Thursday, February 01, 2018

US v. Watson, No. 16-15357 (2-1-18)(per curiam w/Wallace, Watford, & Sands).

The 9th affirms a denial of a habeas petition arguing that federal armed bank robbery, 18 USC 2113(a) and (d), is not a “crime of violence” under the force clause of 924(c). The 9th reasons that since unarmed bank robbery requires force, so too must armed bank robbery.  The 9th rejects the argument that one way of committing bank robbery, through intimidation, does not meet the Johnson standard requiring violent physical force. The 9th finds that “intimidation” requires a taking of property in a manner that a reasonable person would fear of bodily harm.  Gutierrez, 876 F.3d at 1256-57.  It requires an implicit threat of harm. The 9th also rejects the argued lack of adequate mens rea in intimidation, holding that “intimidation” requires a knowing use of violent physical force; it cannot be through negligence. Lastly, the 9th rejects the amicus argument that even if the offense of bank robbery is a COV, it is one indivisible statute that also includes extortion, which is not a COV.  The 9th concludes that the statute is really two offenses, bank robbery and extortion.

Kudos for the effort of Peter Wolff, FPD Ofc, Hawaii, and amicus of AFPDs Mia Crager, David Porter, and FPD Heather Williams of Cal E (Sacramento).
The decision is here:


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