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Rogelio Barragan-Lopez v. Holder

The Ninth Circuit held that California Penal Code § 210.5, the felony of false imprisonment "for purposes of protection from arrest, which substantially increased the risk of harm to victim, or for the purpose of using person as a shield," is categorically a crime of violence under 18 U.S.C. § 16(b) because, by its nature, it carries a substantial risk that physical force will be used in the course of committing the offense.

In reaching its conclusion, the court first analogized § 210.5 to evading arrest and kidnapping, two other offenses which the court has found to be categorically crimes of violence under 18 U.S.C. § 16(b). The court then explained that the ordinary scenario resulting in a conviction of § 210.5 is one where the defendant used a hostage to protect himself from arrest or harm—a scenario which creates a risk that (1) the defendant will use physical force to retain control over the hostage or prevent intervention by police or others or (2) the police or others will take actions resulting in physical force being applied to the hostage or another bystander.

The latter possibility, that the police might take actions that result in the application of force, does not seem to support the argument given the Ninth Circuit's decision in Teposte v. Holder, 632 F.3d 1049, 1055 (9th Cir. 2011) that only intentional application of force by the defendant satisfies § 16(b). Curiously, the court does not fully address Teposte.

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