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July 16, 2007

Ninth Circuit limits application of firearms enhancment

In a case that mentions Rambo and quotes from 12 Angry Men, a Ninth Circuit panel today in US v. Jimison, No. 06-30417 (9th Cir. July 16, 2007) (available here), limits the reach of a firearms enhancement under the federal sentencing guidelines.  Perhaps the fact that Hollywood is within the circuit helps account for the cinematic qualities of the decision in Jimison.

July 16, 2007 at 09:01 PM | Permalink


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Also notable that this guy's first and middle names are "Jessie James"

Posted by: JustClerk | Jul 17, 2007 8:40:47 AM

A guy steals his girlfriend's car, busts into a house, steals two guns and gun accessories, says he's on the run from the police, says he's going to go Rambo, and then apparently gets arrested before he gets a chance to use the guns (which, we are told, are locked "safely" in a stolen car, a proposition that many might find ironic coming from a federal judge). I've seen "intent" made out by far less "vague" comments (I love how Kozinski uses these adjectives such as "safely" and "vague" when characterizing the facts as if that changes how flimsy his argument is).

I am all in favor of limiting the use of this enhancement, which often amounts to thought-punishment, but this decision makes no logical sense given the standard of proof usually employed under the Guidelines - if one must have more than "possession" but need not have "cased the location or even have identified the specific bank," then it seems to me that Jessie James here had more than enough intent. The fact that he articulated it out loud gets him farther than most defendants who I have seen get this enhancement - in many courts, even thinking about using a gun (even if it is safely locked up in the trunk of the car you stole from your girlfriend) in connection with a totally unformed plan for a future incident which may, possibly, turn out to be felony, is sufficient evidence under the Guidellines.

Posted by: Anonymosity | Jul 18, 2007 11:01:00 AM

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