United States v. Hill, No. 18-4660 (4th Cir. 2019)Annotate this Case
The Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009 may be constitutionally applied to an unarmed assault of a victim engaged in commercial activity at his place of work. In this case, defendant admitted to physically and violently assaulting a coworker preparing packages for interstate sale and shipment because of the coworker's sexual orientation. After defendant was convicted by a jury for violating the Act, the district court granted defendant's motion for judgment of acquittal based on the grounds that the Act, as applied to defendant's conduct, exceeded Congress's authority under the Commerce Clause.
The Fourth Circuit reversed and held that, as applied to defendant's conduct, the Act easily fell under Congress's broad authority to regulate commerce. In this case, the victim was assaulted while preparing packages for interstate sale and shipment at an Amazon fulfillment center. Therefore, defendant's assault of the victim interfered with commercial or other economic activity in which the victim was engaged at the time of the conduct.