United States v. Stitt

Brief of National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers as Amicus Curiae in Support of Respondents

Brief filed: 08/21/2018


United States v. Stitt

United States Supreme Court; Case No. 16-1233

Prior Decision

Stitt decision below (en banc) 860 F.3d 854 (6th Cir. June 27, 2017) & Sims decision below, Case No. 16-1233 (8th Cir. Apr. 27, 2017).

Question Presented

Whether a state burglary statute that permits conviction for burglary of a temporary space or a vehicle that is adapted or used for occasional overnight accommodation exceeds the generic crime of ‘burglary’ under the Armed Career Criminal Act of 1984, 18 U.S.C. §924(e)(2)(B)(ii). 


When the ACCA was enacted in 1984 and amended in 1986, the majority of states’ burglary statutes distinguished between structures and both temporary spaces and mobile vehicles. The government’s position that there was a “broad consensus” in 1986 that burglary covered temporary spaces or mobile vehicles adapted or used for overnight accommodation ignores fundamental differences among the 1986 state statutes. The addition of temporary spaces and mobile vehicles adapted for overnight accommodation to the generic definition of burglary fails to close the purported “gap” between the ACCA and state-law definitions of burglary, as numerous state burglary statutes would remain overbroad. The ACCA is properly focused on form, rather than function, in delineating those spaces encompassed by generic burglary.


David Debold, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, Washington, DC; Akiva Shapiro, Sarah L. Kushner, and Genevieve Quinn, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, New York, NY; Jeffrey T. Green, NACDL, Washington, DC.

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