Why is the case important?
Flores-Figueroa (Flores) (D) was convicted of the predicate crimes of illegal entry into the U.S. without inspection and misusing immigration documents, and aggravated identity theft. He pleaded that he could not be convicted of the latter crime since the government (P) had not proved his knowledge that he was using someone else’s identification at the time of the crime.
Facts of the case
Ignacio Flores-Figueroa was convicted on two counts of aggravated identity theft in a federal district court and sentenced to 75 months imprisonment. On appeal, he argued that his conviction was in error because the government did not prove he knew the identification he possessed belonged to another person. The United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit rejected this argument and affirmed the trial court’s decision. It held the government need not prove Mr. Flores-Figueroa knew the identification he possessed belonged to another person.
“If an individual is to be convicted of aggravated crime under 18 U.S.C. Section
“(Breyer, J.) Yes. If an individual is to be convicted of aggravated crime under 18 U.S.C. Section
“Section 1028A(a)(1) requires the Government to show that the defendant knew that the means of identification at issue belonged to another person. As a matter of ordinary English grammar, “”knowingly”” is naturally read as applying to all the subsequently listed elements of the crime. Where a transitive verb has an object, listeners in most contexts assume that an adverb (such as “”knowingly””) that modifies the verb tells the listener how the subject performed the entire action, including the object. The Government does not provide a single example of a sentence that, when used in typical fashion, would lead the hearer to a contrary understanding. And courts ordinarily interpret criminal statutes consistently with the ordinary English usage.”
- Case Brief: 2009
- Petitioner: Ignacio Carlos Flores-Figueroa
- Respondent: United States
- Decided by: Roberts Court
Citation: 556 US _ (2009)
Granted Oct 20, 2008
Argued: Feb 25, 2009
Decided: May 4, 2009