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Shawshank Redemption Gets Cameo in Sixth Circuit Opinion

Posted in Recent Cases

In United States v. Stout, the Sixth Circuit considered whether an escape from prison constituted a crime of violence in connection with a subsequent federal prosecution.  The majority concluded that it did, after thoroughly analyzing the relevant statutes and applicable precedent.  Judge Donald, however, disagreed and dissented.  In Judge Donald’s dissent, she contrasted the escape at issue in this case with the plight of Andy Dufresne, “who slowly chiseled his way to freedom and destroyed a sewer pipe in effectuating his escape” in the Shawshank Redemption.  While Judge Donald would find that the Shawshank escape did constitute a crime of violence, she could not find the same with respect to the facts at issue.  Although the applicability of the decision in Stout may be limited, both the majority and dissent contained fairly interesting opinions regarding how to classify an escape from prison, all of which you can ponder the next time you’re watching Shawshank.