The Armed Career Criminals Act (ACCA) is a federal law that requires a minimum sentence of 15 years’ incarceration for certain individuals. Specifically, ACCA imposes the minimum sentence for anyone convicted of a gun crime, who has three or more “violent felony” convictions. The United States Supreme Court is expected to release its decision in a recent case answering the question of whether a crime involving a defendant’s “reckless” conduct meets the definition of a violent felony. This case could have broad implications in many Arizona gun cases.
Originally passed in 1984, the ACCA has since been interpreted by many courts. One of the most common issues in ACCA cases is whether the defendant’s prior convictions fit within the definition of a “violent felony.” If so, the defendant will face the minimum 15-year sentence. The ACCA defines a violent felony as one that “has as an element the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against the person of another.”
Recently, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral argument in a case requiring the Justices to determine if a crime involving reckless – and not intentional – conduct can qualify as a violent felony under the ACCA.