Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals - Published Opinions

Monday, September 30, 2019

Boston: Principal to Florida Armed Robbery Satisfies the ACCA's Elements Clause

In Boston v. United States, No. 17-13870 (Sept. 30, 2019) (William Pryor, Jill Pryor, Robreno), the Court upheld the denial of the movant's Johnson/ACCA claim.

The Court held that the movant's Florida principal-to-robbery-with-a-firearm convictions satisfied the ACCA's elements clause.  Under Florida law, an aidor and abettor is punished the same as a principal offender, and so he necessarily commits all of the elements of principal Florida armed robbery.  The Court relied on its decision in In re Colon, which applied the same logic to aiding and abetting a Hobbs Act robbery.

Judge Jill Pryor concurred in the judgment, expressing doubts that In re Colon was correctly decided.  She emphasized that, under Florida law, an aidor and abettor does not have to be physically or constructively present at the commission of the offense.  She criticized In re Colon for taking the legal fiction—that one who aids and abets a robbery by driving the getaway car is deemed to have committed robbery itself—and using that to say that the getaway driver committed a crime involving the element of force.  She believed that this result was contrary to the text and puprose of the ACCA.