22-2901 is a violent felony as defined in the federal statute.
As Mathis's case indicates, a D.C. jury may convict a defendant of a section 22-2901 robbery offense for an act of pickpocketing. See also United States v. Jackson, 138 U.S. App. D.C. 143, 425 F.2d 574 (D.C.Cir. 1970). While some pickpocketing offenses, as in Mathis's case, involve the use of direct physical force against another's body, see also Jackson, 425 F.2d at 575; Hawkins v. United States, 399 A.2d 1306 (D.C. 1979), other pickpockets have been convicted of robbery under section 22-2901, rather than of the lesser offense of larceny, for stealthy grabs at property from a victim's pocket where the victim was totally unaware. See, e.g., Spencer v. United States, 73 App. D.C. 98, 116 F.2d 801 (D.C.Cir. 1940) (under then D.C. Code § 6-34, identical to § 22-2901); Turner v. United States, 57 App. D.C. 39, 16 F.2d 535 (D.C.Cir. 1926) (under then D.C. Code § 801, also identical).
Although crimes of stealth under section 22-2901 might not appear to include "force" against another person as ordinarily defined, it is the law of this Circuit that they do include such force. In Turner, the Court of Appeals held that "the requirement of force is satisfied within the sense of the statute by an actual physical taking of the property from the person of another, even though without his knowledge and consent, and though the property be unattached to his person." 16 F.2d at 536. Similarly, in Spencer, the court stated, "The force used to remove money from the pocket is sufficient to satisfy the statutory requirement of 'force or violence.'" 116 F.2d at 802. More recently, the Court of Appeals concluded in United States v. McGill, 159 U.S. App. D.C. 337, 487 F.2d 1208, 1209 (D.C.Cir. 1973), that the enactment of § 22-2901 did not alter the common law requirement that both assault and larceny are essential elements of robbery. In sum, force against another person is a constituent part of any § 22-2901 offense, and the requirements of a "violent felony" as defined in § 924(e)(2)(B)(i) are therefore met.
For the foregoing reasons, the Court concludes that the offense for which Mathis was convicted on July 2, 1975 -- robbery under D.C. Code § 22-2901 -- is a "violent felony" as defined for purposes of 18 U.S.C. § 924(e)(1). Accordingly, the motion to strike is denied, and the reference in the indictment to section 924(e)(1) will not be stricken.
An appropriate Order is attached.
ORDER - May 14, 1990, Filed
Upon consideration of defendant's Motion to Strike Career Criminal Portion of Count II, the opposition thereto, and the entire record herein, and for the reasons stated in the accompanying Memorandum, it is hereby
ORDERED that the motion is denied and the reference in the indictment to 18 U.S.C. § 924(e)(1) will not be stricken.