US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit Opinions
United States v. Taylor
Opinion Date: October 12, 2017
Judge: Edith Brown Clement
Areas of Law: Criminal Law
The Fifth Circuit held that defendant's claim that his sentence enhancement was no longer valid under the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA), 18 U.S.C. 924(e), was constitutionally based and warranted relief under 28 U.S.C. 2255. As a preliminary matter, the government conceded that defendant's injury to a child conviction no longer counted as an ACCA predicate after Johnson, and that, if defendant's claim was constitutionally based, then his sentence exceeds the statutory maximum. In this case, the district court did not specify under which clause of the ACCA it was sentencing defendant. Texas's injury to a child offense was broader than the ACCA's elements clause, and the injury to a child conviction was necessary to sustain defendant's sentence enhancement because it was one of the three required predicate offenses. The court reasoned that this was sufficient to show that section 924(e)(2)(B)(ii) may no longer authorize defendant's sentence as that statute stands after Johnson v. United States, 135 S. Ct. 2551, 2563 (2015). The court vacated the ACCA enhancement and ordered defendant's immediate release.
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