Hale v. United States

Summarized by:

  • Court: U.S. Supreme Court Certiorari Granted
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Law
  • Date Filed: October 7, 2019
  • Case #: 18-9726
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: 758 Fed. Appx 344 (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 one count of possessing a firearm following a prior felony and waived appeal. His factual resume stated the firearm had been shipped and transported in interstate commerce previously, but there was no information about whether Petitioner knew of the movement, caused the movement, or whether the movement was recent. The Fifth Circuit affirmed Petitioner’s convictions. Petitioner argues in his brief to the Supreme Court that his conviction conflicts with Bond v. United States, 572 U.S.844 (2014). Petitioner argues that in Bond, weighing a conviction under 18 U.S.C. §229, which criminalized the knowing possession or use of “any chemical weapon,” the court held the statute “should not be read in a way that sweeps in purely local activity” and “would ‘alter sensitive federal-state relationships.’” 18 U.S.C. §924(a) punishes those people who knowingly violates 18 U.S.C. §922(g).” In Rehaif v. United States, 139 S. Ct. 2191 (2019), the Court granted certiorari to determine if an alien “knowingly violates” §922(g) if they do not know of their illegal status. Petitioner argues this same reasoning should be applied to whether a defendant would “knowingly violate” §922(g) without knowing that the firearm has moved in interstate commerce. 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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