USA v. Jackson
Opinion Date: December 13, 2023
Areas of Law: Criminal Law, Government & Administrative Law
In the case before the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, the appellant, Brian Jackson, challenged the sufficiency of the evidence supporting his guilty plea for attempted interference with commerce by robbery in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1951(a). Jackson and two co-conspirators had attempted to rob a convenience store, and in the course of the incident, the store was closed for about three hours, causing it to lose $600 in potential earnings. Jackson argued that the record did not sufficiently show that the attempted robbery impacted interstate commerce.
The court, however, ruled that Jackson's plea agreement contained sufficient factual admissions to satisfy the Hobbs Act’s commerce element. It noted that Jackson admitted to attempting to rob the store with the intent to affect interstate commerce. In addition, the court found that the temporary closure of the store resulting from the attempted robbery affected interstate commerce, as it depleted the store's assets by $600, impeding its ability to engage in future interstate commerce. The court also inferred from the record that the store likely dealt in goods originating from outside Texas and therefore engaged in interstate commerce.
Jackson's argument that he would not have pled guilty if he had known the facts were insufficient under the commerce element was dismissed by the court. The court noted that Jackson had pled guilty despite believing that the facts were insufficient to support the commerce prong, and he had admitted that his purpose in pleading guilty was to avoid potential conviction under a statute carrying longer sentences.
The court thus found no reversible error and affirmed the lower court's decision.
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