Supreme Court Review 2016/2017 TERM
MONDAY, JULY 24, 2017

Issue:  Armed Career Criminal Act

Mathis v. United States



Whether a court may employ the “modified categorical approach” under Taylor v. United States and Descamps v. United States to determine whether a defendant was convicted of a crime constituting a predicate offense under the Armed Career Criminal Act of 1984 when a defendant has been convicted under a state statute that sets out, in the alternative, several forms of committing an offense, or whether instead the applicability of the modified categorical approach depends on a state-law inquiry into whether the alternative forms of the offense represent “means” or “elements.”


Decided June 23, 2016 HOLDING

Because the elements of Iowa’s burglary law are broader than those of generic burglary, Mathis’s prior convictions cannot give rise to ACCA’s sentence enhancement.

Agree image Justice Sotomayor
Agree Sotomayor
Dissent Author image Justice Breyer
Dissent Author Breyer
Agree Concur image Justice Thomas
Agree Concur Thomas
Agree image Justice Scalia
Agree Scalia
Agree image Chief Justice Roberts
Agree Roberts
Agree image Justice Kennedy
Agree Kennedy
Agree w/ Breyer image Justice Ginsburg
Agree w/ Breyer Ginsburg
Dissent Author image Justice Alito
Dissent Author Alito
Author image Justice Kagan
Author Kagan

KAGAN, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which ROBERTS, C. J., and KENNEDY, THOMAS, and SOTOMAYOR, JJ., joined. KENNEDY, J., and THOMAS, J., filed concurring opinions. BREYER, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which GINSBURG, J., joined. ALITO, J., filed a dissenting opinion.

Text of Opinion
pdf download


Granted January 19, 2016

Certiorari Stage Documents
      Petition for Certiorari (pdf download)
Brief in Opposition (pdf download)


United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
Decided May 12, 2015
pdf download