Quarles v. United States

Summarized by:

  • Court: United States Supreme Court
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Law
  • Date Filed: June 10, 2019
  • Case #: 17-778
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: KAVANAUGH, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, THOMAS, J., filed a concurring opinion.
  • Full Text Opinion

For sentencing purposes under 18 U.S.C. §924(e), a remaining-in burglary occurs when a defendant forms the intent to commit a crime at any time while unlawfully remaining in the building or structure. A state law will qualify for enhanced sentencing purposes so long as it substantially corresponds or is narrower than the federal statute.

Petitioner pled guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm under 18 U.S.C. §922(g)(1). Petitioner had three previous convictions that would qualify for an aggravated felony under 18 U.S.C. §924(e), which includes burglary under violent felonies. Petitioner argued at the sentencing phase that third-degree home invasion under Michigan state law did not qualify under §924(e) because it was broader than the federal statute. The district court rejected the argument that the state law was broader because intent could be formed at any time someone unlawfully remains in a building and not at the exact moment a defendant first unlawfully enters. The Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit affirmed. The United States Supreme Court looked to the ordinary meaning and held that a generic remaining-in burglary under §924(e) is a continuous activity when a defendant forms the intent to commit a crime at any time while unlawfully remaining in a building or structure. It further held that if a state law substantially corresponds to or is narrower than generic burglary it qualifies for enhanced sentencing purposes.  The Court found that the Sixth Circuit properly sentenced Petitioner under §924(e) and clarified any inconsistent application across the circuits. AFFIRMED.

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