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University of Michigan Law School

2012

Criminal Law

Michigan Law Review

Circuit splits

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Assessing Divisibility In The Armed Career Criminal Act, Ted Koehler Jun 2012

Assessing Divisibility In The Armed Career Criminal Act, Ted Koehler

Michigan Law Review

When courts analyze whether a defendant's prior conviction qualifies as a "violent felony" under the Armed Career Criminal Act's "residual clause," they use a "categorical approach," looking only to the statutory language of the prior offense, rather than the facts disclosed by the record of conviction. But when a defendant is convicted under a "divisible" statute, which encompasses a broader range of conduct, only some of which would qualify as a predicate offense, courts may employ the "modified categorical approach." This approach allows courts to view additional documents to determine whether the jury convicted the defendant of the ...