Stokeling v. United States

Summarized by:

  • Court: U.S. Supreme Court Certiorari Granted
  • Area(s) of Law: Sentencing
  • Date Filed: April 2, 2018
  • Case #: 17-5554
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: 684 F. App'x 870 (11th Cir. 2017)
  • Full Text Opinion

Whether a state robbery offense which requires a showing of overcoming "victim resistance" for conviction is a "violent felony" subject to Armed Career Criminal sentencing enhancements, if even slight force may satisfy the element of overcoming “victim resistance.”

Petitioner was charged with, and pled guilty to, felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition. In the presentence investigation report the probation officer stated that Petitioner was subject to enhanced sentencing under the Armed Career Criminal Act (A.C.C.A), 18 U.S.C. § 924(e), due to Petitioner’s three prior convictions for “violent felonies” and “serious drug offenses.” Thus, pursuant to U.S.S.G. § 4B1.4(b)(3)(B), the parole officer recommended a sentencing range of 180 to 188 month’s imprisonment. Petitioner objected to qualifying both robbery convictions as A.C.C.A. predicates, because these convictions do not require a finding of the use of violent force. At sentencing, the district court ruled that Petitioner’s unarmed robbery conviction did not qualify as a predicate, and accordingly reduced Petitioner’s sentence. On appeal, the Eleventh Circuit vacated and remanded for resentencing, holding that the district court improperly qualified Petitioner’s unarmed robbery conviction as a non-predicate to A.C.C.A. sentencing enhancements. Petitioner argues that the decision of the Eleventh Circuit directly conflicts with the Supreme Court’s decision in Mathis v. United States, 136 S. Ct. 2243 (2016) which requires courts to determine the minimum conduct necessary to qualify violent force separate from that which overcomes victim resistance. Petitioner requests the Court resolve the circuit split and define A.C.C.A. predicates as applied to common law robbery offenses.

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