Written by Ashton Snyder on
 June 4, 2024

Supreme Court to Hear Appeal on Genovese Associate's Gun Charge

The Supreme Court will review an appeal from Salvatore “Fat Sal” Delligatti, a Genovese crime family associate, challenging a 2018 gun charge conviction.

According to CNN, Delligatti contends that his underlying offense does not meet the criteria for a "crime of violence," impacting how enhanced sentences are applied.

The nation's highest court agreed on Monday to hear Delligatti's case. He disputes a conviction on a weapon charge from 2018 that extended his imprisonment by five years. Besides the gun charge, Delligatti was also found guilty of attempted murder and additional crimes.

Plotting Murder Through Gang Intermediaries

Delligatti orchestrated a murder plot targeting a local individual described as a “bully.” According to the case, this person had been troubling a gas station. In pursuing this plan, Delligatti enlisted members of the Crips gang through an intermediary.

The gang members were equipped with a .38 revolver provided by Delligatti. However, law enforcement foiled the plan by intercepting the hired assassins before they could execute the killing. Delligatti received a 25-year sentence, with five of those years attributed to the gun charge under a federal statute.

The federal law in question bans firearm possession during a “crime of violence.” Delligatti maintains that his underlying offense doesn't meet this statutory definition. The debate around what constitutes a "crime of violence" has led to differing opinions within federal appeals courts.

Despite opposing Delligatti’s claim, the Justice Department agrees that the Supreme Court's examination of the appeal is warranted. Recently, the court has narrowed the circumstances where enhanced penalties can be pursued for a “crime of violence.”

Supreme Court’s Precedent May Influence Outcome

Delligatti cites a two-year-old Supreme Court decision to bolster his argument. In that case, a 7-2 majority ruled in favor of a Virginia defendant also convicted on a weapons charge during an attempted robbery. This precedent could play a pivotal role in the upcoming review.

The 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals previously upheld Delligatti’s conviction, affirming the enhanced sentence on his gun charge. The Supreme Court’s willingness to hear the appeal indicates that there may be substantial questions about the interpretation of legal definitions affecting enhanced sentences.

The outcome of this case holds significant implications for federal sentencing laws. If Delligatti’s appeal is successful, it could restrict the application of enhanced penalties in cases where the underlying crime is questioned as a “crime of violence.”

Federal appeals courts have not uniformly interpreted what constitutes a "crime of violence," which has led to inconsistent sentences across jurisdictions. The Supreme Court’s decision could create a uniform standard, impacting countless future cases.

Justice Department and Defense Arguments

The Supreme Court will review Salvatore "Fat Sal" Delligatti's appeal challenging his 2018 gun charge conviction. Delligatti argues that his underlying offense does not qualify as a "crime of violence," affecting enhanced sentencing applications.

Given the divided opinions among lower courts, the court's decision could redefine legal boundaries for such enhancements. This case could set a new standard for federal sentencing laws.

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About Ashton Snyder

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