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Shields v. United States

United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

March 21, 2018

Ernest D. Shields, Petitioner-Appellant,
v.
United States of America, Respondent-Appellee.

          Argued February 27, 2018

          Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division. No. 16 C 10265 - Rubén Castillo, Chief Judge.

          Before Wood, Chief Judge, and Bauer and Barrett, Circuit Judges.

          Per Curiam.

         In this appeal of a denial of a petition for review under 18 U.S.C. § 2255, Ernest Shields argues that he should not have been sentenced as an armed career criminal because two of his Illinois convictions-one for residential burglary and another for armed robbery-cannot be characterized as violent felonies under the Armed Career Criminal Act, see 18 U.S.C. § 924(e). Our recent precedent forecloses the argument about his residential burglary conviction, and we conclude that armed robbery in Illinois is a violent felony because it requires "force or threatened use of force." We therefore affirm the district court's judgment.

         I.

         Ernest Shields parked his car partially in a crosswalk, in violation of a Chicago municipal ordinance. Two officers approached Shields, who was sitting in the driver's seat, and asked to see his driver's license. When they told Shields to get out of the car, he bolted. An officer chased him, tackled him to the ground, and discovered that he was carrying a gun. Shields was charged as a felon in possession of a firearm, see 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1). The district court sentenced him to 15 years' imprisonment as an armed career criminal based on his prior convictions for aggravated battery, residential burglary, and armed robbery. See 18 U.S.C. § 924(e)(1). (Under the Armed Career Criminal Act, persons convicted of three or more violent felonies or serious drug offenses must face longer sentences. Id.) His conviction and sentence were affirmed on appeal. United States v. Shields, 789 F.3d 733 (7th Cir. 2015).

         Shields then moved under 18 U.S.C. § 2255 to vacate his sentence, arguing, based on the Supreme Court's holding in Johnson v. United States, 135 S.Ct. 2551 (2015), that two of his criminal convictions were not violent felonies under the ACCA. Johnson held that the definition of "violent felony" in the Act's "residual" clause was unconstitutionally vague. After Johnson, a conviction must meet the following criteria to qualify as a "violent felony" under the Act:

(B) the term "violent felony" means any crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year … that-
(i) has as an element the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against the person of another; or
(ii) is burglary, arson, or extortion, involves use of ex-plosives[.]

18 U.S.C. § 924(e)(2)(B). Shields argued that the two convictions in question do not fit into the "violent felony" definition that Johnson left intact.

         The district court denied the motion. The judge concluded that residential burglary was an enumerated offense under the Act because the crime of burglary in Illinois aligns with the federal definition of burglary. The judge also determined, based on our precedent in cases such as United States v. Dick-erson, 901 F.2d 579, 584 (7th Cir. 1990), that the terms of the Illinois armed robbery statute-referring to either "use of force or … threatening the imminent use of force"-fell within the force requirements of the ACCA.

         This case arises from a collateral attack, but the United States waived all procedural defenses in its brief on appeal. See Smith v. United States, 877 F.3d 720, 722 (7th Cir. 2017) (noting that such waivers are conclusive because relevant procedural defenses are not ...


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