Monday, November 01, 2004

Minors and sentencing. The Second Circuit, in United States v. Lewis, decided an issue of first impression with respect to whether the use of a minor in a crime can be used to enhance a sentence, under section 3B1.4 of the Sentencing Guidelines, of a leader of a conspiracy who was not directly involved with recruiting a minor, and did not have actual knowledge that such individual was a minor, but who nonetheless had general authority over the activities in furtherance of the conspiracy. The Court held (in accord with other circuits that had decided the issue) that 3B1.4 does not require scienter in order to apply the enhancement. The Court determined that the use of a minor by one of the defendant's co-conspirators was a reasonably foreseeable act in furtherance of the conspiracy.

The Court also addressed the issue of whether the mother of one of the defendants had the authority to consent to a search of his bedroom where the defendant himself was present at the scene of the search, handcuffed in a police car outside his apartment building. The Court held that since the mother had permission to access the defendant's room, her consent was sufficient to warrant the search of that room.

The decision can be found here.

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