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Stokeling v. United States

Supreme Court of the United States

October 9, 2018, Argued; January 15, 2019, Decided

No. 17-5554.

Opinion

Justice Thomas delivered the opinion of the Court.

This case requires us to decide whether a robbery offense that has as an element the use of force sufficient to overcome a victim’s resistance necessitates the use of “physical force” within the meaning of the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA), 18 U. S. C. §924(e)(2)(B)(i). We conclude that it does.

 [*549]  I

In the early hours of July 27, 2015, two people burgled the Tongue & Cheek restaurant in Miami Beach, Florida. Petitioner Denard Stokeling was an employee of the restaurant, and the Miami Beach Police identified him as a suspect based on surveillance video from the burglary and witness statements. After conducting [***5]  a criminal background check, police  [**517]  learned that Stokeling had previously been convicted of three felonies—home invasion, kidnaping, and robbery. When confronted, Stokeling admitted that he had a gun in his backpack. The detectives opened the backpack and discovered a 9-mm semiautomatic firearm, a magazine, and 12 rounds of ammunition.

Stokeling pleaded guilty in federal court to possessing a firearm and ammunition after having been convicted of a felony, in violation of 18 U. S. C. §922(g)(1). The probation office recommended that Stokeling be sentenced as an armed career criminal under ACCA, which provides that a person who violates §922(g) and who has three previous convictions for a “violent felony” shall be imprisoned for a minimum of 15 years. §924(e). ACCA defines “violent felony” as “any crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year” that

“(i) has as an element the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against the person of another; or

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139 S. Ct. 544 *; 202 L. Ed. 2d 512 **; 2019 U.S. LEXIS 725 ***; 27 Fla. L. Weekly Fed. S 621; 2019 WL 189343

DENARD STOKELING, Petitioner v. UNITED STATES

Notice: The LEXIS pagination of this document is subject to change pending release of the final published version.

Prior History:  [***1] ON WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE ELEVENTH CIRCUIT

United States v. Stokeling, 684 Fed. Appx. 870, 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 5977 (11th Cir. Fla., Apr. 6, 2017)

Disposition: 684 Fed. Appx. 870, affirmed.

CORE TERMS

robbery, physical force, violence, resistance, qualify, common-law, violent, predicates, violent felony, physical pain, enumerated, residuary clause, robbery statute, sentence, common law, burglary, use of force, offender, battery, use of physical force, felony, words, pull, Dictionary, convicted, encompassed, firearm, courts, predicate offense, categorical

Criminal Law & Procedure, Sentencing Guidelines, Adjustments & Enhancements, Armed Career Criminals, Robbery, Unarmed Robbery, Elements, Governments, Legislation, Interpretation