Taylor v. US



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David Anthony Taylor is a member of the Virginia gang “Southwest Goonz”.   Taylor always liked to invade drug dealers’ houses and rob them because Taylor knows that drug dealers won’t call police and they have cash because they are dealing with drugs that are illegal in Virginia.  He robbed twenty other houses.

He would rather rob drug dealers house because he could get money right away in cash but he most likely took drugs too. Eventually, Taylor was captured and faced punishment for his crime in Virginia federal court. He was also prosecuted under penalty of breaking the Hobbes Act.  The Jury charged him of violating the Hobbes act.  The Hobbes act protects interstate business from robbery and extortion.  Drug dealing is seen as “interstate business” and the jury said that Taylor should face extra punishment for targeting drug dealers in his criminal actions of breaking, entering and armed robbery. Taylor’s lawyer asked to introduce evidence that all the pot came from inside the state of  Virginia. Trial judges refused to admit this evidence and sent Taylor to Federal prison.

Sometimes it is hard for judges to make a decision based on the constitution and its laws. It is unusual for a criminal to commit a crime on another criminal and be punished more severely just because of his chosen target.  As a US citizen Mr. Taylor still has rights and appealed his case as being overcharged for the crime.  The case entered federal district court in Virginia with original jurisdiction because it was a federal crime.  It has ended in the US Supreme Court because it was appealed through the 4th Circuit of the US Court of Appeals.

If you were a juror what would you say on this?  It seems both Taylor and his chosen victims should be prosecuted.  I wonder if the drug dealer got immunity or if they were also prosecuted.  Most times laws are meant to protect innocent victims but in this case it seems like the Hobbes Act may have protected guilty victims. In the end robbery is robbery and interstate business is interstate business.  If the law exists, it is only as good as its enforcement.

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