Gilbert v. United States

Summarized by:

  • Court: U.S. Supreme Court Certiorari Granted
  • Area(s) of Law: Sentencing
  • Date Filed: October 7, 2019
  • Case #: 18-9589
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: 756 Fed. Appx. 491 (5th Cir. 2019)
  • Full Text Opinion

(1) Whether substantive reasonableness review requires or permits the courts of appeals to “substantively second guess” the district court and/or to “reweigh the sentencing factors”? (2) 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 resisted arrest and possessed a firearm at the time. In federal court, Petitioner pleaded guilty to one count of possessing a firearm after sustaining a felony conviction, although he did not admit to knowing his status as a felon or “that his firearm moved in interstate commerce.” Petitioner’s guideline range was 51-63 months. The court considered sentencing factors under U.S.C §3553(a) and sentenced Petitioner to 78 months. On appeal to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, Petitioner argued that the sentence was unreasonable. The Fifth Circuit affirmed. In his brief to the Supreme Court, Petitioner argues that the Court should hold the case and potentially vacate the judgment below and remand in light of a decision in Holguin-Hernandez v. United States, No. 18-7739. Petitioner argues that the Fifth Circuit should apply a less restrictive approach in reviewing the substantive reasonableness of sentences. Petitioner further argues that there is a likelihood of a different result in the instant case if the petitioner in Rehaif v. United States prevails in their challenge to the mens rea requirement under 18 U.S.C §922(g)(1). 588 U.S. ___ (2019). Petitioner reasons that an illegal alien not “knowing” of their status is analogous to a felon not “knowing” of their status. The Court vacated and remanded in light of Rehaif. VACATED and REMANDED.

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