USA v. Randall Jenning


Filed opinion of the court by Judge Rovner. AFFIRMED. Diane P. Wood, Chief Judge; Michael S. Kanne, Circuit Judge and Ilana Diamond Rovner, Circuit Judge. [6848274-1] [6848274] [16-2861]

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Case: 16-2861 Document: 28 Filed: 06/16/2017 Pages: 20     In the United States Court of Appeals For the Seventh Circuit ____________________  No. 16‐2861  UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,  Plaintiff‐Appellee,  v.  RANDALL JENNINGS,  Defendant‐Appellant.  ____________________  Appeal from the United States District Court for the  Western District of Wisconsin.  No. 15‐CR‐138 — James D. Peterson, Chief Judge.  ____________________  ARGUED APRIL 4, 2017 — DECIDED JUNE 16, 2017  ____________________  Before  WOOD,  Chief  Judge,  and  KANNE  and  ROVNER,  Cir‐ cuit Judges.  ROVNER,  Circuit  Judge.  Defendant  Randall  Jennings pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm. See 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1). At sentencing, the district court found that Jennings’ prior convictions in Minnesota for simple robbery and felony domestic assault constituted convictions for crimes of violence for purposes of the Armed Career Criminal Act (“ACCA”), 18 U.S.C. § 924(e), and the parallel provi- Case: 16-2861 Document: 28 Filed: 06/16/2017 2  Pages: 20 No. 16‐2861  sion of the Sentencing Guidelines. Consequently, Jennings was subject to a 15-year statutory minimum prison term along with an enhanced Guidelines offense level and criminal history categorization. Jennings appeals, contending that neither simple robbery nor domestic assault, as Minnesota defines those crimes, qualify as a crime of violence. We affirm. I. On August 22, 2015, an individual attempted to purchase prescription Klonopin pills from Jennings in Hudson, Wisconsin. The transaction went awry for the purchaser when Jennings put a gun to his head and Jennings’ girlfriend proceeded to steal his money from his truck. After the victim reported the robbery, local police stopped Jennings’ car. Nearby, police found a loaded semi-automatic Ruger handgun that Jennings’ girlfriend had thrown from his vehicle shortly before he was pulled over. Jennings was arrested and indicted for possessing a firearm following a felony conviction, in violation of section 922(g)(1). He eventually pleaded guilty to that charge. As relevant here, Jennings’ criminal history included a prior conviction in Minnesota for simple robbery along with two additional convictions in that same state for felony domestic assault. The probation officer’s pre-sentence report (both original and as amended) treated those convictions as crimes of violence for purposes of the armed career criminal provisions of the Criminal Code and the Sentencing Guidelines. See § 924(e); U.S.S.G. § 4B1.4. Jennings objected to the characterization of these offenses, contending that, as defined by Minnesota law, they do not categorically involve the use or threatened use of violent physical force and for that reason do not qualify as violent felonies. See Curtis Johnson v. United States, 559 U.S. 133, 140, 130 S. Ct. 1265, 1271 (2010). The district court, relying on our decisions in United Case: 16-2861 Document: 28 Filed: 06/16/2017 No. 16‐2861  Pages: 20 3  States v. Maxwell, 823 F.3d 1057 (7th Cir.), cert. denied, 137 S. Ct. 401 (2016) (Minnesota simple robbery), and United States v. Yang, 799 F.3d 750 (7th Cir. 2015) (Minnesota felony domestic violence), overruled Jennings’ objections. After soliciting supplemental briefing, the court found that Jennings’ two Minnesota convictions for making terroristic threats also constituted convictions for a violent crime—meaning that Jennings had a total of five such prior convictions. R. 31. Designation as an armed career criminal had a triple impact on Jennings’ sentencing range: (1) pursuant to section 924(e), Jennings was subject to a statutory minimum term of 15 years; (2) coupled with Jennings’ use of a weapon in robbing his prescription pill customer, it boosted his Guidelines base offense level to 34, see U.S.S.G. § 4B1.4(b)(3)(A); and (3) again in combination with his use of the gun to commit a robbery, it pushed him into the uppermost criminal history category of VI, see U.S.S.G. § 4B1.4(c)(2). After a 3-level reduction in the offense level for Jennings’ acceptance of responsibility, see U.S.S.G. § 3E1.1(b), the Guidelines called for a sentence in the range of 188 to 235 months. The district court elected to impose a below-Guidelines sentence of 180 months, the lowest sentence that the ACCA permitted him to impose. Jennings appeals the treatment of his prior convictions as crimes of violence. II. Whether any of Jennings’ prior convictions qualify as crimes of violence, and in sufficient number to trigger the statutory and Guidelines enhancements for career offenders, present legal questions as to which our review is de novo. E.g., United States v. Meherg, 714 F.3d 457, 458 (7th Cir. 2013). Our focus shall be on Jennings’ prior convictions for simple robbery and felony domestic violence. The district court relied in part on Jennings’ prior convictions under the Minnesota terroristic threat statute, Minn. Stat. § 609.713, subd. Case: 16-2861 Document: 28 4  Filed: 06/16/2017 Pages: 20 No. 16‐2861  1, in concluding that Jennings is a career offender. But the court’s rationale in that regard was premised on the notion that the Minnesota statute is divisible as to the type of crime the defendant threatens to commit in order to terrorize his victims, rendering it permissible, using a modified categorical approach, to examine the so-called Shepard documents (e.g., the indictment, plea agreement, and plea colloquy) in order to determine whether the particular crime Jennings had threatened to commit involves the threatened, attempted, or actual use of physical force. R. 31 at 2–3; see Shepard v. United States, 544 U.S. 13, 26, 125 S. Ct. 1254, 1263 (2005). However, the government believes that the Supreme Court’s decision in Mathis v. United States, 136 S. Ct. 2243, 2256 (2016) (if listed components of alternatively phrased criminal statute are means rather than elements, modified categorical approach not permitted),1 forecloses the district court’s premise as to the divisibility of the statute. As the government does not defend the career criminal determination on the basis of these convictions, we shall abstain from any analysis of them and turn to Jennings’ convictions for robbery and domestic violence. The ACCA, in relevant part, specifies that a person convicted of being a felon in possession of a firearm pursuant to section 922(g) shall be sentenced to a prison term of not less than 15 years if he has three prior convictions “for a violent felony or a serious drug offense, or both, committed on occasions different from one another.” § 924(e)(1). The “violent felony” provision is the one that is relevant here. The statute defines “violent felony” to include any felony that “(i) has as an element the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against the person of another; or (ii) is burgla                                                  1 Mathis was decided on the same day as the district court’s decision as  to the terroristic threat convictions.  Case: 16-2861 Document: 28 No. 16‐2861  Filed: 06/16/2017 Pages: 20 5  ry, arson, or extortion, [or] involves use of explosives[.]” § 924(e)(2)(B). None of Jennings’ prior offenses are among those identified in the enumerated crimes-clause of the statute, § 924(e)(2)(B)(ii), so only if they satisfy the force clause, § 924(e)(2)(B)(i) can they qualify as violent felonies.2 The armed career criminal guideline specifies an elevated offense level of 34 and a criminal history category of VI for a defendant who is subject to an enhanced statutory minimum sentence pursuant to section 924(e) and whose underlying offense involved the use or possession of a firearm in connection with (as relevant here) a crime of violence. U.S.S.G. § 4B1.4(b)(3)(A) and (c)(2). The guideline’s definition of “crime of violence” includes a force clause that is identical to the force clause of section 924(e), see U.S.S.G. §  4B1.2(a)(1),  cross‐referenced  by  §  4B1.4(b)(3)(A),  and consequently the analysis as to whether a particular conviction constitutes a crime of violence because it has as an element the use of force is the same whether we are applying the guideline or the ACCA. See, e.g., United States v. Wyatt, 672 F.3d 519, 521 (7th Cir. 2012). Our assessment of the two state offenses at issue in this appeal entails a categorical inquiry. The facts underlying Jennings’ prior convictions are irrelevant to our evaluation; our one and only consideration is whether each of the statutes pursuant to which Jennings was convicted has as an element the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical                                                   2 The residual clause of section 924(e)(2)(B)(ii), which treats as a violent  felony any offense that “otherwise involves conduct that presents a seri‐ ous potential risk of physical injury to another,” was declared unconsti‐ tutionally vague in Samuel Johnson v. United States, 135 S. Ct. 2551 (2015).  Consequently, a felony offense must meet the criteria of either the force  clause  or  the  enumerated‐crimes  clause  in  order  to  qualify  as  a  violent  felony.  Case: 16-2861 Document: 28 Filed: 06/16/2017 6  Pages: 20 No. 16‐2861  force against the person of another. See Taylor v. United States, 495 U.S. 575, 600–02, 110 S. Ct. 2143, 2159–60 (1990); United States v. Maxwell, supra, 823 F.3d at 1060–61. Curtis Johnson v. United States, supra, 559 U.S. at 140, 130 S. Ct. at 1271,3 defines “physical force” to mean “violent force,” in other words, “force capable of causing physical pain or injury to another person.” 