Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals - Published Opinions

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Schneider: Florida False Imprisonment is Violent Felony

In U.S. v. Schneider, No. 10-15863 (May 24, 2012), the Court held that a prior conviction for false imprisonment in violation of Fla. Stat. § 787.02(1)(a), qualifies as a violent felony for purposes of the Armed Career Criminal Act.

The Court rejected the government’s argument that the defendant waived the issue by failing to object to the underlying facts set forth in the PSI. The Court noted that while Schneider’s objection to the factual paragraph of the PSI focused on a legal argument rather than setting out any factual dispute, he did state that false imprisonment includes “nonviolent” conduct. In addition, the premise of the argument at sentencing was that the factual allegations did not suffice to support the ACCA enhancement.

The Court noted that in false imprisonment cases in which a defendant “secretly” – i.e., by ruse, abducted another person, a risk of injury can result once the victim might try to resist or escape. The Court analogized the risk to the risk of injury caused by a vehicular flight, which the Supreme Court found to be a violent felony in Sykes v. U.S. The Court rejected the defendant’s analogy to a perpetrator’s failure to report for scheduled weekend confinement, which Chambers v. U.S. held did not qualify as a violent felony.