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United States v. Borden: Why imposing mandatory minimums under the ACCA for reckless crimes offends due process

On June 7, 2021 by Schnader in Criminal Defense

Danielle Bruno McDermott published an article, “United States v. Borden: Why imposing mandatory minimums under the ACCA for reckless crimes offends due process,” in the Lawyers Journal of the Allegheny County Bar Association.

The Armed Career Criminal Act, 18 U.S.C. §924(e), imposes a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in prison when a person who has three prior convictions for a “violent felony” or a “serious drug offense” is subsequently convicted of possessing a firearm under 18 U.S.C. § 922(g). Under the ACCA, a defendant convicted of §922(g) who has three prior convictions for violent felonies is subject to enhanced penalties under §924(e) – however, courts are in disagreement as to whether crimes of recklessness should qualify as “violent felonies” under the ACCA.

On Nov. 3, 2020, the United States Supreme Court heard oral argument in the case of Borden v. United States to determine that very question. Of particular import to the Justices were various scenarios where reckless acts could hypothetically fall under the provisions of the ACCA, such as drunk driving; texting while driving; and swinging a bat recklessly resulting in serious injury to another.

Click here to read the full article (page 7). Or download it here.