Norah M. Roth

Document Type




This Note argues that because statutory rape laws can be applied to a range of behaviors, some violent and some not, judges should look to the age of the victim in determining whether a past conviction qualifies as a violent felony for the purpose of sentence enhancement under the ACCA. Part I of this Note examines the legislative history and purpose of the ACCA and discusses Supreme Court precedent regarding violent felony classification under the ACCA's residual clause. Part II provides background on the current circuit split regarding the classification of statutory rape as a violent felony under the ACCA. Part III analyzes the application of the ACCA's residual clause to the crime of statutory rape on the basis of Supreme Court jurisprudence, legislative purpose, and policy considerations, and it offers recommendations for a solution that will best suit the purposes of the ACCA. This Note suggests that judges should look beyond the fact of a statutory rape conviction to the ages of the victim and perpetrator for the basis of violent felony classification. This would allow for a determination more firmly grounded in the reality of the defendant's crime.



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