Tuesday, August 09, 2005

US v. Dowd

No. 04-30062 (8-8-05). Defendant was convicted of violating the federal interstate domestic violence law in that he forced his girlfriend to cross state lines. On appeal he raised sufficiency of evidence, arguing that the girlfriend had ample chances to escape. The 9th would have none of it, discussing at length the facts of force, and threats, and intimidation that bound the companion to the defendant as he fled from the law (he had been released on a drug charge) and scored meth in a Western tour. The 9th looked at the element of coercion which did not require constant surveillance but that for the statute to be met, but coercion means fear or duress, and the psychological pressures can also meet the element. In sentencing the trial court considered the factors and went with a consecutive rather than a concurrent sentence; this was not an abuse of discretion given the findings of the nature of the offense, and that court's finding that the defendant was not capable of rehabilitation. There was no Booker error. The 9th also found no constitutional violation in using sexual assault as an enhancement as the indictment referred to sexual assault as the crime of violence committed against the victim. The case is remanded in light of Ameline.


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