SCOTUS Strikes Down a Piece of the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA)
Date:  07-01-2015

Some sentenced under the ACCA may be able to apply for a sentence reduction
The Supreme Court of the United States was on a roll this past week handing down decisions on “Obama Care,” marriage equality, and Johnson v United States, in which Samuel Johnson argued against the residual clause of the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA) having to do with the definition of “violent crimes.”

The gist of the ACCA ruling is that the ACCA “requires judges to give a 15-year mandatory minimum sentence to any federal offender convicted of possessing a firearm or ammunition, if that defendant has three prior felonies for drug offenses and/or “crimes of violence,” according to FAMM. But, FAMM adds, in a release dated June 25, ‘…the ACCA also includes a much broader clause, called the residual clause, which counts as violent any crime “that otherwise involves conduct that presents a serious potential risk of physical injury to another.” Therein lays the vagueness of the clause.

For those who would like a clearer understanding of the ACCA and what the decision of SCOTUS will bring, Vox provides a primer that explains what the ACCA is, as well as what Johnson v United States is based on, and how striking down the residual clause will affect the 7,000 people sentenced under the ACCA. For most it will have little effect, but it will give others the opportunity to apply for a sentence reduction.