First Circuit - Categorical Approach

United States v. Baez-Martinez, 950 F.3d 119 (1st Cir. 2020). Puerto Rico second-degree murder is a violent felony under the ACCA because it requires malice aforethought rather than ordinary recklessness. Puerto Rico attempted murder conviction is also a violent felony because it requires the use of violent force.

United States v. Colon-Maldonado, 953 F.3d 1 (1st Cir. 2020). Neither aggravated abuse nor attempted abuse under Puerto Rico law are categorically crimes of violence that constitute Grade A violations under §7B1.1(a)(1)(A)(i) because the abuse statute includes psychological abuse that causes emotional harm.

United States v. Garica-Cartagena, 953 F.3d 14 (1st Cir. 2020). A hybrid approach is used to classify the grade of a violation under §7B1.1(a). The first step involves classifying the grade of a violation using the categorical approach to determine whether an offense is a “crime of violence” or “controlled substance offense.” The second step involves using a conduct-based approach to determine if the defendant committed the offense. In the second step, the court can look beyond Shepard documents to any other reliable evidence.

United States v. Lewis, 963 F.3d 16 (1st Cir. 2020). Application Note 1 to §4B1.2 includes conspiracies and other inchoate crimes in the definitions for a crime of violence and a controlled substance offense, and this application note is valid. Prior First Circuit panels have held so, and “the case for finding that the prior panels would have reached a different result today is not so obviously correct” to allow overruling those decisions. On plain error review, the First Circuit declined to address whether a § 846 conspiracy is categorical mismatch with the generic definition.

United States v. Capelton, 966 F.3d 1 (1st Cir. 2020). Massachusetts possession with intent to distribute and distribution of a class B substance is a controlled substance offense under the career offender guideline at §4B1.2. The statute was not overbroad because the defendant did not show there was “a realistic probability” that Massachusetts would have applied the statute to conduct that fell outside the generic definition of aiding and abetting.

Boulanger v. United States, 978 F.3d 24 (1st Cir. 2020). New Hampshire robbery and armed robbery are violent felonies under the force clause of the ACCA. Federal robbery of a pharmacy in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2118(a) is a crime of violence supporting a conviction under 18 U.S.C. § 924(c).

United States v. Maldonado , 988 F.3d 103 (1st Cir. 2021). Massachusetts armed assault with intent to murder may be “crime of violence” under §4B1.2(a), even if “the conviction was or may have been based on a joint venture theory under Massachusetts law.” Massachusetts “joint venture liability” requires the same mens rea as aiding and abetting, which is a variant listed in Application Note 1 of the guideline defining crime of violence.

United States v. Rodriguez-Rivera, 989 F.3d 183 (1st Cir. 2021). Federal drug trafficking conspiracy in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 846 is a controlled substance offense under §4B1.2, even though § 846 does not require proof of an overt act.

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