United States v. Davis

Brief of Amicus Curiae National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers in Support of Defendant-Appellant’s Petition for Rehearing or Rehearing En Banc. 

Brief filed: 04/05/2021


United States v. Davis

3rd Circuit Court of Appeals; Case No. 19-1696

Prior Decision

Panel decision 985 F.3d 298 (3rd Cir. Jan. 12, 2021)


The panel opinion broadens the definition of “substantial step,” contravening Supreme Court and Circuit precedent and raising constitutional concerns. A “substantial step” is conduct “toward” the commission of the object offense. Davis improperly broadens statutory attempt offenses, with constitutional implications. Requiring a substantial step “toward” the commission of the object offense strikes the right balance between protecting the public and avoiding overcriminalization. Davis’s redefinition of the actus reus for attempt has broad implications. 


Lisa A. Mathewson, The Law Offices of Lisa A. Mathewson, LLC, Philadelphia, PA; Carolyn H. Kendall, Post & Schell, P.C., Philadelphia, PA; Mira Baylson and Molly Rucki, Cozen O’Connor, Philadelphia, PA.

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