A case study of the mathis v united states supreme court case

Mathis pled guilty to the firearm charge on January 21, Duncan, N.

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Alternative Elements and Alternative Means Though Shepard provided clear guidance on what documents courts could consider in applying the modified categorical approach, a further circuit split developed concerning when courts could reach the modified categorical approach at all.

Under this system, the federal sentencing judge would not hear any evidence about prior convictions but would look only to the judgments entered in the previous cases. Close This section finds that, in most cases, the Mathis tools—state cases, statutory text, and the record of conviction—have provided sufficient criteria to make nonarbitrary distinctions in court of appeals cases decided since Mathis.

The Note then identifies three aspects of prior-conviction doctrine that remain unsettled after Mathis and proposes solutions. The Evolution of the Modified Categorical Approach 1. See Brief for Respondent at Defining Workability. See Brief for PetitionerRichard Mathis at Under such a case, the facts or means of the conviction make no difference.

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The Evolution of the Modified Categorical Approach 1. Discussion In this case, the Supreme Court must determine the proper methodology used to determine whether the text of a state crime is divisible into separate elements. The United States believes that the Eighth Circuit standard of consulting the court record for unclear predicate crimes provides necessary clarity for courts to analyze state statutes that do not fit neatly within the federal definition. First, courts should not feel obligated to resolve the means—element question when the record of prior conviction would not support an enhanced sanction under either interpretation. But see Nijhawan v. Close C. Close At first the answer seems obvious: Mathis pleaded guilty to burgling the house of Allen Harvey. During the search, police found a loaded rifle and ammunition, a cell phone showing text message correspondence with many young males, as well as a memory card with an image of a nude, underage male. New Jersey, U. Justice Thomas expressed the same sentiment in his concurring opinion in Descamps. Of the first court of appeals decisions confronting the means—element distinction under the Mathis framework, only 12 produced split panels. Avant, N. Close and does not apply at all in immigration proceedings. In opposition, the United States asserts that a court may use the modified categorical approach if the statutory definition is divisible. Close 1.

We offer a 15 minute free consultation for asylum seekers only. Under the modified categorical approach, the Court would be permitted to look at the facts of the conviction to determine whether the actual conduct that led to the petitioner's conviction under the categorically overbroad Iowa statute was limited to conduct that falls under the generic offense of burglary as defined in Taylor.

Mathis argues that a court may only apply the modified categorical approach to a divisible statute that lists multiple, alternative elements resulting in several different crimes. Close Mathis then pleaded guilty to second-degree burglary and was incarcerated.

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Mathis v. United States ()