Robinson v. United States

Summarized by:

  • Court: U.S. Supreme Court Certiorari Granted
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Law
  • Date Filed: October 7, 2019
  • Case #: 19-5196
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: 714 Fed. Appx. 275 (4th Cir. 2018)
  • Full Text Opinion

Whether North Carolina breaking and Entering, which criminalizes the breaking and entering into "any other structure designed to house or secure within it any activity or property," is broader than the Armed Career Criminal Act burglary.

Petitioner was sentenced as an Armed Career Criminal based on three North Carolina breaking and entering convictions from when he was sixteen years old. Petitioner argued the convictions were not categorically violent felonies as required by the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA). The district court overruled the objection. The Fourth Circuit disagreed and held that the North Carolina breaking and entering definition is no broader than the generic burglary definition. The Fourth Circuit denied rehearing. When determining whether a crime is a violent felony the courts must look to how the law defines the offense. A prior conviction may be considered if it is defined more narrowly than the generic federal crime. Petitioner argues for Supreme Court review on the grounds that North Carolina breaking and entering is broader than the ACCA and thus is a violent felony only if the elements match the generic federal elements, which they do not. Petitioner additionally argues that what types of enclosures are ACCA “buildings” is unsettled after United States v. Stitt, 586 U.S. ___ (2018), and thus generic burglary’s definition is incomparable to the North Carolina definition and the issue needs to be resolved. The Supreme Court vacated the judgment and remanded to the Fourth Circuit for further consideration in light of its decision in Rehaif v. United States, 588 U. S. ___ (2019).

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