Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals - Published Opinions

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Hall: Guideline definition of "Crime of Violence" is Binding

In U.S. v. Hall, No. 12-11343 (April 16, 2013), the Court held that Hall’s prior conviction for possession of an unregistered sawed-off shotgun in violation qualified as a "crime of violence" for purposes of the USSG § 2K2.1(a)(4)(A) enhancement. The Court pointed out that the commentary to the Guidelines that defines a "crime of violence" explicitly states that unlawfully possessing a sawed-off rifle is a crime of violence. The Court noted that this Guideline commentary is "binding." Consequently, the Court rejected Hall’s arguments, based on caselaw interpreting a "violent felony" under the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA), that possession of a sawed-off shotgun should not qualify as a "crime of violence." These arguments were unavailing in the face of the binding Guideline commentary.