High Court Upholds Term In Accidental Gun Discharge


In the case of the “bumbling bank robber,” the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the mandatory 10-year prison term of a Georgia man whose gun accidentally discharged during a bank robbery, reports the New York Times. The case involved Christopher Dean, who robbed a bank in Rome, Ga., in 2004. His 18-year sentence included an additional 10 years for discharging a firearm during a crime. Dean argued that the extra time should not apply because the shooting was accidental.

Speaking for the majority in a 7-to-2 decision, Chief Justice John Roberts said criminals must bear the consequences of the unintended consequences of their unlawful acts. “Those criminals wishing to avoid the penalty for an inadvertent discharge, can lock or unload the firearm, handle it with care during the underlying violent or drug trafficking crime, leave the gun at home or – best yet – avoid committing the felony in the first place,” Roberts said. Justices John Paul Stevens and Stephen Breyer dissented.

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