system.” Identification card. At 321 (Lohier, J., concurring). He explained that it prevents the reconsideration of previous convictions, which may take a long time, and it is also more protective of the rights of defendants when issuing a sentence, whether in due legal procedures or to avoid judicial fact-finding that is used to increase the legal maximum penalties. Violation of the Sixth Amendment. Identification card. at 321-22. There is no doubt either Eldridge no Maurice The final word will be on the application or wisdom of the categorical approach.


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