On March 2, 2010, the Supreme Court announced its decision in Johnson v. United States. The question in this case was whether a prior state conviction for battery was a "violent felony" under the Armed Career Criminal Act, where battery under the state law at issue includes any unconsented touching. In a 7-2 decision delivered by Justice Scalia, the Court held that it does not because the Armed Career Criminal Act defines a violent felony as one that has as one of its elements the use of "force." The Court ruled that a state law that criminalizes unconsented touching includes some conduct that does not involve force, and thus force is not an element of the offense as required by the Armed Career Criminal Act.
To discuss the case, we have Ave Maria School of Law Assistant Professor Kevin Govern.