Tuesday, March 02, 2004

Whether larceny from the person under Virginia law is a crime of violence for federal sentencing

In U.S. v. Smith, the Fourth Circuit in an opinion by Chief Judge Wilkins joined by Judges Gregory and King held that the Virginia crime of "larceny from the person" as defined by Va. Code 18.2-95 should be considered a "crime of violence" for purposes of the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, joining the decisions of other circuits considering similar laws. See, e.g., United States v. Howze, 343 F.3d 919, 923-24 (7th Cir. 2003); United States v. Griffith, 301 F.3d 880, 885 (8th Cir. 2002), cert. denied, 537 U.S. 1225 (2003); United States v. Payne, 163 F.3d 371, 374-75 (6th Cir. 1998); United States v. Hawkins, 69 F.3d 11, 13 (5th Cir. 1995); United States v. De Jesus, 984 F.2d 21, 23-25 (1st Cir. 1993).

Under Va. Code 18.2-95, larceny is a felony if the value of what is taken is over $200, unless the offense was larceny from the person of another, in which case, the crime is a felony if the value of the property that is taken is $5 or more.

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