559 U.S. at 140, 130 S. Ct. at 1271 (emphasis in original). The mere touching of another person, which is all the force that the prior state conviction at issue in Curtis Johnson required, is not sufficient to satisfy the ACCA. Id. at 139, 130 S. Ct. at 1270. Curtis Johnson thus requires us to consider whether the Minnesota statutes under which Jennings was convicted categorically require the use or threatened use of violent physical force as that case defines it. A. We begin with the offense of simple robbery. Minn. Stat. § 609.24 provides that “[w]hoever, having knowledge of not being entitled thereto, takes personal property from the person or in the presence of another and uses or threatens the imminent use of force against any person to overcome the person’s resistance or powers of resistance to, or to compel acquiescence in, the taking or carrying away of the property is guilty of robbery … .” Our decision in Maxwell recognized that under Minnesota law, fifth-degree assault is a lesser included offense of simple robbery. 823 F.3d at 1061 (citing State v. Stanifer, 382 N.W.2d 213, 220 (Minn. Ct. App. 1986)). The Minnesota criminal code defines fifth-degree assault as an act committed with “intent to cause fear in another of                                                   3 We are using the petitioner’s full name in citing the case to distinguish  it  from  Samuel  Johnson  v.  United  States,  135  S.  Ct.  2551,  supra  n.2,  which  held the residual clause of the ACCA to be unconstitutional.  Case: 16-2861 No. 16‐2861  Document: 28 Filed: 06/16/2017 Pages: 20 7  immediate bodily harm or death” or “intent[ ] [to] inflict[ ] or attempt[ ] to inflict bodily harm upon another.” Minn. Stat. § 609.224, subd. 1; see Maxwell, 823 F.3d at 1061. “Bodily harm” is in turn defined as “physical pain or injury, illness, or any impairment of physical condition.” Minn. Stat. § 609.02, subd. 7. In short, in order to commit simple robbery in Minnesota, one must intentionally inflict, or attempt to inflict, physical pain or injury upon another or must act in such a way as to place a person in fear of physical injury, pain, or death. For that reason, Maxwell rejected an argument that it might be possible to commit simple robbery in Minnesota by means of mental force, which (Maxwell believed) would not meet Curtis Johnson’s requirement that violent physical force be used before an offense can be labeled a crime of violence. 823 F.3d at 1061. See also United States v. Raymond, 778 F.3d 716, 717 (8th Cir. 2015) (per curiam); United States v. Samuel Johnson, 526 F. App’x 708, 711 (8th Cir. 2013) (non-precedential decision), j. rev’d on other grounds, 135 S. Ct. 2551 (2015). Jennings urges us to overrule Maxwell, arguing that we overlooked a parallel line of Minnesota cases that, in contrast to Stanifer, appears not to require the use or threatened use of substantial physical force. He notes that in State v. Burrell, 506 N.W.2d 34 (Minn. Ct. App. 1993), the Minnesota Court of Appeals said that “[m]ere force suffices for the simple robbery statute,” id. at 37, and Jennings equates “mere force” with de minimis force that would neither inflict pain or injury nor instill fear of pain or injury. By way of illustration, he highlights a series of cases in which Minnesota courts have expressly found relatively modest physical contact with or injury to a victim sufficient to satisfy the force element of robbery. See State v. Slaughter, 691 N.W.2d 70, 76 (Minn. 2005) (snatching chains from victim’s neck, leaving scratches); State v. Nelson, 297 N.W.2d 285 (Minn. 1980) (per curiam) Case: 16-2861 8  Document: 28 Filed: 06/16/2017 Pages: 20 No. 16‐2861  (jostling and grabbing victim and pulling on his jacket); Duluth St. Ry. Co. v. Fidelity & Deposit Co. of Md., 161 N.W. 595 (Minn. 1917) (“gentle but firm” crowding of victim inside of elevator). This line of argument has divided judges in the District of Minnesota. Compare United States v. Pettis, 2016 WL 5107035, at *3 (D. Minn. Sept. 19, 2016) (holding simple robbery not a crime of violence), appeal filed, No. 16-3988 (8th Cir. Oct. 20, 2016), with United States v. Willis, 2017 WL 1288362, at *3 & n.3 (D. Minn. April 6, 2017) (holding simple robbery does constitute crime of violence); United States v. Taylor, 2017 WL 506253, at *5–*7 (D. Minn. Feb. 7, 2017) (same), appeal filed, No. 17-1760 (8th Cir. April 10, 2017); United States v. Pankey, 2017 WL 1034581, at *3 n.2 (D. Minn. Mar. 16, 2017) (same). See also Ward v. United States, 2017 WL 2216394, at *5–*7 (D. Id. May 18, 2017) (deeming Minnesota simple robbery to be crime of violence). But we are not persuaded by Jennings’ argument. First, as the government rightly points out, Burrell’s use of the phrase “mere force” does not signal that de minimis force is sufficient to satisfy the force element of simple robbery. Burrell used that phrase to distinguish aggravated robbery, Minn. Stat. § 609.245, from simple robbery, § 609.24. The defendant in that case argued that the two statutes overlapped impermissibly and that, on the facts, either could control, such that his conviction should be reduced to the lesser of the two offenses. The court rejected that argument, reasoning that the statutes described distinct crimes. 