Quarles v. United States

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Quarles pled guilty as a felon in possession of a firearm but objected to enhanced sentencing under the Armed Career Criminal Act, 18 U.S.C. 924(e). He claimed that his 2002 Michigan conviction for third-degree home invasion did not qualify as a "violent felony," defined by section 924(e) to include “burglary.” The generic statutory term “burglary” means “unlawful or unprivileged entry into, or remaining in, a building or structure, with intent to commit a crime.” Quarles argued that Michigan’s statute, which applies when a person “breaks and enters a dwelling or enters a dwelling without permission and, at any time while ... entering, present in, or exiting the dwelling, commits a misdemeanor,” swept too broadly by encompassing situations where the defendant forms the intent to commit a crime at any time while unlawfully remaining in a dwelling, while generic remaining-in burglary occurs only when the defendant has the intent to commit a crime at the exact moment when he first unlawfully remains in a building or structure. The district court, Sixth Circuit, and a unanimous Supreme Court rejected that argument. Generic remaining-in burglary occurs when the defendant forms the intent to commit a crime at any time while unlawfully remaining in a building or structure. In ordinary usage, “remaining-in” is a continuous activity, so burglary occurs if the defendant forms the intent to commit a crime at any time during the continuous event of unlawfully remaining in a building or structure. Congress singled out burglary because of its inherent potential for harm to persons; the possibility of a violent confrontation does not depend on the exact moment when the burglar forms the intent to commit a crime while unlawfully present in a building or structure. Michigan’s home-invasion statute substantially corresponds to or is narrower than generic burglary. View "Quarles v. United States" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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