United States v. Green, et al (11th Cir. August 2020)

The Federal Docket

September 17, 2020

Crimes of Violence/RICO Conspiracy – RICO conspiracies do not categorically qualify as violent crimes under 18 U.S.C. § 924(c).

Sentencing – When imposing a sentence, a district court must clarify the sentencing guideline range it relies upon and it must not rely upon clearly erroneous facts.

Charlie Green, Nathaniel Harris, Jerry Green, Napoleon Harris, Corey Harris, and Deonte Martin were convicted of charges relating to a RICO conspiracy and crimes of violence under 18 U.S.C. § 924(c). Each defendant challenged their convictions and sentences, arguing that a RICO conspiracy does not qualify as a crime of violence under § 924.

The Court agreed, holding that RICO conspiracies do not qualify as crimes of violence because “the elements of a RICO conspiracy focus on the agreement to commit a crime, which does not ‘necessitate[] the existence of a threat or attempt to use force.’”

The Court also held that “the district court inadequately explained Corey [Harris’s] sentence because it did not clarify which sentencing guideline “range it had relied upon despite Corey’s repeated requests for clarification.” The Court further held that the district court “relied on a clearly erroneous fact” because evidence demonstrated the district court’s finding to be “impossible.”

The Court also held that there were no issues with the district court’s rulings on motions to suppress and there was sufficient evidence to support the convictions.

Appeal from the Middle District of Florida

 Opinion by Wilson, joined by Grant and Hinkle (by designation from N.D. Fla.)

Click here to read the opinion.

Tom Church - Tom is a trial and appellate lawyer focusing on criminal defense and civil trials. Tom is the author of "The Federal Docket" and is a contributor to Mercer Law Review's Annual Survey in the areas of federal sentencing guidelines and criminal law. Tom graduated with honors from the University of Georgia Law School where he served as a research assistant to the faculty in the areas of constitutional law and civil rights litigation. Read Tom's reviews on AVVO. Follow Tom on Linkedin.

Scroll to Top