Wednesday, November 20, 2013

District Court Erred by Dismissing One of Two 924(c) Charges Where There Were Two Victims

U.S. v. Rentz, 2013 WL 6051246 (UT) (11/18/13) - Reversal of district court holding that a single use of a firearm that resulted in severe injury to one victim and death to another cannot support multiple § 924(c) charges. Circuit precedent dictates that multiple § 924(c) charges arising from the same criminal episode are proper when there are multiple underlying violent or drug-trafficking offenses, The only issue is whether the underlying violent or drug-trafficking offenses themselves can be charged together without violating the Double Jeopardy Clause. And because second degree murder and assault resulting in serious bodily injury each require proof of an element that the other does not, the Blockburger test is satisfied and there is no double jeopardy problem. The district court therefore erred in dismissing one of the two § 924(c) charges.