Supreme Court: Fleeing police by car is a "violent felony"

The question in the case was whether a third conviction under Indiana law for fleeing from the police in a car was also a violent felony. Mr. Sykes’s flight was dangerous, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote for the majority. “Sykes wove through traffic, drove on the wrong side of the road and through yards containing bystanders, passed through a fence and struck the rear of a house,” Justice Kennedy wrote.

But, Justice Kennedy went on, the issue was not whether Mr. Sykes’s actual conduct had been violent. Rather, it was whether the crime he had been convicted of was as a general matter a crime of violence.

As a matter of both common experience and statistics, Justice Kennedy wrote, the answer was yes. Fleeing from the police in a car, he wrote, “is a provocative and dangerous act that dares, and in a typical case requires, the officer to give chase.”

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