7th Circuit affirms carjacking enhancement stemming from bank robbery

February 5, 2015

The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals quickly dismissed a defendant’s argument that his sentence for bank robbery should not include a two-level sentence enhancement for carjacking because the keys to the car were obtained by rummaging through the victim’s purse and not through force or intimidation.

Duryea Rogers and several men decided to rob a Fishers bank and swarmed the first bank employee when she arrived. They ordered her at gunpoint to act normally, but she did not give the all clear signal. The robbers were unable to get any cash because she could not unlock the safe. A co-conspirator went through her purse and took her keys and identification. Rogers and that man fled in the victim’s Chevy Equinox; the other robbers left in a different car.

Rogers was arrested after fleeing from FBI agents and later pleaded guilty to committing bank robbery; armed bank robbery; and knowingly using, carrying and brandishing a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence. His plea agreement left open whether he could receive a two-level enhancement for carjacking. He objected, but the trial court applied it.

In United States of America v. Duryea Rogers, 14-2053, Rogers argued that the guideline did not apply to “keyjacking,” where the keys, and not the car, are taken from the presence of the victim. Plus, he argued the keys weren’t obtained through force, violence or intimidation.  But he didn’t deny that the bank robbery involved force or intimidation.

The judges held that, “for purposes of Section 2B3.1(b)(5), a defendant who takes a victim’s keys by force or threat of force, and who later takes the car (which is sufficiently proximate for the owner to access it), may be sentenced as if he took the victim’s car in the presence of the victim by force or threat of force.”

And because the bank employee was, at all relevant times, acting under the orders of armed men, the judges rejected Rogers’ argument that the keys weren’t obtained by force, violence or intimidation.



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