Willamette Law Online

United States Supreme Court Certiorari Granted


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Johnson v. United States

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: April 21, 2014
Case #: 13-7120
Court Below: 526 Fed. Appx. 708 (8th Cir. 2013).
Full Text Opinion: http://media.ca8.uscourts.gov/opndir/13/07/123123U.pdf

Criminal Law: Whether possession of a shotgun is a violent felony under the Armed Career Criminal Act.

Petitioner was convicted of three violent felonies: attempted simple robbery, simple robbery, and possession of a short-barreled shotgun. Petitioner was thus found to be an armed career criminal under the Armed Career Criminal Act, 18 U.S.C. §924(e),and is subject to a minimum sentence of 15 years in prison. To determine that Petitioner is an armed career criminal the presentence investigation report calculated points from each of Petitioner's prior convictions to get a total offense level of 30, in the range to be an armed career criminal. The Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit determined that under the Armed Career Criminal Act, the above listed crimes are violent felonies, and the points given for each were correctly evaluated. The Court of Appeals affirmed the district court's holding, and Petitioner asked for review from the United States Supreme Court, which was granted.

Petitioner claims there is a clear split among the circuit courts. In addition, Petitioner wants the court to determine whether mere possession of a short-barreled shotgun should be a violent felony. Last, Petitioner alleges the eighth circuit incorrectly applies precedent to the case. The Court will determine whether a short-barreled shotgun "involves conduct that presents a serious potential risk of physical injury to another" to be considered a violent felony under the Armed Career Criminal Act.