United States v. Strickland, — F.3d —, 2017 WL 2723926 (9th Cir. June 26, 2017): Oregon third-degree robbery not a “violent felony” under Armed Career Criminal Act
Eddie Ray Strickland pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm in violation of 18 U.S.C. 922(g)(1) and was sentenced to the fifteen-year mandatory minimum under the Armed Career Criminal Act, 18 U.S.C. 924(e)(1). The Act applied on the premise that Mr. Strickland’s prior conviction for Oregon third-degree burglary was a “violent felony,” meaning that it necessarily involved the use of “violent force” – the kind capable of causing physical injury – against the person of another. Oregon third-degree burglary, however, can be (and has been) committed by means of a purse-snatch that the victim barely even notices. The Ninth Circuit accordingly vacated Mr. Strickland’s sentence and remanded the case.
(Congratulations to Kevin W. Bons and Kelly R. Beckley, Beckley & Bons, P.C., of Eugene, Oregon, and Elizabeth G. Daily and Stephen R. Sady of amicus curiae Federal Public Defender, Portland, Oregon.)
(Dan Kaplan is an Assistant Federal Public Defender in Phoenix, Arizona.)