506 N.W.2d at 37. Aggravated robbery, the court pointed out, requires that the victim suffer an injury by virtue of the defendant’s use of force, whereas simple robbery is satisfied by the use or threat of force, without more. Id. That is what the court meant by “mere force.” The defendant in Burrell did not contend that the particular degree of force he used in Case: 16-2861 No. 16‐2861  Document: 28 Filed: 06/16/2017 Pages: 20 9  carrying away a store owner’s property (he threw the store owner against a car, bit her wrist, punched her in the face, and knocked her to the ground) was insufficient to sustain his convictions. Second, neither of the two additional cases that Jennings and other defendants point to as confirmation that de minimis force is sufficient to sustain a conviction for simple robbery in Minnesota—Nelson or Duluth St. Ry.—really stands for that proposition at all. In Nelson, the defendant and his accomplice, both adults, set out to rob a 13-year-old boy they saw alighting from a bus because he appeared to have “lots of money.” Having resolved to “get[ ]” the boy, they proceeded to follow, “jostle[ ]” and “grab[ ]” him. As the defendant pulled on the victim’s jacket, the boy managed to slip out of it and run to his family’s nearby restaurant for help. The boy’s father later came upon the two perpetrators going through the pockets of the jacket. In appealing his conviction for simple robbery, the defendant argued that the jury should have been instructed on the lesser included offenses of misdemeanor and felony theft, because his use of force was so minimal as to negate the notion that his victim had acquiesced to that force. The Minnesota Supreme Court wasted few words on this argument, agreeing with the trial court that “there  was  no  rational  basis  for  a  finding  that  defendant’s  use  of  force  did  not  cause  the  victim  to  acquiesce  in  the  taking  of  the  property.” 297 N.W.2d at 286.  What  is  apparent  from  the facts of Nelson is that the  de‐ fendant  and  his  accomplice  intended  to  employ  substantial  physical  force  in  order  to  relieve  a  minor  of  his  money;  the  defendant’s act of pulling on the victim’s jacket was but one  manifestation of that intent. As it happened, that one tug on  the jacket pre‐terminated the encounter, because it gave the  Case: 16-2861 10  Document: 28 Filed: 06/16/2017 Pages: 20 No. 16‐2861  young  victim  the  opportunity  to  escape  his  assailants  and  seek  help. It  is  a  fair, and  perhaps  inevitable,  inference  that  the boy ran from his assailants in fear for his safety, sacrific‐ ing  his  jacket  (which  the  defendant  admitted  was  not  what  he  and  his  accomplice  were  after)  in  order  to  avoid  pain  and/or injury. As the district court in Taylor put it, “The force  in  Nelson  was  more  than  de  minimis;  two  adults  pursing  a  13‐year‐old  with  the  intention  of  ‘getting  him,’  following  him  and  grabbing  him,  constitutes  force—and  surely  the  threat of force—capable of causing physical pain, if not also  injury.” 2017 WL 506253, at *5.   Duluth St. Ry. is barely relevant, let alone instructive. The issue in that civil case was whether an insurance policy’s coverage as to robbery included pickpocketing. Thieves had exerted “gentle but firm” pressure to “crowd” (i.e., closely surround) the insured on an elevator, and then surreptitiously took from his coat pocket an envelope containing $1,600 in cash. The insured contended that this qualified as robbery under the policy, given that force was used to effectuate the theft—albeit not to overcome the victim’s resistance, but rather to distract the victim so that his pocket could be picked surreptitiously. The insurance company, by contrast, contended that coverage was limited to instances in which force was used to overcome a victim’s resistance. The court agreed with the insured, reasoning in essence that a theft amounts to robbery when it is accomplished by any degree of force, whether said force is used to overcome a victim’s resistance or to prevent the victim from realizing his property has been taken from him. Id. at 301–02. But the court was construing the policy terms rather than the Minnesota criminal code, and for guidance the court consulted the common law (citing precedents from multiple states) rather than the current Minnesota robbery statute, which Case: 16-2861 Document: 28 No. 16‐2861  Filed: 06/16/2017 Pages: 20 11  would not be enacted for another 46 years.4 In ruling for the insured, the court also construed the policy against the insurance company (which had authored its terms) and in favor of the insured. Id. at 302. The case has no bearing on what constitutes simple robbery under the current Minnesota statute. See Ward v. United States, supra, 2017 WL 2216394, at *5; Taylor, 