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Westlake Legal Group > Uncategorized (Page 8)

In unusual 5-4 lineup, Supreme Court deems necklace snatching to be violent felony

U.S. Supreme Court

The U.S. Supreme Court’s newest member, Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh, joined in an unusual majority lineup on Tuesday in a decision that deemed a necklace snatching to be a violent felony under an enhanced sentencing law.

Justice Clarence Thomas wrote the majority opinion holding that Denard Stokeling had to be sentenced under a federal law setting a minimum 15-year sentence for some repeat offenders. He was joined by Kavanaugh, along with Justices Stephen G. Breyer, Samuel A. Alito Jr. and Neil M. Gorsuch. Breyer is a member of the court’s liberal wing.

The case was the first one heard by Kavanaugh in oral arguments after he joined the court. The Washington Post, the National Law Journal and the New York Times have coverage of the decision.

The law is the Armed Career Criminal Act, which requires a minimum sentence when a person convicted of a federal firearms offense has at least three prior violent felonies.

Stokeling had been convicted of being a felon in possession of a gun after he acknowledged having a gun in his backpack during a robbery investigation. His lawyers had argued that one of his prior crimes—a robbery conviction for necklace snatching—didn’t qualify as a violent felony.

Stokeling’s lawyers argued that a crime isn’t violent unless it requires physical force that is reasonably expected to cause pain or injury.

Thomas disagreed. Stokeling’s necklace-snatching conviction was under a Florida law that requires proof of resistance overcome by physical force of the offender. That makes the crime inherently violence, Thomas said.

“Robbery that must overpower a victim’s will—even a feeble or weak-willed victim—necessarily involves a physical confrontation and struggle,” Thomas wrote.

Thomas said Stokeling’s proposed standard is inconsistent with the common law definition of robbery and would be “exceedingly difficult” to apply. “We decline to impose yet another indeterminable line-drawing exercise on the lower courts,” Thomas wrote.

In a dissent, Justice Sonia Sotomayor argued that Thomas’ opinion distorted prior precedent. The majority cited the case, but honors it in the breach, Sotomayor wrote. She was joined by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Elena Kagan and Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

The case is Stokeling v. United States.


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WATCH: Francois – The ERG will vote with the Government today

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Andrew Gimson’s Commons sketch: Nobody is yet saying “Send for Corbyn”

Jeremy Corbyn is a better Leader of the Opposition than he was, but still does not sound like a Prime Minister in waiting. As he opened the No Confidence debate, he took the precaution of taking few interventions from other MPs.

But those interventions were still sufficient to demonstrate the utter nullity of his European policy. When Alistair Carmichael asked if Labour supports a second referendum, Corbyn could only say that “all options are on the table”.

He said the Prime Minister should keep all options on the table too, but proceeded to contradict himself by urging her to “rule out No Deal”.

Corbyn went on to allow an intervention from Anna Soubry (Con, Broxtowe). She pointed out that the Conservatives are six points ahead in the opinion polls, and wondered whether this could be because “he’s the most hopeless Leader of the Opposition we’ve ever had”.

Corbyn could have replied that her remark did not exactly constitute a declaration of confidence in the Prime Minister. He instead insisted, less ambitiously, that he looked forward to testing public opinion in a general election. But he admitted that many people think we have had quite enough elections and referendums in recent years to be going on with.

And he did not even sound very enthusiastic himself about the idea of an election. The longer he spoke, the less sense one had that he was convincing himself, let alone anyone else.

“Send for Corbyn” is not yet a message that leaps to people’s lips. In that sense, the whole occasion sounded rather bogus, an obligatory ritual rather than a genuine attempt to throw out the Government.

“Stick with May” is still a message the Tory benches are prepared to heed. But the Father of the House, Ken Clarke, had already told her at Prime Minister’s Questions, from his bench a few yards behind her: “She must now modify her red lines…and find a cross-party majority.”

Clarke nodded quietly when Angela Eagle and Yvette Cooper made the same point from the Labour benches.

This was difficult territory for the Prime Minister. She had to show she is prepared to listen to reasonable suggestions from across the House about Brexit, without making her own Eurosceptics fear she is about to outflank them by forming an alliance with Labour moderates.

Liam Byrne (Lab, Birmingham Hodge Hill) said she was imprisoned in “a cage of red lions”, which sounded a dangerous place to be, but it turned out that he had said “a cage of red lines”, which sounded a bit less bad.

May naturally flung at him the famous note he left in 2010 for his successor as Chief Secretary to the Treasury, “I’m afraid there is no money left.”

Byrne said in his own defence, “I was naive to honour a Treasury tradition that went back to Churchill.” By now, the heat was clearly off May. But it was also clear that no one, including herself, yet knows how to devise a Brexit policy which can command a Commons majority.

 

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Video shows deadly blast in US-patrolled Syrian city

ISIS has claimed responsibility for a deadly explosion that resulted in several reported casualties in a Syrian city where US soldiers are deployed in the area, a militia controlling the city and a UK-based monitoring group said Wednesday.

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Pelosi asks Trump to move State of the Union address or deliver it in writing

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has sent a letter to President Donald Trump asking to move the day of the State of the Union address or deliver it in writing, citing security concerns from the ongoing government shutdown.

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Coast Guard service members miss first paycheck due to government shutdown

Thousands of active duty US Coast Guard service members did not receive their paycheck Tuesday — the first time in history that US Armed Forces service members were not paid during a lapse in government funding, according to the branch’s top official.

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