Webster v. United States

Summarized by:

  • Court: U.S. Supreme Court Certiorari Granted
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Law
  • Date Filed: October 7, 2019
  • Case #: 18-7572
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: 730 F. App’x 396 (8th Cir. 2018)
  • Full Text Opinion

Whether a Wisconsin burglary statute provides different factual means and thus different ways of committing a single crime that would make Wisconsin burglary broader than generic burglary and unable to qualify as a prior conviction under the Armed Career Criminal Act.

Petitioner pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm and ammunition by a felon. Petitioner was identified as an Armed Career Criminal based on three convictions for burglary and one conviction for possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, which constituted violent felonies and a serious drug offense under the Armed Career Criminal Act (“ACCA”). Petitioner received enhanced sentencing pursuant to the ACCA, because the convictions satisfied the ACCA’s requirement of three previous convictions under 18 U.S.C. § 924(e)(1). Petitioner filed for rehearing with the Eighth Circuit, but subsequently filed a motion to stay based on the Seventh Circuit requesting that the Wisconsin Supreme Court answer whether Wisconsin’s burglary statute provided distinct legal elements and thus multiple crimes or different factual means and thus different ways of committing the single crime of burglary, which would determine whether Petitioner had the convictions necessary for enhanced sentencing. The Eighth Circuit denied Petitioner’s requests while affirming the sentence. Petitioner argued that the Supreme Court should grant review because the Eighth Circuit’s decision conflicted with the Seventh Circuit’s decision while improperly viewing Wisconsin’s statute as consisting of elements, instead of multiple means to commit one crime.  In a summary disposition order, the Supreme Court granted review and entered a judgment vacating and remanding the case for consideration in light of United States v. Franklin, 2019 WI 64, 387 Wis. 2d 259, 928 N. W. 2d 545 (2019). VACATED AND REMANDED.

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