U.S. Third Circuit - The FindLaw 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog

Inmate's Conviction for Possession of Utility Blade Affirmed

US v. Holmes, No. 09-2846, concerned a challenge to an inmate's conviction for possessing a weapon in a prison, including a challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence for the jury to conclude that the utility knife blade was a weapon within themeaning of section 1791.

In affirming the conviction, the court held that the defendant's challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence at trial is rejected as a rational jury cold have concluded that the blade found was a weapon.  Moreover, the potential severity of the punishment for possessing a weapon in prison is counterbalanced by the need for safety and security and, as such, does not justify the mens rea requirement sought by defendant.  Lastly, the court rejected defendant's argument that he should have been charged with what he sees as the lesser included offense under 18 U.S.C. section 1791(d)(1)(F).

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