Reed v. United States

Summarized by:

  • Court: U.S. Supreme Court Certiorari Granted
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Law
  • Date Filed: June 28, 2019
  • Case #: 18-7490
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: 2018 WL 5116330 (11th Cir. 2018)
  • Full Text Opinion

1. Whether the “knowingly” provision of 18 U.S.C. § 924(a)(2) applies to both the possession and status elements of a 18 U.S.C. § 922(g) crime 2. Whether expert testimony concerning a defendant’s intellectual disability and mental health conditions – such as Petitioner’s full-scale IQ of 61 and diagnosis of schizophrenia paranoid type – is relevant and admissible to support a justification defense to a § 922(g) crime 3. Whether a mandatory-minimum sentence of 15 years in prison violates the Due Process Clause and the Eighth Amendment, because the sentencing court is afforded no discretion to impose a lower sentence based on the defendant’s intellectual disability and mental health conditions

Petitioner was charged of being a felon in possession of a firearm in violation of 18 U.S.C. §922(g)(1). Petitioner is an adult with a low IQ, learning disabilities, and mental health disorders, however the jury was not allowed to hear any testimony to that effect. The court excluded testimony from an expert because it found that a subjective or perceived threat was not a justification defense. The jury found Petitioner guilty and he was sentenced to 180 months in federal prison under 18 U.S.C. §924(e). The charge, however, did not include whether Petitioner knew that he was a convicted felon at the time of the possession of the firearm. Petitioner appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit which affirmed and found the expert testimony was inadmissible under Federal Rules of Evidence Rules 702 and 704. Petitioner argues that his case should be held pending the United States Supreme Court decision Rehaif v. United States, 588 U.S. ­­­­­­­___ (2019). Rehaif questions whether the mens rea requirement of 18 U.S.C. §924(a)(2) applies to both elements of §922(g). The Court decided in the affirmative, and in light of its holding in Rehaif that mens rea applies to both elements, the case is remanded. VACATED and REMANDED.

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