Criminal; Sentencing; Assault of a police officer
Where the defendant threw two punches at a police officer during his arrest, his sentence was properly enhanced six levels for assaulting a police officer in a manner that created a substantial risk of serious bodily injury pursuant to U.S.S.G. 3A1.2(c).
“Even one blow to the head, and even by an unarmed person, can pose a substantial risk of serious injury within the meaning of the Guidelines. We are not holding or even suggesting that every swing of a fist qualifies for the upward adjustment under § 3A1.2(c).
Applying the Guideline standard to the specific circumstances of a case is the responsibility of the district judge. We hold that the district court did not clearly err by applying the adjustment in this case, in which an adult threw two punches aimed at a police officer’s head. See United States v. Ashley, 141 F.3d 63, 69 (2d Cir. 1998) (concluding that district court did not clearly err by applying § 3A1.2(c) to defendant who ‘kicked and swung and fought with such ferocity that it took five officers several minutes to subdue him’); United States v. Mial, 454 F. App’x 161, 163 (4th Cir. 2011) (same, where defendant knocked down officer, climbed on top of him, and beat him); see also United States v. Webster, 500 F.3d 606, 607-08 (7th Cir. 2007) (reasoning that defendant’s five punches and five kicks to victim’s head caused not only ‘serious bodily injury,’ as defined in Application Note 1(L) to § 1B1.1, but also permanent disfigurement or life-threatening bodily injury’ as defined in Application Note 1(J)); United States v. Tindall, 519 F.3d 1057, 1059, 1061 (10th Cir. 2008) (same, where defendant punched victim four or more times, causing profuse bleeding from an arterial laceration in the back of victim’s head).”
12-1084 U.S. v. Alexander
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois, Myerscough, J., Per Curiam.