Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals - Published Opinions

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Harris: Fleeing Police at High Speed is "Crime of Violence"

In U.S. v. Harris, No. 08-15909 (Nov. 3, 2009), the Court affirmed reliance on a prior Florida state conviction for eluding a police officer at a high rate of speed as a “crime of violence” for Guidelines criminal history sentence enhancement purposes.

The Court noted that the elements of the offense were fleeing at high speed or a wanton disregard for safety, which are akin to crimes committed while aware that “violence might ensue.” The Court stated that a person who fled police at a high speed is the kind of person who might point a gun and pull the trigger. The crime displays a “callousness toward risk.” The conduct is also “aggressive” because highways are populated with people. The Court cited cases on other Circuits which reached the same conclusion.