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U.S. Supreme Court Says Yes, Pickpocketing Can Be a Violent Felony

By January 16, 2019 No Comments

Yesterday the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision that “[p]urse snatching and pickpocketing can amount to violent felonies for purposes of a federal law,” reports the New York Times. At issue was the federal Armed Career Criminal Act, “a kind of three-strikes statute” that “requires mandatory 15-year sentences for people convicted of possessing firearms if they have earlier been found guilty of three violent felonies or serious drug charges.” The court had to decide “whether minimal force, as in a purse snatching, is enough” to be considered a violent felony. Justice Sonia Sotomayor, one of the dissenters in the case, “[wrote] that locking up such offenders [as pickpockets and purse-snatchers] for long periods does not advance public safety.”