After reiterating its prior precedents holding that Florida aggravated assault and resisting with violence qualified as violent felonies under the elements clause, the Court held that Florida sexual battery also satisfied that definition. Although the Court, in an earlier case, had accepted the government's concession that Florida sexual battery did not satisfy the elements clause, it did so only for purposes of that case, and the sexual battery offense here required the use or threatened use of a deadly weapon. Determining that the sexual battery statute was divisible, in part by consulting the standard jury instructions, the Court consulted the information in his case, which showed that his sexual battery involved the use or threatened use of a deadly weapon.
The Court thus addressed whether the use or threatened use of a deadly weapon necessarily involved the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force. It concluded that it did. It rejected the defendant's argument that the offense was overbroad because a "deadly weapon" could include poison/anthrax, bleach, or an attack dog. The Court acknowledged that those uses of force were not direct, but it concluded that they were nonetheless capable of causing physical injury or pain and thus satisfied the elements clause. Relying on the Supreme Court's decision in Castleman, the Court concluded that it did not matter whether the force was applied indirectly rather than directly.