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Sentencing-Armed Career Criminal Act

7th Circuit Court of Appeals

Case Name: United States of America v. Lavelle Hatley

Case No.: 21-2534

Officials: Flaum, Brennan, and Scudder, Circuit Judges

Focus: Sentencing-Armed Career Criminal Act

Police discovered a gun in Hatley’s possession during a Gary, Indiana traffic stop. Hatley pled guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm, 18 U.S.C. 922(g)(1), which ordinarily carries a statutory maximum of 10 years. The government contended that Hatley’s criminal history exposed him to an enhanced sentence of at least 15 years under the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA) in particular under 18 U.S.C. 924(e), which applies to offenders with “three previous convictions … for a violent felony … committed on occasions different from one another.” Hatley’s criminal history included convictions for robbery and criminal battery under Indiana law, both violent felonies under 924(e), and eight separate federal convictions for Hobbs Act robberies committed on eight different occasions. The Seventh Circuit is asked what qualifies for enhanced sentencing under the Armed Career Criminal Act. This time around the Seventh Circuit assesses whether Hobbs Act robbery constitutes a “violent felony” within the meaning of 18 U.S.C. § 924(e). Hobbs Act robbery committed by using force against a person fits within ACCA’s force clause. The other way of committing Hobbs Act robbery—using force against property—does not fit within ACCA’s force clause but qualifies as a violent felony under ACCA’s enumerated definition of generic extortion.


Decided 03/06/23

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