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Judge Says Kielbasa Sausage is Not a Dangerous Weapon
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Kielbasa sausage

Summary: A judge for the Seventh Circuit used a kielbasa sausage and a butane lighter as examples of what cannot be used as a bludgeon, making them not dangerous weapons during a bank robbery.

The Seventh Circuit for the U.S Court of Appeals on Tuesday set a clear distinction during a case on what qualifies as a deadly weapon during bank robberies. The case regards Deangelo Dixon’s guilty conviction of robbing two banks in rural Illinois with a butane lighter on a long barrel as his weapon.

  
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A masked man, identified to be Dixon, threatened to shoot bank employees and he even held an object to their necks that was believed to be a gun by employees. Dixon, however, did not have a gun. The Seventh Circuit ruled that a butane lighter cannot be considered a dangerous weapon, preventing Dixon from being convicted under federal criminal law for bank robberies with a dangerous weapon.

The ruling set a standard for what can be called a dangerous weapon that makes a defendant guilty under that part of the law. Judge Frank Easterbrook, who was writing for the majority, compared the harmless device of a butane lighter to a finger, sawed off broomstick, and a kielbasa sausage. He noted that while the objects cause fear, they are not dangerous.

He noted a previous case, McLaughlin v. United States, that defines an unloaded gun as a dangerous weapon, including the reasons that it can be caused to inflict injury when used as a bludgeon and is potentially harmful. A dangerous weapon must be more than just something incorrectly perceived to be dangerous.

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Johanna Christiansen

Johanna Christiansen

Dixon’s lawyer is Johanna Christiansen, an assistant federal public defender. While the ruling went in Dixon’s favor, it will not change his life sentence. It will only affect his conditions of confinement and possibly release if the president commutes his sentence. He received a life sentence because of prior robbery convictions.



Source: http://www.nationallawjournal.com/id=1202730372077/How-a-Gun-Differs-From-Kielbasa-A-Seventh-Circuit-Explainer

Photo: foodsubs.com

Christiansen profile: peoriamagazines.com



 

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