Decided: June 11, 2014
The Fourth Circuit held that defendant’s prior “breaking or entering” convictions qualified as Armed Career Criminal Act (“ACCA”) predicate offences. Affirmed.
Defendant had three prior state convictions for “breaking or entering.” The ACCA establishes minimum sentencing requirements for felons in possession of a firearm when the felon has previously been convicted of three, or more, “predicate offenses,” which include burglary. Defendant argued that his convictions for “breaking or entering” were not burglary as defined in the ACCA, and, therefore, the district court erred in applying the heightened sentence.
The Court compared North Carolina’s “breaking or entering” statute with the generic burglary offense as defined in the Model Penal Code and popular treatises, and determined that it fell within the definition of burglary found in the ACCA because the North Carolina’s “breaking or entering” offense “sweeps no more broadly” than generic elements of burglary.