Ever heard of the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA)? Well, there’s a provision in it that goes something like this:
(1) In the case of a person who violates section 922(g) of this title and has three previous convictions by any court referred to in section 922(g)(1) of this title for a violent felony or a serious drug offense, or both, committed on occasions different from one another, such person shall be fined under this title and imprisoned not less than fifteen yearsWell, that whole “three previous” shit is going to come into play here.
You see, all around dipshit William Wooden decided to roll up on a storage facility in Georgia back in 1997, and see if he could find some shit he wanted to own, but didn’t currently own. He proceeded to take possession without consulting the current owners of the property. Probably stocking up for the impending Y2K.
Wooden may have been an idiot, but he didn’t lack ambition. This fuckhead broke into ten different units and robbed each one. See where this is going?
That’s right. Ten units equals ten separate burglaries. He may have had one helluva night, but in the eyes of the law, he committed ten subsequent crimes.
Anyway, part of the ACCA is you’re not allowed to own a fucking gun if you’re an Armed Career Criminal.
So in 2014, a plain clothes officer came to Wooden’s house looking for Wooden’s wife. No clue why—doesn’t matter. Wooden, not knowing he was a cop, let him in, while he went to get his wife. Dude knew Wooden was a felon, and he saw the rifle in plain sight. Knowing Wooden wouldn’t be allowed to own a gun, the cop arrested him on the spot.
The feds charged Wooden accordingly, which gave him ten years in the pokey, after he already served eight for the burglaries back in the day. But the feds were also like, “Hey, wait a minute, he has three or more burglaries in his past doesn’t he? We can hit this mother fucker upside his had with the old ACCA fifteen year minimum, too.
Wooden of course tried to appeal. He was like, “Come on, man. Maybe I hit ten units, but it was just one crazy night. And that shit should be one ‘occasion’ under your stupid fucking law.”
But the 6th circuit court of appeals told Wooden to eat a bag of dicks. Occasions can be one after the other, as in hitting ten units in a row.
So now, the question before the court, is if some dipshit goes on a crime spree in one outing, is each successive crime he/she commits while enjoying a night on the town a separate “occasion” for purposes of the ACCA?
Justice Thomas opened up questions, and queried Wooden’s counsel how much time he would argue has to pass before it’s a new “occasion.” Clearly, they don’t want this interpretation to be some subjective bullshit. Otherwise, it ends up being constitutionally vague.
Counsel argued that this was one stream of illegal activity, from the time he hit the first storage locker, to the time they hit the last, he never stopped burgling. So that’s one occasion, in his argument. So it could be a new day, it could be that he did one in the morning, broke for lunch, and did a second one in the afternoon. As long as it’s broken up, it’s a new occasion, otherwise not.
In a unanimous decision, SCOTUS agreed with Wooden. If you go on a spree, without pause, that’s one fucking occasion.
Hear oral arguments or read about the case here.