2017 WL 506253, at *5. It is true enough, however, that contemporary Minnesota cases do sustain robbery convictions based on the use (or threatened use) of relatively limited force or infliction of minor injuries. See Slaughter, 691 N.W.2d at 72, 76 (snatching gold chains from victim’s neck, leaving scratches: “these scratches provide sufficient evidence of the ‘use of force’ necessary to sustain a conviction of simple robbery”); State v. Nash, 339 N.W.2d 554, 557 (Minn. 1983) (“if a defendant pushes a victim against a wall and takes his wallet, then the defendant has committed robbery, not theft from the person”) (citing Minn. Stat. § 609.24, advisory committee comment (1963)); State v. Kvale, 302 N.W.2d 650, 652-53 (Minn. 1981) (running up to and pounding on window of victim’s car); State v. Oksanen, 249 N.W.2d 464, 466 (Minn. 1977) (per curiam) (grabbing and pushing victim, causing him to fall); State v. Gaiovnik, 2010 WL 1439156, at *4 (Minn. Ct. App. April 13, 2010) (non-precedential decision) (“grabbing or yanking [the victim’s] arm and pulling on it when she resisted him taking her purse”), j. aff’d, 794 N.W.2d 643 (Minn. 2011); State v. Taylor, 427 N.W.2d 1, 4 (Minn. Ct App. 1988) (placing hand under shirt, as if holding gun, and telling convenience store occupants to get down on floor). These instances of force might result in minor injuries, such as scratches or reddened skin, or none at all. Jennings com                                                  4  Notably,  a  common‐law  definition  of  force  was  what  the  Supreme  Court rejected in Curtis Johnson. 559 U.S. at 138‐143, 130 S. Ct. at 1270–73.  Case: 16-2861 12  Document: 28 Filed: 06/16/2017 Pages: 20 No. 16‐2861  plains that if the relatively minor manifestations of force involved in these cases are deemed to constitute violent force for purposes of section 924(e), then any manner of quotidian physical force—kicks, scratches, shoves, and slaps—will also qualify, which in his view is contrary to Curtis Johnson’s conclusion that “physical force” connotes strong, i.e. “violent force.” 559 U.S. at 140, 130 S. Ct. at 1271 (emphasis in original). See Pettis, supra, 2016 WL 5107135, at *3 (“Minnesota’s simple-robbery statute … does not require the government to prove that the defendant used a strong, substantial, or violent degree of force.”) (emphasis ours). But in suggesting that the force employed must be of such a degree as to cause (or threaten) more serious injuries in order to qualify as violent force, Jennings is setting the bar higher than Curtis Johnson itself does. Curtis Johnson held that force sufficient to cause physical pain or harm qualifies as violent force. 559 U.S. at 140–41, 130 S. Ct. at 1271. Any number of physical acts may cause physical pain: Curtis Johnson itself suggested that a slap in the face might suffice. 559 U.S. at 143, 130 S. Ct. at 1272. Similarly, any number of forceful acts beyond simple touching may in context suffice to inflict bodily harm upon a victim (or instill fear of such harm). Such acts qualify as violent force in the sense that they have the capacity to inflict physical pain, if not concrete physical injury, upon the victim. Justice Scalia’s concurrence in United States v. Castleman, 134 S. Ct. 1405 (2014), thus makes the point that physical actions such as hitting, slapping, shoving, grabbing, pinching, biting, and hair-pulling all qualify as violent force under Curtis Johnson: “None of those actions bears any real resemblance to mere offensive touching, and all of them are capable of causing physical pain or injury.” Id. at 1421 (Scalia, J., concurring in part and Case: 16-2861 Document: 28 Filed: 06/16/2017 No. 16‐2861  Pages: 20 13  concurring in the judgment).5 Because he was the author of the majority opinion in Curtis Johnson, courts have treated his concurrence on this point as more authoritative than it otherwise might be. See United States v. Harris, 844 F.3d 1260, 1265 (10th Cir. 2017), pet’n for cert. filed, No. 16-8616 (U.S. April 4, 2017); United States v. Hill, 832 F.3d 135, 142 (2d Cir. 2016); United States v. Rice, 813 F.3d 704, 706 (8th Cir.), cert. denied, 137 S. Ct. 59 (2016); Taylor, supra, 2017 WL 506253, at *2. For all of these reasons, we remain convinced that Maxwell was correctly decided, and that Minnesota simple robbery constitutes a crime of violence for purposes of section 924(e). B. This brings us to Jennings’ two convictions for felony domestic assault. Minnesota law provides that an individual is guilty of misdemeanor domestic assault if he takes one of the following actions against a family member: “(1) commits an act with intent to cause fear in another of immediate bodily harm or death; or (2) intentionally inflicts or attempts to inflict bodily harm upon another.” § 609.2242, subd. 1. The offense becomes a felony if committed “within ten years of                                                   5  The  majority  in  Castleman  concluded  that  18  U.S.C.  §  922(g)(9),  which  proscribes the possession of a firearm by one convicted of a misdemean‐ or crime of domestic violence—defined in relevant part as a crime com‐ mitted  against  a  family  member  or  intimate  partner  that  has  as  an  ele‐ ment  the  use  or  attempted  use  of  physical  force,  see  18  U.S.C.  § 921(a)(33)(A)(ii)—incorporates  the  common‐law  definition  of  force,  including offensive touching. 134 S. Ct. at 1410. Justice Scalia disagreed  on that point, but he thought that Curtis Johnson’s definition of “physical  force”  was  sufficient  to  encompass  most  criminal  acts  characterized  as  domestic violence and to include the defendant’s prior conviction in the  case before the Court.  Case: 16-2861 14  Document: 28 Filed: 06/16/2017 Pages: 20 No. 16‐2861  the first of any combination of two or more previous qualified domestic violence-related offense convictions … .” § 609.2242, subd. 4. As noted above, bodily harm is defined to include “physical pain or injury, illness, or any impairment of physical condition.” Minn. Stat. § 609.02, subd. 7. Having  in  mind  that  what  Curtis  Johnson  defines  as  vio‐ lent  force  is  the  use  or  threatened  use  of  force  “capable  of  causing physical pain or injury to another person,” 559 U.S.  at  140,  130  S.  Ct.  at  1271,  one  may  readily  conclude,  as  we  did in United States v. Yang, supra, 799 F.3d at 756, that a fel‐ ony  domestic  assault  as  defined  by  Minnesota  constitutes  a  crime  of  violence.  The  statute  envisions  action  by  the  de‐ fendant that either inflicts physical pain or injury on the vic‐ tim or places the victim in fear of immediate pain or injury.  Id.; see also Yates v. United States, 842 F.3d 1051, 1053 (7th Cir.  2016)  (criminal  statute  proscribing  the  intentional  infliction  of  bodily  harm—defined  to  mean  physical  pain  or  injury,  illness,  or  any  impairment  of  physical  condition—upon  a  victim  “tracks  what  Curtis  Johnson  said  would  suffice:  force  capable  of  causing  physical  pain  or  injury  to  another  per‐ son”),  cert.  denied,  137  S.  Ct.  1392  (2017).  Jennings  suggests  that Yang was wrongly decided on two grounds, but we find  neither of his arguments persuasive.  Jennings’  first  contention  is  that  the  domestic  assault  statute, although it requires the infliction of bodily harm on  the  victim  (or  instilling  the  fear  of  such  harm),  does  not  re‐ quire  an  act  of  physical  force  to  be  the  agent  of  such  harm.  As our colleagues in the First Circuit put it when confronted  with comparable statutory language, “the text [of the statute]  … speaks to the ‘who’ and the ‘what’ of the offense, but not  the ‘how,’ other than requiring ‘intent’.” Whyte v. Lynch, 807  F.3d  463,  468  (1st  Cir.  2015).  Because  the  statute  does  not  Case: 16-2861 No. 16‐2861  Document: 28 Filed: 06/16/2017 Pages: 20 15  speak  to  the  means  of  inflicting  harm,  Jennings  believes  it  possible that one could commit domestic assault in Minneso‐ ta  without  actually  employing  physical  force.  By  way  of  il‐ lustration,  he  suggests  that  a  parent  might  be  guilty  of  do‐ mestic assault if he inflicts harm on his child by withholding  food. Jennings Br. 23.  The  notion  that  an  offense  cannot  qualify  as  a  violent  crime  unless  the  underlying  statute  expressly  requires  both  the infliction of bodily harm and the employment of physical  force  to  inflict  that  harm  is  one  that  has  found  favor  in  a  number  of  circuits.  See,  e.g.,  Whyte,  807  F.3d  at  468–69,  471  (concluding  that  Connecticut  third‐degree  assault  does  not  constitute  a  crime  of  violence  under  18  U.S.C.  §  16(a),  be‐ cause  although  relevant  subsection  of  statute  requires  the  intentional  infliction  of  bodily  harm  on  another  person,  it  does  not  specify  that  the  harm  must  be  inflicted  by  way  of  physical  force);  United  States  v.  Torres‐Miguel,  701  F.3d  165,  168–69 (4th Cir. 2012) (willfully threatening to commit crime  resulting  in  death  or  great  bodily  injury  to  another,  as  pro‐ scribed by California statute, does not constitute crime of vi‐ olence  for  purposes  of  unlawful  entry  guideline,  U.S.S.G.  § 2L1.2,  because  statute  does  not  require  threatened  use  of  physical  force);  United  States  v.  Villegas‐Hernandez,  468  F.3d  874,  879  (5th  Cir.  2006)  (assault  as  defined  by  Texas  penal  code  does  not  constitute  crime  of  violence  under  18  U.S.C.  §16  because  statute  requires  that  defendant  intentionally,  knowingly, or recklessly causes bodily injury to another but  does  not  require  that  he  do  so  by  means  of  physical  force;  “[s]uch  injury  could  result  from  any  of  a  number  of  acts,  without  use  of  ‘destructive  or  violent  force,’  [e.g.,]  making  available  to  the  victim  a  poisoned  drink  while  reassuring  him the drink is safe, or telling the victim he can safely back  Case: 16-2861 16  Document: 28 Filed: 06/16/2017 Pages: 20 No. 16‐2861  his car out while knowing an approaching car driven by an  independently acting third party will hit the victim”).  