Under the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA), people with prior convictions for certain crimes can face greater penalties during subsequent sentencing hearings. Specifically, the ACCA allows for increased sentences for people with a history of committing violent felonies. Violent felony is a broad term, though, and it is not always clear what qualifies as such an offense. Recently, a Michigan court discussed whether home invasion constituted a violent felony, ultimately concluding that it did. If you are accused of committing a crime, it is in your best interest to talk to a Michigan criminal defense attorney about your options for seeking a just outcome.
History of the Case
It is reported that the defendant was charged with possession of a firearm as a convicted felon. He entered a guilty plea, after which he was convicted and sentenced. During his sentencing hearing, he was deemed a career offender under the ACCA due to a prior conviction for third-degree home invasion. He appealed, arguing that his prior offense was not a violent felony as defined by the ACCA, and therefore, his sentence was improper.
Violent Felonies Under the ACCA
On appeal, the court affirmed the trial court ruling. In so doing, it explained that under the meaning, as defined by the ACCA, a conviction will be considered a violent felony if the statutory elements are either more narrow or the same as those of the generic violent felony offense. In order to conduct this assessment, which is referred to as the categorical approach, the court must only assess the statutory language. In other words, it must ignore the actual facts that led to the defendant being charged with the underlying offense. Continue Reading ›