The left is always ranting about strict drug laws that carry hefty sentences. However, they seem eager to impose outsized sentences on criminals with gun charges — but the U.S. Supreme Court won’t let that stand.
The Supreme Court reversed a lower court’s decision to tack an extra 15 years onto a man’s sentence simply because he was in possession of a gun, Breitbart reported. The 5-4 decision handed down Thursday was based on one turn of phase in the Armed Career Criminal Act.
According to the Act, criminals who have three or more violent felony convictions and are in possession of a gun should receive a minimum sentence of 15 years. Charles Borden, Jr. was subject to that augmented sentence and appealed on the basis his crime did not meet the criteria of “the use of force ‘against the person of another.'”
The ruling found that even though he may have been “reckless,” that wasn’t enough to activate to extended sentence. Justices Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan, Neil Gorsuch, and Sonia Sotomayor parsed the phrase “against another” in the Act to bolster their decision as well.
“The phrase ‘against another,’ when modifying a volitional action like the ‘use of force,’ demands that the perpetrator direct his force at another individual,” their opinion stated. “Reckless conduct is not aimed in that prescribed manner.”
Conservative Justice Clarence Thomas also stated, “[The] ACCA’s elements clause does not encompass Borden’s conviction for reckless aggravated assault for the reasons stated in his dissenting opinion in Voisine…” he wrote. “A crime that can be committed through mere recklessness does not have as an element the ‘use of physical force’ because that phrase ‘has a well-understood meaning applying only to intentional acts designed to cause harm.’”
However, Justice Brett Kavanaugh dissented, pointing out that the “ACCA’s use-of-force clause encompasses reckless offenses, such as reckless assault and reckless homicide,” he wrote in the Minority Opinion. “Contrary to the plurality’s conclusion today, the phrase ‘against the person of another’ reflects a centuries-old term of art for classifying crimes and has zero to do with mens rea.” he also added.
Gun crimes are dangerous and felons are often stripped of rights as part of their punishment for their actions. However, citizens are still entitled to have their cases adjudicated when there is any ambiguity that would negate such penalties, which it appears there may have been in Borden’s case.