BAILEY v. UNITED STATES

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Case Basics
Docket No. 
94-7448
Petitioner 
Bailey
Respondent 
United States
Consolidation 
Robinson v. United States, No. 94-7492
Advocates
(Argued the cause for the petitioners)
(Argued the cause for the respondent)
Tags
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Facts of the Case 

Roland Bailey and Candisha Robinson were each convicted of violating 18 U.S.C. Section 924(c)(1), which, in relevant part, imposes a mandatory minimum sentence upon a person who "uses or carries a firearm" both "during and in relation to" a predicate offense. Bailey's Section 924(c)(1) conviction was based on a loaded pistol which the police found inside a bag in the locked trunk of a car he was driving after they arrested him for possession of illegal drugs. Robinson's Section 924(c)(1) conviction was based on an unloaded, holstered firearm which the police, executing a search warrant, found locked in a trunk in her bedroom closet, along with drugs and money from an earlier controlled buy. The D.C. Circuit, sitting en banc, upheld the Section 924(c)(1) convictions, interpreting "use" of a gun in violation of Section 924(c)(1) in accordance with an "accessibility and proximity" test.

Question 

Is evidence of the proximity and accessibility of a firearm to drugs or drug proceeds alone sufficient to support a conviction for "use" of a firearm during and in relation to a predicate narcotics offense under 18 U.S.C. Section 924(c)(1)?

Conclusion 
Decision: 9 votes for Bailey, 0 vote(s) against
Legal provision: 18 U.S.C. 924

No. The proximity and accessibility test for "use" is so broad that no independent role remains for "carry." "Use" in Section 924(c)(1) requires more than proximity and accessibility that might embolden a defendant. It requires active employment of the firearm by the defendant, making the firearm an operative factor in relation to the predicate offense.

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BAILEY v. UNITED STATES. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 04 April 2014. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/1990-1999/1995/1995_94_7448>.
BAILEY v. UNITED STATES, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1990-1999/1995/1995_94_7448 (last visited April 4, 2014).
"BAILEY v. UNITED STATES," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed April 4, 2014, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1990-1999/1995/1995_94_7448.