Published on: Friday, June 28, 2019

Today, in Shular v. United States, No. 18-6662 (June 28, 2019) (cert. granted), the Supreme Court granted a petition for writ of certiorari to decide “[w]hether the determination of a ‘serious drug offense’ under the Armed Career Criminal Act requires the same categorical approach used in the determination of a ‘violent felony’ under the act.”

Petitioner Eddie Shular’s cases arises from the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, which rejected the categorical approach in the determination of “serious drug offenses” under the ACCA.  There is a deep circuit split on this issue.  The Second, Fifth, and D.C. Circuits join the Eleventh in taking an expansive approach to the determination of “serious drug offense” under ACCA.  In contrast, the Third, Sixth and Ninth Circuits apply the categorical approach to such determinations. 

The lower court opinion of the Eleventh Circuit is United States v. Eddie Lee Shular, 736 F. App’x 876 (11th Cir. 2018) (unpublished).  The certiorari stage documents in this case are available on the Supreme Court’s website, here.

The Training Division provides topic materials on defending firearms cases and defending against ACCA and Career Offender designations, as well as past program materials specifically addressing the The Categorial Approach: A Step By Step Guide to Success; Drug Predicates; and Crimes of Violence and Violent Felonies.