Board Games At One First Street

June 20th, 2013

In her majority opinion in Descamps v. United States, Justice Kagan offers this Clue to help explain the choice-of-weapon under the ACCA:

In fact, every element of every statute can be imaginatively transformed as the Ninth Circuit suggests—so that every crime is seen as containing an infinite number of sub-crimes corresponding to “all the possible ways an individual can commit” it. Aguila-Montes, 655 F. 3d, at 927. (Think: Professor Plum, in the ballroom, with the candlestick?; Colonel Mustard, in the conservatory, with the rope, on a snowy day, to cover up his affair with Mrs. Peacock?)

Justice Alito is board of that analogy:

The board game Clue, to which the Court refers, see ante, at 18, does not provide sound legal guidance. In that game, it matters whether Colonel Mustard bashed in the victim’s head with a candlestick, wrench, or lead pipe. But in real life, the colonel would almost certainly not escape conviction simply because the jury was unable to agree on the particular type of blunt instrument that he used to commit the murder.