The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously determined that a Georgia court had mistakenly applied the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA) to a defendant, resulting in an overly harsh sentence.
William Dale Wooden received a 16-year sentence for possession of a firearm — an offense that normally carries about one year, according to The Hill.
The harsh sentence was imposed based on a mistaken interpretation of the “Occasions Clause” of ACCA, according to the high court.
“Here, every relevant consideration shows that Wooden burglarized ten storage units on a single occasion, even though his criminal activity resulted in double-digit convictions,” Justice Elena Kagan wrote for the majority.
The Supreme Court said Wooden’s 1997 burglary occurred in “a single criminal occasion,” not 10 separate occasions. Effectively, the court ruled the ACCA enhancement should not have been tacked on to Wooden’s gun charge.
The court stated that “Wooden committed his burglaries on a single night, in a single uninterrupted course of conduct. The crimes all took place at one location, a one-building storage facility with one address. Each offense was essentially identical, and all were intertwined with the others.”
Although the justices were unanimous in their judgment, separate concurring opinions were issued by justices Sonia Sotomayor and Brett Kavanaugh, as well as Amy Coney Barrett joined by Clarence Thomas, and Neil Gorsuch joined by Sotomayor.