James v. United States

James v. United States

Supreme Court of the United States

November 7, 2006, Argued ; April 18, 2007, Decided

No. 05-9264


 [**1590]  [*195]  Justice Alito delivered the opinion of the [****9]  Court.

LEdHN[1A][] [1A] The Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA), 18 U.S.C. § 924(e)(1) (2000 ed., Supp. IV), provides that a defendant convicted of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, in violation of § 922(g), is subject to a mandatory sentence of 15 years of imprisonment if the defendant has three prior convictions "for a violent felony or a serious drug offense."

The question before us is whether HN1[] attempted burglary, as defined by Florida law, is a "violent felony" under ACCA. We hold that it is, and we therefore affirm the judgment of the Court of Appeals.

Petitioner Alphonso James pleaded guilty in federal court to one count of possessing a firearm after being convicted of a felony, in violation of § 922(g)(1). In his guilty plea, James  [*196]  admitted to the three prior felony convictions listed in his federal indictment. These included a conviction in Florida state court for attempted burglary of a dwelling, in violation of Florida Statutes §§ 810.02 and 777.04 (1993).1

 [****10] At sentencing, the Government argued that James was subject to ACCA's 15-year mandatory minimum term because of his three prior convictions. James objected, arguing that his attempted burglary conviction did not qualify as a "violent felony" under 18 U.S.C. § 924(e). The District Court held that attempted burglary is a violent felony, and the Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit affirmed that holding, 430 F.3d 1150, 1157 (2005). We granted certiorari, 547 U.S. 1191 , 126 S. Ct. 2860, 165 L. Ed. 2d 894 (2006).

HN2[] ACCA's 15-year mandatory minimum applies "[i]n the case of a person who violates section 922(g) of this title [the felon in possession of a firearm provision] [**1591]  and has three previous convictions . . . for a violent felony or a serious drug offense, or both, committed on occasions different from one another." § 924(e)(1) (2000 ed., Supp. IV). ACCA defines a "violent felony" as

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550 U.S. 192 *; 127 S. Ct. 1586 **; 167 L. Ed. 2d 532 ***; 2007 U.S. LEXIS 4337 ****; 75 U.S.L.W. 4230; 20 Fla. L. Weekly Fed. S 161


Subsequent History:  [****1] As Corrected April 18, 2007.

US Supreme Court rehearing denied by James v. United States, 551 U.S. 1128, 127 S. Ct. 2968, 168 L. Ed. 2d 287, 2007 U.S. LEXIS 7495 (U.S., 2007)

Subsequent appeal at United States v. James, 262 Fed. Appx. 159, 2008 U.S. App. LEXIS 775 (11th Cir. Fla., Jan. 10, 2008)

Prior History: United States v. James, 430 F.3d 1150, 2005 U.S. App. LEXIS 24665 (11th Cir. Fla., 2005)

Disposition: Affirmed.

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Criminal Law & Procedure, Burglary & Criminal Trespass, Burglary, General Overview, Inchoate Crimes, Attempt, Possession of Weapons, Unregistered Firearm, Penalties, Adjustments & Enhancements, Criminal History, Prior Felonies, Elements, Constitutional Law, Fundamental Rights, Criminal Process, Right to Jury Trial