U.S. v. Nealy
Possession of ammunition by a convicted felon may qualify as a "crime of violence" under the Bail Reform Act of 1984, for purposes of ruling on eligibility for pre-trial detention and release. The government charged the defendant, a convicted felon, with unlawful possession of ammunition, as a convicted felon. A court issued a pretrial detention order. The defendant, Orlando Nealy, objected that he should not be subject to pre-trial detention, because the government did not charge Nealy with committing a "crime of violence," pursuant to the Bail Reform Act. Even if unlawful possession of ammunition does qualify as a "crime of violence," Nealy claimed that he should be released, because he does not pose a danger to the community. The Bail Reform Act defines "crime of violence" as "any other offense that is a felony and that, by its nature, involves a substantial risk that physical force against the person or property of another may be used in the course of committing the offense." The District Court rejected the defendant's argument that the risk of violence that may result when a convicted felon possesses ammunition illegally does not constitute a "substantial risk" that physical force may be used. It cannot be doubted, wrote the District Court, that many convicted felons who possess ammunition illegally are motivated by the potential to use the ammunition in future acts of violence. The District Court agreed with the government that the charged conduct qualifies as a "crime of violence" under the Bail Reform Act. The government also met its burden to establish, by clear and convincing evidence, that the defendant's release would constitute a danger to the community. The District Court denied the defendant's motion to revoke the pretrial detention order.