United States v. Glispie

Decision Date24 September 2020
Docket NumberDocket No. 125483
Citation2020 IL 125483,181 N.E.3d 719,450 Ill.Dec. 367
Parties The UNITED STATES of America, Appellee, v. Jeremy GLISPIE, Appellant.
CourtIllinois Supreme Court

Thomas W. Patton, Federal Public Defender, and Colleen McNichols Ramais, Assistant Federal Public Defender, of the Office of the Federal Public Defender, of Urbana, for Jeremy Glispie.

John C. Milhiser, United States Attorney, of Springfield (W. Scott Simpson, Assistant United States Attorney, of counsel), for the United States of America.


JUSTICE THEIS delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion.

¶ 1 The United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit certified the following question of law to this court: "Whether, and if so under what circumstances, the limited-authority doctrine[1 ] applies to [Illinois's] residential burglary statute, 720 ILCS 5/19-3." We answer the certified question in the affirmative, holding that the limited authority doctrine applies to residential burglary by entry.


¶ 3 Jeremy Glispie has four prior convictions for residential burglary in Illinois, having pled guilty to knowingly and without authority entering into other people's dwelling places to commit thefts. In January 2018, the government charged him with possessing a firearm as a felon in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g) (2012). Glispie again pled guilty. Nonetheless, expecting the government to designate him as an armed career criminal based on the earlier convictions for residential burglary, Glispie reserved his right to challenge the designation.

¶ 4 The Armed Career Criminal Act of 1984 (Act) ( 18 U.S.C. § 924(e) (2012) ) increases the sentences of certain federal criminal defendants who have three prior convictions for a "violent felony." Descamps v. United States , 570 U.S. 254, 257, 133 S.Ct. 2276, 186 L.Ed.2d 438 (2013). Burglary is among the crimes included in the definition of a violent felony. See 18 U.S.C. § 924(e)(2)(B)(ii) (2012). Although Congress did not define burglary in the Act, the United States Supreme Court has ruled that burglary means "the generic sense in which the term is now used in the criminal codes of most States." Taylor v. United States , 495 U.S. 575, 598, 110 S.Ct. 2143, 109 L.Ed.2d 607 (1990). Generic burglary, the Court explained, "contains at least the following elements: an unlawful or unprivileged entry into, or remaining in, a building or other structure, with intent to commit a crime." Id.

¶ 5 A defendant's conviction for burglary under state law qualifies as a violent felony under the Act when the elements of the state burglary statute are the same as, or narrower, than the elements of generic burglary. See Descamps , 570 U.S. at 257, 133 S.Ct. 2276. For instance, the Court concluded that, when a burglary statute "eliminat[ed] the requirement that the entry be unlawful," the statute was broader than generic burglary. Taylor , 495 U.S. at 599, 110 S.Ct. 2143 ; see also Descamps , 570 U.S. at 261, 133 S.Ct. 2276 (a state statute that " ‘defines "burglary" so broadly as to include shoplifting’ " was broader than generic burglary (quoting Taylor , 495 U.S. at 591, 110 S.Ct. 2143 )).

¶ 6 In this case, based on Seventh Circuit precedent, the district court determined that Illinois's residential burglary statute was no broader than generic burglary. Accordingly, it ruled that Glispie's prior convictions qualified as violent felonies under the Act. That ruling increased his sentencing range from a maximum of 10 years in prison to a minimum of 15 years in prison (and a maximum of life). The district court sentenced Glispie to 15 years' imprisonment.

¶ 7 On appeal, Glispie argued that the limited authority doctrine applied to the residential burglary statute, rendering it broader than generic burglary. Thus, he contended, his prior convictions did not qualify for purposes of the Act. The Seventh Circuit agreed with Glispie that, if the limited authority doctrine applied to the residential burglary statute, then his convictions would not constitute aggravating offenses. Recognizing that we had never ruled on the doctrine's applicability to the residential burglary statute, the Seventh Circuit found that the issue was likely to arise frequently and to affect the administration of justice in both state and federal courts. See United States v. Glispie , 943 F.3d 358, 360 (7th Cir. 2019). Accordingly, the Seventh Circuit certified a question of law to this court. We elected to answer it. See Ill. S. Ct. R. 20(a) (eff. Aug. 1, 1992).


¶ 9 At issue is whether the limited authority doctrine applies to the residential burglary statute.2 To resolve this issue, we must examine the statutory language; accordingly, it presents a question of law that we review de novo . In re Christopher K. , 217 Ill. 2d 348, 364, 299 Ill.Dec. 213, 841 N.E.2d 945 (2005). "When construing a statute, this court's primary objective is to ascertain and give effect to the intent of the legislature." Lakewood Nursing & Rehabilitation Center, LLC v. Department of Public Health , 2019 IL 124019, ¶ 17, 441 Ill.Dec. 824, 158 N.E.3d 229. The plain language of the statute is the best indicator of legislative intent. La Salle Bank National Ass'n v. Cypress Creek 1, LP , 242 Ill. 2d 231, 237, 351 Ill.Dec. 281, 950 N.E.2d 1109 (2011).

