Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals - Published Opinions

Monday, November 26, 2007

Hurtado: Misuse of Identification Does not require theft

In U.S. v. Hurtado, No. 07-11138 (Nov. 21, 2007), the Court affirmed the conviction of a defendant convicted of unlawfully using another person’s identification, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1028A(a)(1).
The Court rejected the argument that the conviction should be vacated because proof that the defendant "stole" the identification of another, and proof that the defendant knew that the identification was of an "actual person," were elements of the offense, which the government failed to prove. The Court explained that the statute criminalizes use of identification "without lawful authority," and this definition encompasses situations other than theft of the identification. The Court further explained that knowledge of that there is an actual person is not an element of the offense, because this is not required to avoid convicting the defendant of non-culpable conduct.