« Ind. Decisions - Court of Appeals issues 0 opinion(s) today (and 11 NFP memorandum decision(s)) | Main | Ind. Decisions - Upcoming oral arguments this week and next »

Friday, August 12, 2016

Ind. Decisions - 7th Circuit decides one Indiana case today, involves Indiana's robbery statute

In USA v. Darrell Duncan (ND Ind., Miller), a 13-page opinion, Judge Hamilton writes:

The only issue in this appeal is whether a conviction under Indiana’s robbery statute, Indiana Code § 35-42-5-1, includes as an element “the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against the person of another” such that it qualifies as a violent felony under the elements clause of the definition in the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA), 18 U.S.C. § 924(e)(2)(B)(i). Our conclusion that Indiana robbery is a violent felony might seem about as interesting as a prediction that the sun will rise in the east to-morrow. Nevertheless, the intricate law that has developed around the classification of prior convictions for recidivist sentencing enhancements can produce some surprising results. See, e.g., Mathis v. United States, 579 U.S. —, 136 S. Ct. 2243 (2016) (burglary conviction not a violent felony under ACCA); Johnson v. United States, 559 U.S. 133 (2010) (battery conviction not a violent felony under ACCA); United States v. Gardner, 823 F.3d 793, 804 (4th Cir. 2016) (North Carolina common law robbery conviction not a violent felony under ACCA).

A person can commit robbery under Indiana Code § 35-42-5-1 by taking property by “putting any person in fear.” The statute itself does not tell us what the person must fear. Indiana case law teaches that the answer is fear of bodily injury. A conviction for such “robbery by fear” thus has as an element “the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against the person of another.” A conviction for robbery under the Indiana statute qualifies under the still-valid elements clause of the ACCA definition of violent felony. * * *

The judgment of the district court is AFFIRMED.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on August 12, 2016 06:35 PM
Posted to Ind. (7th Cir.) Decisions