In the case of Dean v. United States, The Supreme Court ruled recently that an accidental shooting during the commission of a crime will bring the same penalties as intentionally using a firearm during the crime, reports say.
An admitted bank robber, Christopher Dean, who was accused of armed robbery of an AmSouth bank in Georgia in 2004, entered the bank with a pistol in his hand. The weapon discharged and shot a hole in the counter. Dean's robbery netted him just under $4000, reports say.
He was apprehended and a jury convicted him as well as his accomplice. Dean received 100 months in prison for the armed robbery, along with the additional mandatory minimum of 120 for using a gun in the commission of a crime, reports say.
After an appeal, the court said that if an individual in any way uses a firearm, and that the firearm is discharged, regardless of whether it was with intent, if the firearm is fired, it is the same as if it is aimed to kill. The judge noted, however, that using the same gun, were it to be locked or unloaded, would not have suffered the same penalty, reports say.
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