Monday, April 21, 2008

Begay 2: Electric Boogaloo?

Just five days after explicating the meaning of the "otherwise clause" in the ACCA's "violent felony" definition, the Supreme Court has granted cert in another case in which it will need to explicate the meaning of the "otherwise clause" in the ACCA's "violent felony" definition.

This time around the case is Chambers v. United States (No. 06-11206), and the felony at issue is failure-to-report escape. One might have expected that the case would be GVR'ed for reconsideration in light of Begay, but evidently there are at least four justices who feel that Begay (and James) provide insufficient guidance on this question. Looks like Justice Scalia was right when, in the course of criticizing the majority opinion in James for its lack of guidance to lower courts, he predicted that "[i]t will take decades, and dozens of grants of certiorari, to allocate all the Nation's crimes to one or the other side of this entirely reasonable and entirely indeterminate line." For those of you keeping score at home, we're up to two years and three grants, so far.

As usual, SCOTUSblog's collected the cert-stage filings for your perusal.

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