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Bailey v. United States
United States Supreme Court
516 U.S. 137, 116 S. Ct. 501, 133 L. Ed. 2d 472 (1995)
Roland Bailey (defendant) was arrested after police found cocaine in his car. Officers searched the locked trunk of Bailey’s car and found a pistol in a bag. In a separate case, Candisha Robinson (defendant) was arrested for selling drugs from her one-bedroom apartment. When police searched Robinson’s apartment, they found an unloaded, holstered gun in a locked trunk in the bedroom closet. In addition to being charged with drug offenses, both Bailey and Robinson were charged pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 924 (c)(1), which imposed a five-year prison sentence for using or carrying a firearm during and in relation to drug trafficking. Both Bailey and Robinson were convicted pursuant to the statute, and each was sentenced to 60 months in prison. The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit affirmed Bailey’s conviction, but it reversed Robinson’s conviction, reasoning that the statute required actual use of a firearm and that the proximity of Robinson’s gun to her drugs was not sufficient to satisfy the requirement. The court then consolidated the cases and reheard them en banc to correct the apparent inconsistencies in the two rulings. On rehearing, the court affirmed both Bailey’s and Robinson’s convictions, reasoning that if a person keeps a gun where he can access it in furtherance of a drug crime, then that person has used a gun within the meaning of the statute. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (O’Connor, J.)
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