The Eighth Circuit has determined that a Nebraska conviction for making terroristic threats is a violent felony under the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA). The statute criminalized, among other things, "commit[ing] any crime of violence . . . With the intent of causing the evacuation of a building, place of assembly, or facility of public transportation." The Nebraska Supreme Court has defined the term “crime of violence” as “an act which injures or abuses through the use of physical force and which subjects the actor to punishment by public authority.”
Fletcher, the defendant, argued that the statute could be violated by making threats to property, and thus, did not qualify as a violent felony. The Court disagreed. "Fletcher points to no case in which Nebraska has applied the terroristic threats statute to a threat to commit arson of an unoccupied building. As a result, even if the theoretical possibility exists that the Nebraska terroristic threats statute could encompass threats only to property, Fletcher has not demonstrated a realistic probability that Nebraska would apply the statute in that manner."
Given the similarity in definition between a violent felony under the ACCA and a crime of violence aggravated felony for immigration purposes, this case could have persuasive effect in the immigration context.
The full text of Fletcher v. United States can be found here: