Which Felonies Pose a 'Serious Potential Risk of Injury' for Federal Sentencing Purposes?

19 Pages Posted: 31 Oct 2013 Last revised: 16 Sep 2015

Evan Tsen Lee

University of California Hastings College of the Law

Lynn A. Addington

American University - School of Public Affairs

Stephen Rushin

University of Alabama - School of Law

Date Written: October 29, 2013

Abstract

Both the federal Armed Career Criminal Act and Sentencing Guidelines provide greatly enhanced punishment for defendants previously convicted of felonies that present a "serious potential risk of injury." The Supreme Court has by its own admission struggled to develop a formula for ascertaining which felonies meet this description. Most of the Justices agree that empirical data could be probative of the degree to which various offenses present risk of injury, but no existing study compares frequency of injury across a wide range of offenses. This Article tabulates injury data from a single source, the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS), with respect to 42 crimes, and makes some recommendations.

Keywords: residual clause, serious risk of injury, violent felony, crime of violence, ACCA, Sentencing Guidelines

JEL Classification: K14, K42

Suggested Citation

Lee, Evan Tsen and Addington, Lynn A. and Rushin, Stephen, Which Felonies Pose a 'Serious Potential Risk of Injury' for Federal Sentencing Purposes? (October 29, 2013). Federal Sentencing Reporter, Vol. 26, No. 2, 2013; UC Hastings Research Paper No. 82. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2346770 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2346770

Evan Tsen Lee (Contact Author)

University of California Hastings College of the Law ( email )

200 McAllister Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
United States

Lynn A. Addington

American University - School of Public Affairs

Washington, DC 20016
United States

Stephen Rushin

University of Alabama - School of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 870382
Tuscaloosa, AL 35487
United States

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