Rehaif v. United States

Summarized by:

  • Court: U.S. Supreme Court Certiorari Granted
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Law
  • Date Filed: January 11, 2019
  • Case #: 16-15860
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: 888 F.3d 1138 (11th Cir. 2018)
  • Full Text Opinion

Whether the “knowingly” provision of § 924(a)(2) applies to both the possession and status elements of a § 922(g) crime, as has been urged by then-Judge, now Justice Gorsuch, or whether it applies only to the possession element, as has been held by the courts

Petitioner was convicted in 2015 of violating 18 U.S.C. §§ 922(g)(5)(A) and 924(a)(2), for knowingly possessing a firearm and ammunition while he was an alien illegally and unlawfully present in the United States. During trial, the United States requested jury instructions which stated that the government was not obligated to prove the Defendant knew of his prohibited status as an alien in the United States at the time he possessed the firearm. Petitioner’s objection to this instruction was overruled by the district court. Petitioner’s appeal to the Eleventh Circuit was unsuccessful. The Supreme Court granted review in order to determine whether the government must establish proof of mens rea regarding each substantive element of a crime, as urged by now-Justice Gorsuch in United States v. Games-Perez, 695 F.3d 1104, 1116 (10th Cir. 2012) (Gorsuch, J., dissenting from denial of rehearing en banc).

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