In a striking departure from prior precedent, the Fifth Circuit has determined that the use of indirect force can be sufficient to meet the definition of a crime of violence. In so doing, the court determined that a conviction assisting a suicide can be a crime of violence, even though it does not require a defendant to have used violent force against the decedent. In addition, the court abolished the distinction between application of violent force and causing injury.. The court also clarified that “bodily contact” is not required for a crime of violence. The court even went so far as to say that providing a plastic bag to a suicidal person qualifies as the application of violent force so long as the defendant knew the decedent planned to use the plastic bag to take his own life.

The full text of United States v. Reyes-Contreras can be found here:

http://www.ca5.uscourts.gov/opinions/pub/16/16-41218-CR2.pdf

Comment