Friday, February 06, 2009

If I Had A Hammer

United States v. Pope, No. 08-1007-cr (2d Cir. February 3, 2009) (Cabranes, Livingston, CJJ, Eaton, DJ)

Steven W. Pope pled guilty to two counts of bank burglary, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2113(a). During one of the burglaries, he broke a side window of a Chase branch with a sledgehammer. Based on this, at sentencing, the court enhanced his offense level by two levels for possessing a “deadly weapon.”

He unsuccessfully challenged this enhancement on appeal. The Guideline, § 2B2.1(b)(4), requires the enhancement if a “dangerous weapon ... was possessed.” Here, Pope conceded that the sledgehammer was a dangerous weapon and that he possessed it, but argued that he used it only to facilitate the burglary, and did not intend for it to serve as a weapon. To the circuit, this did not matter. “The fact that he did not use the sledgehammer as a weapon is irrelevant to the issue of possession.” Moreover, to “hold otherwise would directly contradict the plain meaning of this provision of the Guidelines, and would lead to absurd results.”



Post a Comment

<< Home