Published on: Monday, April 16, 2018

Today, the United States Supreme Court granted the petitions for certiorari and vacated the lower court judgments in Sykes v. United States, No. 16-9604, and Brown v. United States, No. 17-6344, and remanded to the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit in light of that courts recent opinion in United States v. Naylor, ___ F.3d ___, No. 16-2047, 2018 WL 1630249 (8th Cir. Apr. 5, 2018) (en banc). 

Sykes asked the Supreme Court to decide “[w]hether Missouri’s second-degree burglary statute is divisible into two offenses with separate elements for the purpose of analyzing whether a conviction under that statute qualifies as a conviction for a ‘violent felony’ as defined in the Armed Career Criminal Act of 1984, 18 U.S.C. § 924(e)(2)(B)(ii).”  Brown raised a similar issue , but in the context of a certificate of appealability following the denial of a § 2255 motion.  Sykes had been distributed for conference 17 times before the GVR today.  Brown had been distributed five times.

The GVRs were prompted by the Eighth Circuit’s recent en banc decision in Naylor, which held that a defendant’s prior Missouri convictions for second degree burglary did not qualify as “violent felonies” under the ACCA, overruling United States v. Sykes, 844 F.3d 712 (8th Cir.2016). Naylor, 2018 WL 1630249, at *7 (“We hold that the Missouri second-degree burglary statute is indivisible as to the phrase ‘building or inhabitable structure.’ Because the Missouri second-degree burglary statute covers more conduct than does generic burglary, we further hold that convictions for second-degree burglary under Mo. Rev. Stat. § 569.170 (1979) do not qualify as violent felonies under the ACCA.”).  

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