U.S. Supreme Court Cites Torts 2d
The U.S. Supreme Court recently relied on the interpretation of the term “remain” set forth in Restatement of the Law Second, Torts § 158, Comment m, in concluding that, for purposes of the Armed Career Criminal Act, 18 U.S.C. § 924(e), a defendant who was charged with committing burglary by unlawfully “remaining in” a building could be convicted if he or she formed the intent to commit a crime at any time while unlawfully remaining in the building; the prosecution did not have to show that the defendant had the intent to commit a crime at the exact moment when he or she first unlawfully remained in the building.
In Quarles v. United States, No. 17-778 (June 10, 2019), the defendant, Jamar Quarles, pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1). Although the defendant had three prior convictions that appeared to qualify as violent felonies under the Armed Career Criminal Act, which mandated a minimum 15-year prison sentence for a felon who unlawfully possessed a firearm and had three prior convictions for a violent felony, the defendant argued during sentencing proceedings that one of his convictions—“a 2002 Michigan conviction for third-degree home invasion stemming from [the defendant’s] attempt to chase down an ex-girlfriend who had sought refuge in a nearby apartment”—did not qualify as a burglary under the Act. Specifically, the defendant contended that the Michigan home-invasion statute that he was convicted under was too broad to constitute a burglary under the Act, because it “encompassed situations where the defendant form[ed] the intent to commit a crime at any time while unlawfully remaining in a dwelling, not at the exact moment when the defendant [was] first unlawfully present in a dwelling.” The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan rejected the defendant’s argument and sentenced him to 17 years in prison, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit affirmed.
Associate Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh, delivering the opinion for a unanimous Court, concluded, with respect to the timing of the intent requirement for a burglary that could constitute a violent felony for purposes of the Act, that “remaining in” burglary occurred when a defendant formed the intent to commit a crime at any time while unlawfully remaining in a building. The Court explained that, “[i]n ordinary usage, ‘remaining in’ refer[red] to a continuous activity,” and that the Court had “followed that ordinary meaning in analogous legal contexts.” By way of example, the Court pointed out that “[t]he law of trespass likewise proscribe[d] remaining on the land of another without permission,” and, in that context, Restatement of the Law Second, Torts § 158, Comment m, explained that the term “remain” referred to “a continuing trespass for the entire time during which the actor wrongfully remain[ed].”
Read the full opinion here.
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