Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals - Published Opinions

Friday, May 18, 2007

Martinez: Physical Contact suffices for more serious assault than simple assault

In U.S. v. Martinez, No. 06-13429 (May 17, 2007), the Court affirmed a defendant’s conviction for forcibly assaulting a federal officer in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 111(a)(1). The offense arose out of the defendant-inmate’s striking a correction officer with what was or appeared to be urine.
The defendant challenged the jury instruction that a forcible assault "means an assault which results in physical contact which does not involve a deadly weapon or bodily harm." The defendant claimed that the more serious level of assault with which he was charged under § 111(a)(1) – more serious than "simple assault" – required a finding of a threat to inflict serious bodily injury. The Court rejected this argument, finding that an assault with actual physical contact suffices to prove more than just simple assault.
The Court rejected Martinez' challenge to the restitution order, which required him to pay the corrections officer $1,801.63 for the medical tests the officer paid for after the assault. The Court noted that restitution was authorized under the Mandatory Victims Restitution Act.