Submitted: October 19, 2017
from United States District Court for the District of
Minnesota - Minneapolis
WOLLMAN and SHEPHERD, Circuit Judges, and GOLDBERG,
William Ike Libby, Jr. pleaded guilty to being a felon in
possession of a firearm, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §
922(g)(1), 924(e). Previously, Libby had been convicted of
three separate offenses: first degree aggravated robbery and
second degree assault in October 1997, and second degree drug
sale in January 2010. The district court considered each
of Libby's three previous convictions to be "violent
felonies" or "serious drug offenses" and
therefore found Libby subject to the Armed Career Criminal
Act ("ACCA"), 18 U.S.C. § 924(e). As a result,
the district court sentenced Libby to the fifteen-year
mandatory minimum sentence provided in 18 U.S.C §
appeal, Libby does not contest that two of his prior
convictions constitute predicate offenses for the purposes of
the ACCA. Rather, his appeal is limited to challenging the
imposition of a fifteen year sentence based on the
characterization of his October 1997 conviction for first
degree aggravated robbery, Minn. Stat. § 609.245, subd.
1, as a "violent felony." Because we hold that the
lesser included offense of simple robbery in Minnesota is
indeed a "violent felony, " we affirm the ruling of
the district court and uphold its sentence under the ACCA.
Standard of Review
review de novo whether a prior conviction is a
predicate offense felony for the purposes of the ACCA, 18
U.S.C. § 924(e). United States v. Shockley, 816
F.3d 1058, 1062 (8th Cir. 2016) (citation omitted).
The ACCA Framework
ACCA dictates that if a defendant has "three previous
convictions . . . for a violent felony or a serious drug
offense, " that individual shall be sentenced to no less
than fifteen years in prison. 18 U.S.C. § 924(e)(1). The
statute defines "violent felony" as "any crime
punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year . .
. that  has as an element the use, attempted use, or
threatened use of physical force against the person of
another . . . ." 18 U.S.C. § 924(e)(2)(B)(i).
"Physical force 'means violent force-that
is, force capable of causing physical pain or injury to
another person.'" United States v.
Schaffer, 818 F.3d 796, 798 (8th Cir. 2016) (quoting
Johnson v. United States, 559 U.S. 133, 140, 130
S.Ct. 1265, 176 L.Ed.2d 1 (2010)). Thus, in order to uphold
the district court's classification of Libby's
conviction as a predicate felony, we must find that Minn.
Stat. § 609.245, subd. 1 contains as an element the use,
attempted use, or threatened use of force capable of causing
pain or injury to another.
assessing whether a state statute qualifies as a
"violent felony" for the purposes of the ACCA, we
employ the categorical approach, looking only to the elements
of the statute in question. See Jones v. United
States, 870 F.3d 750, 752- 753 (8th Cir. 2017)
(citations omitted). A defendant's real world conduct is
of no relevance to our review and is not to be considered.
See id. (citing Mathis v. United States,
___ U.S. ___, 136 S.Ct. 2243, 2251, 195 L.Ed.2d 604 (2016)
("How a given defendant actually perpetrated the
crime-what we have referred to as the 'underlying brute
facts or means' of commission-makes no difference . . .
.") (citation omitted)).
statute is indivisible-that is, it "sets out a single .
. . set of elements to define a single crime"-we need
not look beyond the statute of conviction. Mathis,
136 S.Ct. at 2248. If the elements of Libby's statute of
conviction, Minn. Stat. § 609.245, subd. 1, criminalize
conduct that does not require the use of violent force, then
it cannot be considered a predicate offense for the purposes
of the ACCA. See Jones, 870 F.3d at 753.
statutes deemed divisible are treated differently. When a
statute "list[s] elements in the alternative, and
thereby define[s] multiple crimes, " it is divisible.
Mathis, 136 S.Ct. at 2249. When we are faced with a
divisible statute, we are permitted a constrained inspection
of "a limited class of documents . . . to determine what
crime, with what elements, a defendant was convicted
of." Id. (citing Shepard v. United
States, 544 U.S. 13, 26, 125 S.Ct. 1254, 161 L.Ed.2d 205
(2005)). This ...