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Shepard v. U.S.

Docket No.: 03-9168
Certiorari Granted: Jun 21 2004
Argued: November 8, 2004
Decided: March 7, 2005


18 U.S.C. 924, Criminal Procedure, Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, Armed Career Criminal Act, EPA, Federal Sentencing Guidelines, Fifth Amendment, Fourteenth Amendment, Fourth Amendment, Sentencing Guidelines, Sixth Amendment, United States Sentencing Guidelines, stare decisis

PartyNames: Reginald Shepard v. United States
Petitioner: Reginald Shepard
Respondent: United States

Court Below: United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
Citation: 348 F3d 308
Supreme Court Docket

Reginald Shepard
United States
544 U.S. 13 (2005)

The Armed Career Criminal Act [18 U.S.C. §924(e)] imposes a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years imprisonment for a person convicted of being a felon in possession of a firearm [18 U.S.C. § 922(g)] where that person has previously been convicted of three violent felonies or serious drug offenses or both. United States v. Taylor, 495 U.S. 575 (1990) held that Congress intended a sentencing court to employ a categorical approach to determine whether a defendant's prior convictions qualify as predicates for this sentence enhancement, looking only to the fact of conviction and the elements of the statute of conviction, or to the charging document and the jury instructions to determine whether all of the elements of generic burglary (an enumerated violent felony) were necessarily adjudicated in the state court.

Question Presented:

1. Whether, where the defendant has pleaded guilty to a nongeneric charge of burglary brought under a nongeneric statute, there is no contemporaneous record of the guilty plea proceedings and the judgment of conviction reflects a general finding of guilty, the sentencing court is still bound by Taylor's categorical method of application or may instead be required to conduct an inquiry - including an evidentiary hearing - into the facts underlying the conviction, to determine whether, in the guilty plea proceeding, both the defendant and the government believed that generic burglary was at issue? 2. If so, whether the sentencing court may be required to consider a version of these underlying facts found in any document in the court file such as an investigative police report or a complaint application and, if the facts alleged in the document are not challenged by the defendant, regard them as sufficiently reliable evidence that the defendant was convicted of a crime including all of the elements of generic burglary to support an Armed Career Criminal Act enhancement?


May a court sentencing under the Armed Career Criminal Act look to police reports or complaint applications to determine whether an earlier guilty plea necessarily admitted, and supported a conviction for, generic burglary?

Shepard v. U.S.

November 8, 2004

Holding: reversed and remanded
Decision: Decision: 5 votes for Shepard, 3 vote(s) against
Vote: 5-3
Recused: Chief Justice Robert

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Shepard v. U.S.
Case Documents

1Opinion in Shepard v. U.S.
2Opinion in Shepard v. U.S.
3Slip Opinion in Shepard v. U.S. (Opinion by )
Additional documents for this case are pending review.