Published on: Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Last Friday, the United States Supreme Court granted certiorari in Walker v. United States, No. 19-373 (Nov. 15, 2019) (cert. granted), to decide “[w]hether a criminal offense that can be committed with a mens rea of recklessness can qualify as a ‘violent felony’ under the Armed Career Criminal Act [ACCA].” 

The dispute involves whether a 1982 Texas prior conviction for robbery is a "violent felony" under the use-of-force-clause of the ACCA, which requires the offense to have "as an element the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against the person of another." 18 U.S.C. § 924(e)(2)(B)(i).  As relevant to this case, at the time of Mr. Walker’s 1982 conviction, Texas defined the crime of robbery as:

(a) A person commits an offense if, in the course of committing theft as defined in Chapter 31 of this code and with intent to obtain or maintain control of the property, he:

(1) intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causes bodily injury to another . . . .

Tex. Penal Code § 29.02 (1974). 

The certiorari stage briefing is available on the Supreme Court’s website here.  The Sixth Circuit’s opinion below in Walker v. United States, No. 17-5782/5783 (6th Cir. Apr. 16, 2019), is available here.  The Sixth Circuit’s denial of rehearing en banc, with an excellent dissent by Judge Kethledge, is here.

The Training Division provides training resources on crimes of violence and violent felonies in the password-protected side of fd.org here.