But  this  is  a  line  of  reasoning  that  we  have  considered  and rejected on multiple occasions. See LaGuerre v. Mukasey,  526 F.3d 1037, 1039 (7th Cir. 2008) (per curiam); United States  v.  Rodriguez‐Gomez,  608  F.3d  969,  973–74  (7th  Cir.  2010);  De  Leon Castellanos v. Holder, 652 F.3d 762, 766–67 (7th Cir 2011);  United States v. Waters, 823 F.3d 1062, 1065‐66 (7th Cir.), cert.  denied,  137  S.  Ct.  569  (2016);  United  States  v.  Bailey,  —  F. App’x  —,  2017  WL  716848,  at  *1  (7th  Cir.  Feb.  23,  2017)  (non‐precedential decision). These cases reason that a crimi‐ nal  act  (like  battery)  that  causes  bodily  harm  to  a  person  necessarily  entails  the  use  of  physical  force  to  produce  the  harm.  See  De  Leon  Castellanos,  652  F.3d  at  766;  Waters,  823  F.3d  at  1065–66.  Obviously  this  is  true  when  the  defendant  inflicts the harm directly by making forceful physical contact  with  the  victim:  punching  or  kicking  him,  for  example.  See  Castleman,  supra,  134  S.  Ct.  at  1415  (majority  opinion).  It  is  also true, though less obviously so, when the defendant de‐ liberately exposes the victim to a harmful agent (e.g., a toxin,  lethal biological agent, or hidden explosive) without actually  making contact  with  the victim’s person, let alone in  a way  typically  thought  of  as  violent.  Delivering  the  agent  (slip‐ ping poison into the victim’s drink or secreting the explosive  in the victim’s bag) may itself involve only a minimal degree  of physical force, but the proper focus here is on the physical  force inherent in the harmful agent itself—force that works a  direct  and  potentially  devastating  physical  harm  on  the  body of the victim. Id. (“The ‘use of force’ in Castleman’s ex‐ ample is not the act of ‘sprink[ling]’ the poison [into the vic‐ tim’s drink]; it is the act of employing poison knowingly as a  device  to  cause  harm.”);  see  also,  e.g.,  United  States  v.  De  La  Case: 16-2861 No. 16‐2861  Document: 28 Filed: 06/16/2017 Pages: 20 17  Fuente,  353  F.3d  766,  771  (9th  Cir.  2003)  (concluding  that  mailed threat to injure by means of anthrax poisoning quali‐ fies as a threat to employ violent force, in that “the [anthrax]  bacteriaʹs  physical  effect  on  the  body  is  no  less  violently  forceful than the effect of a kick or a blow”). The same is true  when the defendant uses guile or deception to trick his vic‐ tim into consuming the harmful agent: although he is using  intellectual force to deploy the harmful agent, the agent itself  will,  through  a  physical  process,  work  a  concrete  harm  on  the victim. See id.; Waters, 823 F.3d at 1066; De Leon Castella‐ nos, 652 F.3d at 766–67; see also United States v. Calderon‐Pena,  383 F.3d 254, 270 (5th Cir. 2004) (en banc) (Smith, J., dissent‐ ing)  (“If  someone  lures  a  poor  swimmer  into  waters  with  a  strong  undertow  in  order  that  he  drown,  or  tricks  a  victim  into walking toward a high precipice so that he might fall,”  for  example,  the  offender  “has  at  least  attempted  to  make  use of  physical force against the person of the target, either  through the action of water to cause asphyxiation or by im‐ pact of earth on flesh and bone. However remote these forc‐ es may be in time or distance from the defendant, they were  still directed to work according to his will, as surely as was a  swung fist or a fired bullet.”).   Jennings’ hypothetical as to the denial of food to a child  is, as a matter of logic, a more challenging one to place with‐ in  the  category  of  violent  offenses  in  two  respects:  (1)  the  mechanism of harm is the withholding of something that is  necessary to sustain life rather than the deployment of some‐ thing (be it  a swing of  the arm or the  poisoning of  a drink)  that actively causes pain or injury; and (2) it is more difficult  to identify the particular “force” involved. To take the latter  point  first,  if  a  defendant  has  the  ability  to  withhold  life‐ sustaining food or medication, then the victim is likely disa‐ Case: 16-2861 18  Document: 28 Filed: 06/16/2017 Pages: 20 No. 16‐2861  bled from sustaining himself by a circumstance like age, in‐ firmity,  or  captivity—a  vulnerability  that  renders  him  sub‐ ject  to  the  defendant’s  control.  The  relevant  “force”  may  simply be the exertion of that control with the aim of physi‐ cally harming the victim. And, to take the second point, why  should  it  matter  that  the  mechanism  of  harm  is  negative  (pinching  off the victim’s oxygen supply or withholding an  EpiPen®  in the midst of a severe allergic reaction) or positive  (swinging a fist or administering a poison). If the natural and  intended  result  of  that  force  is  physical  pain,  injury,  or  ill‐ ness, then arguably the force employed is “violent” force in  the sense that Curtis Johnson requires. See Waters, 823 F.3d at  1066 (positing that withholding of medication constitutes the  use of violent physical force for that reason).   