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High Court Clarification of Pracital Equivalence Leads to ACCA Review

A convicted felon will see his time in jail reset thanks to a state Supreme Court clarification that removed a decades-old prior from his sentencing calculus. Drug and battery convictions allowed a judge in the Central District of Illinois to class as an armed career criminal after he plead guilty to weapons possession in 2016. An appeals court acceded to the state’s request to let stand a rap for residential burglary from 2000 that raised the Rock Island man’s minimum stretch from 10 to 15 years under the federal Armed Career Criminal Act.

However, a panel in the 7th Circuit reversed that decision in light of a second appeal by Nebinger that centered in part on conflicting definitions between state and federal statutes. Citing case law, the appellate court agreed that the doctrine of limited authority for entry applied by the ISC while the case was pending differs substantively from breaking and entering as defined under federal law. Coupled with discrepancies in the terminology used to define a residential dwelling, the appeals court ruled that the burglary charge did not qualify as a predicate offense in determing Nebinger’s sentence.

Judges wrote that state and federal codes must be “practically equivalent” to factor in the ACCA guidelines. The DuPage County Criminal Defense Lawyers at The Chicagoland Law Firm represent clients in courts around the state of Illinois, including in federal sentencing appeals. If you have questions, our team of legal professionals will discuss the facts in your case during a free consultation. And, about the services we provide. When you retain us, we will represent you zealously. We are your best defense.