¶ 10 Yet "a court will not read language in isolation; it will consider it in the context of the entire statute." Carmichael v. Laborers' & Retirement Board Employees' Annuity & Benefit Fund of Chicago , 2018 IL 122793, ¶ 35, 429 Ill.Dec. 677, 125 N.E.3d 383. In addition to the statutory language, it is proper to consider the reason for the law, the problem sought to be remedied, the goals to be achieved, and the consequences of construing the statute one way or another. Id. Further, when the legislature chooses not to amend a statute after judicial construction, we presume that it has acquiesced in this court's construction of the statute and declaration of legislative intent. People v. Johnson , 2019 IL 123318, ¶ 14, 442 Ill.Dec. 458, 160 N.E.3d 31. "We assume not only that the General Assembly acts with full knowledge of previous judicial decisions, but also that its silence on this issue in the face of decisions consistent with those previous decisions indicates its acquiescence to them." In re Marriage of Mathis , 2012 IL 113496, ¶ 25, 369 Ill.Dec. 503, 986 N.E.2d 1139.

¶ 11 This court first applied the limited authority doctrine to Illinois's burglary statute in People v. Weaver , 41 Ill. 2d 434, 243 N.E.2d 245 (1968). In Weaver , the defendant was convicted of burglary after he walked into an open laundromat, pried open a vending machine, and removed money from it. Id. at 435-36, 243 N.E.2d 245. On appeal, the defendant argued that, because the laundromat was open to the public at the time he was apprehended, his presence there was as consistent with his innocence as with his guilt of criminal intent at the time of his entry. Id. at 438, 243 N.E.2d 245.

¶ 12 This court observed that "a common-law breaking [was] no longer an essential element of the crime of burglary." Id. We also noted that the text of the burglary statute required an entry that was both without authority and with the intent to commit a felony or theft.

Id. at 439, 243 N.E.2d 245 ; see 720 ILCS 5/19-1(a) (West 2018) ("A person commits burglary when without authority he or she knowingly enters * * * a building * * * with intent to commit therein a felony or theft."). Finding that the "authority to enter a business building, or other building open to the public, extends only to those who enter with a purpose consistent with the reason the building is open," this court held that an entry with the intent to commit a theft was not "within the authority granted patrons of a laundromat." Weaver , 41 Ill. 2d at 439, 243 N.E.2d 245.

¶ 13 Following Weaver , courts have consistently applied the limited authority doctrine to burglary by entry of business buildings. For instance, in People v. Blair , 52 Ill. 2d 371, 374, 288 N.E.2d 443 (1972), we upheld the defendants' convictions for burglary when they entered a car wash "with admitted intent to commit a theft." Most recently, in Johnson , 2019 IL 123318, 442 Ill.Dec. 458, 160 N.E.3d 31, we reaffirmed the limited authority doctrine's applicability to retail establishments. We observed that, if the "defendant had the intent to commit a theft when he entered the Walmart, then, under Weaver , it must necessarily follow that his entry was ‘without authority’ within the meaning of section 19-1(a) of the burglary statute." Id. ¶ 19 ; see also People v. Gharrett , 2016 IL App (4th) 140315, ¶¶ 53-55, 403 Ill.Dec. 278, 53 N.E.3d 332 (citing Weaver in affirming the defendant's burglary conviction for entering a private office within a public facility with the intent to commit theft); People ex rel. McLain v. Housewright , 9 Ill. App. 3d 803, 806, 293 N.E.2d 911 (1973) ("[I]t would be contrary to reason and ordinary human understanding to deduce that the business invitation extended by the owners of the supermarket to the public generally would include authority to enter for an unlawful purpose."); but see People v. Bradford , 2016 IL 118674, ¶ 25, 401 Ill.Dec. 630, 50 N.E.3d 1112 (declining to extend Weaver 's analysis to burglary by remaining).

¶ 14 We have also applied the limited authority doctrine to the home invasion statute. In part, that statute provides that "[a] person who is not a peace officer acting in the line of duty commits home invasion when without authority he or she knowingly enters the dwelling place of another when he or she knows or has reason to know that one or more persons is present" and "[u]ses force or threatens the imminent use of force upon any person or persons within the dwelling place." 720 ILCS 5/19-6(a)(1) (West 2018). In People v. Peeples , 155 Ill. 2d 422, 487, 186 Ill.Dec. 341, 616 N.E.2d 294 (1993), we considered it "established that when a...

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