All around ne’er-do-well Charles Borden Jr., a felon who has been felonious multiple times, was rolling dirty. Police pulled his dumb ass over, and he had a gun in his car. So they locked that dumb motherfucker up. He plead guilty to possessing the firearm when he knew damn well he shouldn’t have had it.
During sentencing, the government opted to sentence him under the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA), arguing he was a violent felon three times before, so basically, he’s officially a piece of shit, and should get an automatic minimum of 15 years in the pokey, which is what a dumb fuck gets when they’re busted with a gun after they have three violent felonies on their rap sheet.
But Borden was like, “Hey, one of those convictions, I was just reckless. I don’t actually mean to hurt anyone.” His argument being, if I wasn’t trying to hurt someone, it’s not violence, according to the ACCA text which reads, “has as an element the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against the person of another.”
But the district court who heard his case were like, “Dude, the 6th Circuit already confirmed that reckless aggravated assault does count as a violent felony as a matter of precedent. So you can shove your argument squarely up your ass, Borden.” They believe that congress intended to go after people who harm others, intentionally or not.
The 6th circuit, agreeing with themselves agreed.
So now we’re here at SCOTUS to determine if intent has to be present, to make a felony, a violent felony under the ACCA.
In a narrow 5:4 decision, SCOTUS sided with Borden. He didn’t use force, and therefore you can’t call it violent.
Hear oral arguments and read about the case here