If a person attempts to commit a robbery but does not succeed, is the attempt alone a “crime of violence”? On Tuesday, the Supreme Court will delve into that question in United States v. Taylor, the latest in a string of cases asking the justices to narrow federal definitions of violent crimes.
In 2003, Justin Eugene Taylor sold marijuana in Richmond, Virginia. He and an accomplice planned to steal money from Martin Silvester, a prospective buyer. After meeting Silvester in an alley, the accomplice pulled out a semiautomatic pistol and tried to take Silvester’s cash while Taylor waited nearby in a getaway car. Silvester resisted, and the accomplice fatally shot him. Taylor and the accomplice fled the scene, having failed to collect Silvester’s money.
Six years later, the federal government prosecuted Taylor. He was convicted under a plea agreement and sentenced to 30 years in prison. Taylor now challenges part of that conviction and seeks a reduced sentence.
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