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Violation of 'Double Jeopardy' Clause Reverses Conviction

USA v. Richard Mathews Docket: 19-56110, Opinion Date: June 13, 2022. Defendant argued that his conviction and sentence under 18 U.S.C. Section 924(c)(1) for using or carrying an explosive device during a crime of violence should be vacated. The Government conceded that Defendant’s conviction under 18 U.S.C. Section 844(i) is not a crime of violence under Section 924(c)(3) after United States v. Davis. The Ninth Circuit reversed the district court’s denial of Defendant’s 28 U.S.C. Section 2255 motion and remanded with instructions to vacate his conviction and sentence under 18 U.S.C. Section 924(c)(1). Applying the categorical approach, the court explained that because a person can be convicted under Section 844(i) for using an explosive to destroy his or her own property, Section 844(i) criminalizes conduct that falls outside Section 924(c)’s definition of a crime of violence definition—an offense committed against the person or property of another. The court wrote that the district court—which relied on this court’s decision in Defendant’s direct appeal rejecting his argument that his property-damage and firearm convictions violated the double jeopardy clause “as punishment for the same conduct”—erred by not applying the categorical approach, which is required when determining whether an offense is a crime of violence.

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