Moody v. United States

Summarized by:

  • Court: U.S. Supreme Court Certiorari Granted
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Law
  • Date Filed: June 28, 2019
  • Case #: 18-9071
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: 749 Fed. Appx. 310 (5th Cir. 2019)
  • Full Text Opinion

Whether 18 U.S.C. §924(a) provides for criminal penalties to felons who possess firearms in interstate commerce absent proof that they knew of their felon status, or of the firearm’s movement in interstate commerce?

Petitioner pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm in interstate commerce, but did not admit he knew of his felon status. The Fifth Circuit affirmed the conviction. Petitioner argues that the result of Rehaif v. United States, which the Supreme Court granted certiorari, has a reasonable probability of imparting a different result for his case. 588 U.S. ___ (2019). Title 18 section 992(g) makes it “unlawful” for certain groups of people to possess firearms, which includes those with felon status. Title 18 section 924(a) furnishes criminal punishment to those who “knowingly violate[ ] subsection . . . (g).” The Court, in Rehaif, is set to determine whether the phrase “knowingly violate[s]” imposes a mens rearequirement under §922(g) in order for there to be a conviction. In Rehaif, the petitioner’s illegal status is in question, which is a status listed alongside those with felony records. Petitioner argues that the mens reainterpretation must be the same for all groups of people listed under §922(g). Petitioner argues that if the petitioner prevails in Rehaif, the district court will have plainly erred in taking Petitioner’s plea because he did not admit that he knew he was a felon. The Court granted review and entered a judgment vacating and remanding the case for consideration in light of Rehaif. VACATED and REMANDED.

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