Defendant’s own admission in his state court aggravated battery conviction helped the court find it was a crime of violence
In U.S. v. Diaz Calderone, the defendant was convicted and sentenced for the federal crime of being found in the United States after having been deported. The issue here is whether a prior Florida aggravated battery conviction should be classified as a “crime of violence” under the sentencing guidelines to warrant a sentence enhancement. The 11th Circuit found it was, and in this appeal the defendant challenged the district court’s application of the “modified categorical” approach in determining that Diaz Calderone’s prior was a crime of violence.
The defendant’s aggravated battery conviction, he was specifically charged with the battery on a pregnant victim whom the perpetrator knew or should have known was pregnant. Under the Florida statute for battery, an aggravated battery upon a pregnant woman need not be violent and can be committed merely by intentional touching the pregnant victim against her will by committing a simple battery. Simple battery occurs when a person intentionally touches or strikes another person against their will, or intentionally causes bodily harm to another person. Therefore under Florida law, aggravated battery upon a pregnant woman can be accomplished by: 1) intentional touching, including slight contact; 2) striking; or 3) intentionally causing bodily harm. The 11th Circuit determined that a conviction for aggravated battery on a pregnant woman is not a categorical crime of violence because the slightest contact could be an aggravated felony under the Florida statute but not a crime of violence under the federal sentencing guidelines for sentencing guidelines purposes. The district court correctly applied the modified categorical approach.
The charges and conviction did not establish what Diaz-Calderone did because he pleaded nolo contendere to an information which charged him in the disjunctive with intentionally touching or striking the victim against the person’s will or intentionally causing bodily harm to the victim. Standing alone the charges are consistent with either mere touching, which would not be a crime of violence, or with causing bodily harm, which would be a crime of violence.