United States v. Stitt

Summarized by:

  • Court: United States Supreme Court
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Law
  • Date Filed: December 10, 2018
  • Case #: 17-765
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: BREYER, J., delivered the opinion for a unanimous Court
  • Full Text Opinion

Whether burglary of a non permanent or mobile structure that is adapted or used for overnight accommodation can qualify as ‘burglary’ under the Armed Career Criminal Act,18 U. S. C. §924(e)

Respondents, formerly convicted felons, were each convicted for unlawful possession of a firearm in federal court. Under the Armed Career Criminal Act, 18 U.S.C. §924(e), a mandatory enhanced sentencing of 15 years is required for offenders with three previous convictions for violent felonies. Respondents appealed their sentences to the Court of Appeals, arguing that the definition of burglary under the state statutes for which they were previously convicted did not fall within the federal definition of burglary as applied in the Act. The United States sought review by the Court after the sentences were reversed on appeal. The Court held that the generic definition of burglary as used in the Act includes the dwellings and structures defined in the state statutes. Relying upon congressional intent and outlined by United States v. Taylor, the Court reasoned that the definition within the Act was intended to include the definitions of burglary used in the majority of states. Further, the Court held that while non typical vehicles being used as dwellings may be found as excluded from the state's definition of burglary (see United States v. Mathis) the question would be remanded to the lower courts in order to decide the question. REVERSED AND REMANDED.

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