Argued: December 7, 2016
from the United States District Court for the Western
District of North Carolina, at Charlotte. Frank D. Whitney,
Chief District Judge. (3:15-cr-00195-FDW-DCK-1)
by published opinion. Judge Keenan wrote the opinion, in
which Judge King and Judge Duncan joined.
Loraine Hester, FEDERAL DEFENDERS OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA,
INC., Charlotte, North Carolina, for Appellant.
Elizabeth Ray, OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY,
Asheville, North Carolina, for Appellee.
Richardson, Executive Director, FEDERAL DEFENDERS OF WESTERN
NORTH CAROLINA, INC., Charlotte, North Carolina, for
Westmoreland Rose, United States Attorney, OFFICE OF THE
UNITED STATES ATTORNEY, Charlotte, North Carolina, for
KING, DUNCAN, and KEENAN, Circuit Judges.
BARBARA MILANO KEENAN, Circuit Judge.
appeal, we consider whether the North Carolina offense of
robbery with a dangerous weapon, in violation of North
Carolina General Statutes Section 14-87 (armed robbery, or
statutory armed robbery), qualifies as a "violent
felony" for purposes of the Armed Career Criminal Act
(ACCA), 18 U.S.C. § 924(e). Relying on the Supreme
Court's decision in Johnson v. United States,
135 S.Ct. 2551 (2015) (Johnson II), in which the
Supreme Court invalidated the ACCA's residual clause as
being unconstitutionally vague, Lamar Burns-Johnson argues
that his predicate North Carolina convictions for armed
robbery no longer qualify as "violent felonies"
because they are not enumerated crimes under the ACCA's
definition of that term and do not meet the requirements of
the definition's "force clause." See
18 U.S.C. § 924(e)(2)(B). Burns-Johnson therefore
asserts that the district court erred in considering those
convictions in imposing sentence on him.
our review, we conclude that the offense of armed robbery
under North Carolina General Statutes Section 14-87
categorically qualifies as a violent felony under the
"force clause" of the ACCA. Accordingly, we affirm
the district court's judgment sentencing Burns-Johnson as
an armed career criminal.
2015, Burns-Johnson pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm
by a convicted felon, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §
922(g)(1). In the presentence report, the probation officer
recommended that Burns-Johnson be sentenced as an armed
career criminal based on his prior armed robbery convictions.
Burns-Johnson objected to the ACCA designation, arguing that
armed robbery under North Carolina General Statutes Section
14-87 does not qualify as a violent felony under the ACCA.
The district court overruled Burns-Johnson's objection
and held that his prior convictions for statutory armed