In the course of being arrested on drug charges, Freddy Alexander took a couple of swings at a police officer. As Alexander’s sentencing judge saw things, these punches boosted his guidelines offense level by six under §3A1.2(c)(1), which applies when a defendant creates a substantial risk of serious bodily injury to a law enforcement officer. This despite the fact that Alexander only connected with one of his punches and caused only a minor injury that did not require medical attention.
The Seventh Circuit nonetheless affirmed Alexander’s sentence earlier today in United States v. Alexander (No. 12-1084) (per curiam). The court observed that “§3A1.2(c)(1) applies to substantial risk of serious injury and does not require that the defendant actually have inflicted serious injury.” Fair enough, but why think that Alexander’s punches posed such a risk? I don’t know anything about Alexander’s size and strength, but I’m pretty sure that if I took a couple of swings at someone, I’d be much more likely to injure myself than my opponent. (more…)