Under federal law, crimes of violence are punished more harshly than other offenses. While the definition of a crime of violence is established by statute, disputes nonetheless continue regarding whether certain offenses fall under the definition. In a recent ruling, a Michigan court discussed what constitutes a crime of violence in a matter in which the defendant appealed his sentence following his conviction for carrying a firearm or abetting and aiding using a firearm in relation to a crime of violence. If you are accused of a criminal offense, it is in your best interest to speak to a trusted Michigan criminal defense attorney regarding your options.
The Facts of the Case
It is alleged that the defendant was charged with numerous federal crimes, including carrying a firearm or aiding and abetting using a firearm in relation to a crime of violence. A jury convicted him, and he was sentenced to serve sixty consecutive months in prison for the firearm offense. He filed a motion to vacate his sentence, arguing that abetting and aiding attempted robbery, the underlying crime of violence, was not a crime of violence as defined by the applicable statute. The trial court denied his motion, and he appealed.
Crimes of Violence Under Federal Law
An appellate court will review the question of whether an offense is considered a crime of violence de novo. In doing so, they must apply the categorical approach as dictated by the elements clause of the relevant statute. In other words, they must assess the elements of the alleged offense rather than the particular facts out of which the defendant’s conviction arose. Continue Reading ›