Supreme Court Review 2016/2017 TERM
SUNDAY, MARCH 26, 2017

Issue:  Crime of Violence

Beckles v. United States



(1) Whether Johnson v. United States applies retroactively to collateral cases challenging federal sentences enhanced under the residual clause in United States Sentencing Guidelines (U.S.S.G.) § 4B1.2(a)(2) (defining “crime of violence”); (2) whether Johnson's constitutional holding applies to the residual clause in U.S.S.G. § 4B1.2(a)(2), thereby rendering challenges to sentences enhanced under it cognizable on collateral review; and (3) whether mere possession of a sawed-off shotgun, an offense listed as a “crime of violence” only in commentary to U.S.S.G. § 4B1.2, remains a “crime of violence” after Johnson.


Decided March 6, 2017 HOLDING

The Federal Sentencing Guidelines, including §4B1.2(a)’s residual clause, are not subject to vagueness challenges under the Due Process Clause.

Agree Concur image Justice Sotomayor
Agree Concur Sotomayor
Agree image Justice Breyer
Agree Breyer
Author image Justice Thomas
Author Thomas
Recused image Justice Scalia
Recused Scalia
Agree image Chief Justice Roberts
Agree Roberts
Agree Concur image Justice Kennedy
Agree Concur Kennedy
Agree Concur image Justice Ginsburg
Agree Concur Ginsburg
Agree image Justice Alito
Agree Alito
Recused image Justice Kagan
Recused Kagan

THOMAS, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which ROBERTS, C. J., and KENNEDY, BREYER, and ALITO, JJ., joined. KENNEDY, J., filed a concurring opinion. GINSBURG, J., and SOTOMAYOR, J., filed opinions concurring in the judgment. KAGAN, J., took no part in the consideration or decision of the case.

Text of Opinion
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Argued November 28, 2016

On Behalf of Petitioner Travis Beckles
Janice L. Bergmann, Assistant Federal Public Defender, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
On Behalf of Respondent United States
Michael R. Dreeben, Deputy Solicitor General, Department of Justice, Washington, D. C.
On Behalf of Court-Appointed as Amicus Curiae for the Court
Adam K. Mortara, Chicago, Ill.
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Merit Briefs
Brief for Petitioner (pdf download)
Brief for Respondent (pdf download)
Amicus Curiae Briefs
Brief for Federal Public Defenders and the National Association of Federal Defenders in Support of Petitioner (pdf download)
Brief for Scholars of Criminal Law, Federal Courts and Sentencing in Support of Petitioner (pdf download)


Granted June 27, 2016

Certiorari Stage Documents
      Petition for Certiorari (pdf download)
Brief in Opposition (pdf download)
Petitioner's Reply (pdf download)

Other Certiorari Stage Documents
Supplemental brief of petitioner (pdf download)


United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
Decided September 29, 2015
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