Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals - Published Opinions

Friday, June 30, 2017

Ovalles: Johnson Does not Invalidate Residual Clause in 924(c)(3)(B)

In Ovalles v. United States, No. 17-10172 (Hull, William Pryor, Tjoflat), the Court -- without holding oral argument -- held that Johnson does not invalidate the residual clause in 18 U.S.C. 924(c)(3)(B), and that attempted carjacking satisfies the elements clause in 18 U.S.C. 924(c)(3)(A).

As for the residual clause, the Court agreed with three circuits and found that 924(c)(3)(B) was materially different, both textually and functionally, from the ACCA's residual clause.  The Court found the Seventh Circuit's contrary decision in Cardena unpersuasive.  Notably, the Court did not mention Dimaya, still pending in the Supreme Court, but on page 21 it did seek to distinguish the analysis under 16(b) as being less precise and predictable than the analysis under 924(c)(3)(B).

As for the elements clause, the Court observed that it had already held in the SOS context, in In re Smith, that carjacking qualified.  Assuming that attempted carjacking by "threat and violence" clearly qualified, the Court focused on the intimidation prong, finding that "[p]roscribed criminal conduct where the defendant must take the car by intimidation and act with intent to kill or cause serious bodily injury is unmistakably a crime of violence also."  For support, the Court notably cited two federal bank robbery cases, Kelly and In re Sams.  Applying categorical approach, the Court concluded that it could conceive of no "plausible" (as distinguished from "theoretical") ways to commit attempted carjacking without either the attempted or threatened use of force.