Federal Appeals Lawyer Stephen N. Preziosi’s Latest U.S.S.G. Awareness Campaign Case Focuses on Sykes v. United States 131 S.Ct. 2267

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In the 13th installment of his U.S.S.G. awareness campaign, New York City-based Federal appeals lawyer Stephen N. Preziosi looks at Sykes v United States 131 S.Ct. 2267, in which the Supreme Court affirmed that knowing or intentional flight from a law enforcement official is categorically “violent” per the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA).

Federal Appeals Lawyer Stephen N. Preziosi Focuses on Sykes v United States in U.S.S.G. Awareness Campaign.

Federal Appeals Lawyer Stephen N. Preziosi Focuses on Sykes v United States in U.S.S.G. Awareness Campaign.

The implications of Supreme Court’s judgment in this key case cannot be underestimated.

Federal appeals lawyer Stephen N. Preziosi is focusing on Sykes v United States 131 S.Ct. 2267 as part of his ongoing examination of key cases that have shaped and defined United States Sentencing Guidelines.

In Sykes v United States, the petitioner Sykes pled guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm. At sentencing, the Federal District Court noted that Sykes’ criminal past included what it deemed to be three violent felonies; one of which was violation of a Class D felony under an Indiana state law that prohibited “using a vehicle to knowingly or intentionally flee from a law enforcement officer.” As a result, the Court sentenced Sykes to a 15-year mandatory minimum sentence per the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA) 18 USC s924(e).

Sykes appealed on the basis that vehicle flight was not inherently “violent,” and therefore, his criminal history did not meet the threshold required to invoke a minimum Guidelines sentence. The Court of Appeal rejected this argument, as did the Supreme Court in 2011.

In its judgment, the Supreme Court affirmed two key points of law:

1. The correct basis upon which to determine whether a crime is violent is to determine whether the elements of the offense would sensibly lead to the conclusion that it is, in fact, violent. In other words, the Court need not look at the specific actions of an offender; rather it should take a categorical approach.

2. The concept of vehicle flight from law enforcement officials can be considered categorically violent, given that it “involves conduct that presents a serious risk of physical injury to another.”

“The implications of Supreme Court’s judgment in this key case cannot be underestimated,” commented Federal appeals lawyer Stephen N. Preziosi, whose practice is based in New York City’s Times Square. “By affirming that vehicle flight from a law enforcement official is categorically violent, it essentially removed the issue of an offender’s intentions from the equation. In other words, the moment an offender flees, regardless of the motive or goal, he or she is subject to being accused -- and Sykes’ case, convicted -- of committing a violent felony that would subsequently subject him or her to an applicable, and obviously harsher, Guidelines sentence per the Armed Career Criminal Act.”

Mr. Preziosi’s full analysis of Sykes v United States 131 S.Ct. 2267 is available on his firm’s website at http://www.newyorkappellatelawyer.com/armed-career-criminal-act-flight-from-law-constitutes-violent-crime/
For more information or media inquiries, email newyorkappellatelawyer(at)gmail(dot)com or phone (212) 300-3845.

About the Appellate Law Office of Stephen N. Preziosi, P.C.

Federal appeals lawyer Stephen N. Preziosi handles criminal appeals in all U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeals and in New York State Appellate Courts (including Appellate Divisions and the New York Court of Appeals). Whether a case is under the Penal Law in New York State Courts or under Federal Law in the U.S. District Courts, Mr. Preziosi has extensive experience with all types of appellate matters in both the New York State Courts and the Federal Circuit Courts of Appeal. Mr. Preziosi has pursued appellate cases in the Appellate Divisions, the Appellate

Terms and the highest court in the State of New York, the New York Court of Appeals. He has also taken on cases in the various U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeals, and successfully identified legal issues, designed and written briefs and conducted oral argument. The firm’s practice is concentrated in the area of appeals in criminal matters in both State and Federal Courts, and Mr. Preziosi recently launched a United States Sentencing Guidelines (USSG) awareness campaign to help the general public learn more about this critically important and influential aspect of criminal law.

Learn more at http://www.newyorkappellatelawyer.com.

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