Friday, April 02, 2010

Uninvited Guest Supports Reckless Endangerment Enhancement

US v. Carter: Carter was spotted engaging in what cops suspected was a drug deal. The followed him to a nearby convenience store and tried to apprehend him. Carter slipped their grasp and ran away, tossing aside a baggie of crack along the way. A 911 call alerted officers that Carter had run into a home, to which the officers responded. The person who lived their was waiting for them outside. The officers went inside and found Carter, who was arrested without incident. At sentencing, after a conviction for possession of crack with intent to distribute, the district court enhanced Carter's offense level for reckless endangerment, on the basis of his flight into someone's home.

On appeal, the Fourth Circuit affirmed the enhancement. First, the court concluded that the district court did not clearly err in deciding that the apartment into which Carter fled was occupied when he did so, based on second-hand hearsay testimony from an officer involved in the case, dismissing a brief handwritten statement of the apartment dweller as "illegible." Second, the court concluded that, regardless of whether the apartment was occupied or not, running into someone else's home uninvited creates a "substantial risk of serious bodily injury or death" so as to trigger the enhancement.

No comments: