Forceful Result Not The Same As Use Of Force

US v. Miguel-Torres: Miguel-Torres was convicted of illegal reentry.  In the PSR, the probation officer classified his prior California conviction for "willfully threatening to commit a crime that would result in death or great bodily injury" as a "crime of violence," triggering a 16-level Guideline enhancement.  Over Miguel-Torres's objection, the district court adopted the PSR's conclusion and sentenced Miguel-Torres to the bottom of the resulting Guideline range.

On appeal, Miguel-Torres argued that his prior conviction was not categorically a crime of violence and his sentence was unreasonable.  The Fourth Circuit agreed.  Applying a categorical approach (because the California statute at issue did not contain "divisible categories"), noting that other courts had split on the application of this statute and rejecting the approach of the Ninth Circuit.  The court concluded that although the statute contains a threatened violent result, it does not have as an element the use or threatened use of physical force.  As an example of a crime that could lead to a lethal result without the use of force, the court points to murder by poisoning.  Miguel-Torres's sentence was vacated and the case remanded for resentencing.

Congrats to the defender office in South Carolina for the win!