from the United States District Court for the Southern
District of Florida D.C. Docket Nos. 1:16-cv-21497-UU,
WILLIAM PRYOR and JILL PRYOR, Circuit Judges, and RESTANI,
WILLIAM PRYOR, CIRCUIT JUDGE.
appeal requires us to decide whether Florida attempted
first-degree murder is a "violent felony" within
the meaning of the elements clause of the Armed Career
Criminal Act, 18 U.S.C. § 924(e)(2)(B)(i). Following his
conviction for being a felon in possession of a firearm,
Dewey Hylor received an enhanced sentence under the Act
because he was previously convicted of three violent
felonies: Florida attempted first-degree murder, Florida
aggravated assault, and Florida strong-arm robbery. On
post-conviction review, 28 U.S.C. § 2255, Hylor argued
that none of these convictions qualifies as a violent felony,
but the district court disagreed. We affirm. Florida
attempted first-degree murder is a violent felony because it
requires the attempted use of physical force that is capable
of causing pain or injury. And we are bound by precedent to
hold that Florida aggravated assault and Florida strong-arm
robbery are violent felonies.
2008, a jury convicted Hylor of being a felon in possession
of a firearm, 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1), and the district
court imposed an enhanced sentence under the Armed Career
Criminal Act, 18 U.S.C. § 924(e), because he had
previously committed three violent felonies. Although the
presentence investigation report did not specify which
convictions triggered the enhanced sentence, it stated that
Hylor had been convicted of Florida attempted first-degree
murder, Florida aggravated assault, and Florida strong-arm
robbery. Hylor did not object to the findings of fact or the
"manner in which sentence was pronounced." And we
affirmed his judgment of conviction and sentence. See
United States v. Hylor, 353 Fed.Appx. 361 (11th Cir.
filing several unsuccessful pro se motions, Hylor
obtained representation and filed an application in this
Court for leave to file a second or successive motion to
vacate his sentence, 28 U.S.C. § 2255(h)(2). He argued
that he was entitled to relief under Johnson v. United
States, which held that the residual clause of the Act,
18 U.S.C. § 924(e)(2)(B)(ii), was unconstitutionally
vague, 135 S.Ct. 2551, 2563 (2015). We granted the
application, and a few days later, Hylor filed an amended
motion to vacate his sentence in the district court.
district court denied Hylor's motion. It ruled that Hylor
was not entitled to relief under Johnson because his
prior convictions qualified as predicate convictions under
the elements clause of the Act, 18 U.S.C. §
924(e)(2)(B)(i). It explained that precedent established that
aggravated assault and strong-arm robbery are violent
felonies. And it determined that attempted first-degree
murder also satisfies the definition of violent felony. It
reasoned that under Florida law, "the attempted killing
of a human being requires the intended destruction of a human
body, [so] an individual cannot be convicted of attempted
first-degree murder without attempting to inflict bodily
injury serious enough to result in death." And it stated
that the "knowing or intentional causation of bodily
injury necessarily involves the use of physical force."
It then concluded that Hylor "ha[d] the requisite three
. . . predicates to qualify him as an armed career criminal
subject to the enhanced penalties under [section]
924(e)," and it issued a certificate of appealability on
STANDARD OF REVIEW
a Section 2255 proceeding, we review legal issues de
novo and factual findings [for] clear error . . .
." Jeffries v. United States, 748 F.3d 1310,
1313 (11th Cir. 2014) (quoting Lynn v. United
States, 365 F.3d 1225, 1232 (11th Cir. 2004)).
"Whether . . . particular conviction[s] [are] violent
felon[ies] under 'the [Armed Career Criminal Act] is a
question of law we consider de novo.'"
United States v. Seabrooks, 839 F.3d 1326, 1338
(11th Cir. 2016) (quoting United States v. Canty,
570 F.3d 1251, 1254 (11th Cir. 2009)).
argues that Florida attempted first-degree murder is not a
violent felony under the Armed Career Criminal Act. He
maintains that the state crime can be committed by
"surreptitiously poisoning [a] victim" who does not
die, and that poisoning does not require enough violence to
qualify as a violent felony under the federal Act. He also
concedes that our precedents establish that Florida
aggravated assault and strong-arm robbery qualify as violent
felonies under the elements clause. We conclude that
Hylor's appeal fails because attempted first-degree
murder satisfies the elements clause of the Act.
Armed Career Criminal Act provides that a defendant convicted
of being a felon in possession of a firearm or ammunition, 18
U.S.C. § 922(g)(1), must be sentenced to a mandatory
minimum term of 15 years if he has three or more past
convictions for a "violent felony," 18 U.S.C.
§ 924(e)(1). The elements clause of section 924(e)
defines a "violent felony" as any crime punishable
by more than one year of imprisonment that "has as an
element the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical
force against the person of another." Id.
§ 924(e)(2)(B)(i). And we have explained that, although
"the meaning of 'physical force' is a question
of federal law," we are "bound by a state supreme
court's interpretation of state law, including its
determination of the elements of the underlying state
offense." United States v. Hill, 799 F.3d 1318,
1322 (11th Cir. 2015).
the categorical approach to evaluate whether a state offense
has a use-of-force element. Under this approach, we "may
'look only to the statutory
definitions'-i.e., the elements-of a
defendant's prior offenses, and not 'to the
particular facts underlying those convictions.'"
Descamps v. United States, 570 U.S. 254, 261 (2013)
(emphasis omitted) (quoting Taylor v. United States,
495 U.S. 575, 600 (1990)). We determine whether a state
statute defines only "violent felon[ies]," 18
U.S.C. § 924(e)(2)(B), by evaluating "the ...