The  dispositive  point  against  Jennings’  argument,  how‐ ever, is that he is unable to cite any cases supporting his the‐ ory that withholding food from one’s child might be prose‐ cuted as domestic assault in Minnesota. A likely explanation  is  that  other  Minnesota  statutes  cover  such  scenarios.  See  Minn.  Stat.  §§  609.377  (malicious  punishment  of  child);  609.378 (neglect or endangerment of child). So a prosecution  for domestic assault based on the withholding of food, med‐ icine, or the like might be a purely abstract possibility.  As  the  government  reminds  us,  the  Supreme  Court  has  cautioned us not to allow our “legal imagination[s]” to roam  too freely in postulating what types of conduct theoretically  might  be  prosecuted  under  a  state  statute  for  purposes  of  determining  whether  the  offense  as  defined  qualifies  as  a  predicate  offense  for  adverse  federal  action.  Gonzales  v.  Du‐ enas‐Alvarez, 549 U.S. 183, 127 S. Ct. 815, 822 (2007). The issue  before the Court in Duenas‐Alvarez was whether a conviction  Case: 16-2861 Document: 28 Filed: 06/16/2017 No. 16‐2861  Pages: 20 19  under a California statute prohibiting the taking of a vehicle  without the owner’s consent constituted a generic “theft of‐ fense”  under  8  U.S.C.  1101(a)(43)(G),  rendering  a  lawful  permanent resident subject to removal from the country. The  statute penalized accomplices as well as principals. Duenas‐ Alvarez  argued  that  California  law  defined  “aiding  and  abetting” in such a way as to criminalize conduct that would  not be reached by generic theft laws. The Court rejected that  argument  and  concluded  its  discussion  with  the  following  admonition:  [T]o  find  that  a  state  statute  creates  a  crime  outside the generic version of a listed crime in  a  federal  statute  requires  more  than  the  appli‐ cation  of  legal  imagination  to  a  state  statute’s  language. It requires a realistic probability, not  a  theoretical  possibility,  that  the  State  would  apply  its  statute  to  conduct  that  falls  outside  the generic definition of a crime. To show that  realistic  probability,  an  offender,  of  course,  may show that the statute was so applied in his  own case. But he must at least point to his own  case or other cases in which state courts in fact  did apply the statute in the special (nongener‐ ic) manner for which he argues.  549  U.S.  at  93,  127  S.  Ct.  at  822;  see  also  Moncrieffe  v.  Holder,  133 S. Ct. 1678, 1684–85 (2013). We have heeded this advice,  as have other courts, in the related context assessing whether  a predicate state crime has, as an element, the use of force as  defined  by  Curtis  Johnson.  See  Maxwell,  823  F.3d  at  1062  (“Maxwell cannot rely on fanciful hypotheticals not applica‐ ble  in  real  world  contexts  (apart  from  law  school  exams)  to  Case: 16-2861 Document: 28 Filed: 06/16/2017 20  Pages: 20 No. 16‐2861  show that the Minnesota statute is broader than the Sentenc‐ ing Guidelines[‘]” definition of a crime of violence); see also,  e.g., Hill, 832 F.3d at 141 n.8; United States v. Ceron, 775 F.3d  222,  229  (5th  Cir.  2014)  (per  curiam);  United  States  v.  Ayala‐ Nicanor, 659 F.3d 744, 748, 752 (9th Cir. 2011).   As we have nothing more than speculation to support the  notion that an act like withholding food or medicine realisti‐ cally might be prosecuted as domestic assault in Minnesota,  we may discount this possibility. Maxwell, 823  F.3d at  1062.  Because  domestic  assault,  as  defined,  requires  the  infliction  of  bodily  harm  (or  the  threat  of  such  harm)  and  typically  such  harm  will  be  inflicted  by  means  of  physical  force,  we  decline to overrule our decision in Yang.   In his reply brief, Jennings defaults to the same point he  makes  with  respect  to  simple  robbery  in  Minnesota—that  even  minor  injuries  will  suffice  as  bodily  harm,  and  that  minimal  injuries  are  insufficient  to  show  that  strong,  i.e.,  “violent,”  physical  force  was  employed  as  Curtis  Johnson  demands. And that point we have already dealt with above.  III.  As Jennings had one prior conviction for simple robbery  and  two  prior  convictions  for  felony  domestic  assault,  and  these  constitute  crimes  of  violence  for  all  of  the  reasons  we  have  discussed,  the  district  court  appropriately  treated  him  as  an  armed  career  criminal.  Jennings  was,  consequently,  subject  to  the  15‐year  minimum  prison  term  mandated  by  the ACCA and to the various enhancements specified by the  armed career criminal guideline.  AFFIRMED. 

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