The Court determined that Georgia aggravated assault roughly corresponded to the generic version of aggravated assault, which the Court had previously defined in Palomino-Garcia as a criminal assault accompanied by either an intent to cause serious bodily injury or the use of a deadly weapon. The Court initially found that Georgia's aggravated assault statute was divisible, and, using Shepard documents, determined that the defendant was convicted of aggravated assault by using a deadly weapon or other object/device/instrument that is likely to or actually does result in serious bodily injury when used offensively. Although aggravated assault with a deadly weapon was generic, the defendant argued that the Georgia offense was overbroad because it could be committed with an object, device, or instrument. The Court rejected that argument because the Georgia courts had made clear that the object/device/instrument must be used as a deadly weapon. That sufficed because the deadly weapon, as used in the generic offense, could be dangerous due to the way in which it was used in a particular case. Finally, the Court rejected the defendant's argument that Georgia's statute could be violated by the use of an object/device/instrumentality that just happened to cause serious bodily injury, such as a golfer accidentally hitting someone with his ball. The Court found that such conduct would not violate the statute, and the defendant's hypothetical was not supported by any case law and represented "legal imagination" rather than a "realistic possibility."
Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals - Published Opinions
Friday, January 05, 2018
Morales-Alonso: Georgia Aggravated Assault is a Crime of Violence Under the Enumerated Offense Clause of the Guidelines
In United States v. Morales-Alonso, No. 16-14925 (Jan. 5, 2018) (Julie Carnes, Edmondson, Kathy Williams), the Court held that Georgia aggravated assault qualified as a "crime of violence" under the enumerated offense clause, which is contained in the commentary to U.S.S.G. 2L1.2 and enumerates "aggravated assault."