Hill v. United States, No. 16-3239 (7th Cir. 2017)Annotate this Case
Following his convictions for drug and firearms crimes, Hill was sentenced to 276 months’ imprisonment under the Armed Career Criminal Act, (ACCA) 18 U.S.C. 924(e). Hill argued that his conviction for attempted murder under Illinois law did not qualify as an ACCA “violent felony,” which is defined as a crime that “has as an element the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against the person of another.” The Seventh Circuit affirmed the sentence. When a substantive offense would be a violent felony under section 924(e) and similar statutes, an attempt to commit that offense also is a violent felony. The court rejected Hill’s argument that even the completed crime of murder in Illinois is not a violent felony under the federal elements clause because is possible to commit murder in Illinois by administering poison, or exposing a baby to freezing conditions, or placing a helpless person in danger. The Supreme Court has held that “physical force” means “force capable of causing physical pain or injury to another person”: the wrongdoer applies energy to bring about an effect on the would-be victim. Both murder and attempted murder in Illinois are categorically violent felonies under section 924(e).