- Court: U.S. Supreme Court Certiorari Granted
- Area(s) of Law: Criminal Law
- Date Filed: November 15, 2019
- Case #: 19-373
- Judge(s)/Court Below: 769 F. App'x 195 (6th Cir. 2019)
- Full Text Opinion
Petitioner was convicted for possessing ammunition as a felon, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g). In light of the Court’s ruling in Johnson v. United States, 135 S. Ct. 2551 (2015), which held the residual clause of the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA) to be unconstitutionally vague, Petitioner applied for postconviction relief. The district court held that a convicted offense committed with a mens rea of recklessness did not qualify as a violent felony under the ACCA’s force clause. The Sixth Circuit reversed, following circuit precedent that such offenses can qualify as violent felonies. Petitioner asks the Supreme Court to resolve the deep circuit split as to whether a criminal offense that can be committed with a mens rea of recklessness can qualify as a “violent felony” under the ACCA's force clause, 18 U.S.C. § 924(e). Petitioner asserts that a defendant’s sentencing under a federal statute should not be predicated on the circuit in which he was convicted. Petitioner reasons that the deep circuit split leads to disparate sentencing for criminal defendants—the mandatory minimums often double a defendant’s sentence in circuits that follow the Sixth Circuit’s interpretation. Petitioner further argues that, given the depth of the split between circuits, this issue will continually recur unless the Court intervenes.