Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Texas Assault Prior Conviction Held to Be a Crime of Violence for Career Offender Purposes

U.S. v. Rodriguez, 2013 WL 3337776 (7/3/13) (Okl.) (unpub'd) - The 10th figures out a clever way to find the defendant was convicted of a crime of violence ("cov") for career offender purposes. The defendant was convicted under the same Texas assault statute that lead to the 10th holding in Zuniga-Soto, that the defendant had not been convicted of a cov. The statute can be violated by intentional, knowing or reckless conduct. If it's reckless there's no cov. Here the defendant was charged with intentionally, knowingly and recklessly causing bodily injury. Under Texas law those seemingly contradictory states of mind don't cancel each other out. Proof of a higher level of culpability is proof of the lower. The defendant pleaded guilty to "all the allegations in the indictment." So he was convicted of the intentional version of the statute. It's a crime of violence. The defendant's 188-month sentence for meth distribution was substantively reasonable even though he was classified as a career offender due to the timing of the federal prosecution after he was convicted of a state offense that happened after the federal offense. The 10th was unimpressed by the policy argument that the purpose of the career offender provision was to punish someone who hadn't learned his lesson from being convicted twice before.