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June 12, 2006

A cert grant as the biggest(?) SCOTUS sentencing news

Easily overlooked in all the capital sentencing and Blakely news today from the Supreme Court (basics here, commentary here and here) is the cert grant to explore next Term what state convictions qualify as a violent felony for purposes of mandatory sentences under the Armed Career Criminal Act.  Here's the updated description of the case from SCOTUSblog:

The Court ... agreed to decide whether state convictions for attempted burglary -- as defined under Florida law -- qualify as a violent felony for purposes of mandatory sentences under the federal Armed Career Criminal Act.  The case is Alphonso James v. U.S. (05-9264).

As detailed in prior posts here and here and here and elsewhere, many years of imprisonment can often hinge on what qualifies as a violent felony for ACCA purposes (or what is a "crime of violence" for guideline purposes).  And the list of crimes that have been deemed "violent" -- e.g., evasive driving, making a harassing phone call -- never ceases to amaze.  Thus, I suspect a lot of folks will be interested to follow what the court does next Term with Alphonso James v. U.S.

June 12, 2006 at 05:19 PM | Permalink

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Comments

One major issue that this might affect is the classification of escape (and attempted escape) as a crime of violence in almost all of the circuits.

Posted by: j | Jun 12, 2006 10:23:20 PM

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