The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > The Conference Center > Law and Civil Rights

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old March 26, 2014, 02:33 PM   #1
KyJim
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 26, 2005
Location: The Bluegrass
Posts: 7,343
Supreme Court - Castleman - Domestic Violence Conviction

The Supreme Court has held that a misdemeanor battery conviction qualifies as a domestic violence conviction for purposes of disqualifying the offender from purchasing/possessing firearms under federal law even if the state crime does not include a statutory element that it was against a domestic partner/member. Instead, you actually look at the facts of the case. From a colleague of mine:

Quote:
On March 26, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously reversed the Sixth Circuit regarding the definition of "a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence" in 18 U.S.C. Section 922, subsections (a)(33)(A) and (g)(9). The Court held that the statute applied to the defendant's conviction in Tennessee state court for intentionally or knowingly causing injury to the mother of his child in violation of TCA 39-13-111(b). The federal statute prohibits those with such convictions from possessing a firearm. This opinion allows the government to proceed with the prosecution of the defendant for this crime in federal court by reversing the dismissal of the indictment for two counts of that offense. United States v. Castleman, 2014 WL 1225196 (March 26, 2014)(no. 12-1371), reversing, 695 F.3d 582 (6th Cir.).


The Supreme Court applied the test for evaluating a state court conviction by using the conduct that the defendant was actually charged with and convicted of in state court, and did use not the so called "categorical test" in which the federal court must consider every possible alternative element as stated in the statute. The majority summarized the Court's holding as to the primary issue as follows:

Quote:
[quote begins]
In sum, Johnson [v. United States, 599 U.S. 133 (2010), defining "violent felony" and "physical force" in deciding which state court convictions satisfy the federal statutory definitions] requires that we attribute the common-law meaning of "force" to § 921(a)(33)(A)'s definition of a "misdemeanor crime of domestic violence" as an offense that "has, as an element, the use or attempted use of physical force." We therefore hold that the requirement of "physical force" is satisfied, for purposes of § 922(g)(9), by the degree of force that supports a common-law battery conviction.
[quote ends]

The Court warned that recklessly causing injury and certain types of threats without injury may not be sufficient to satisfy the federal definition for a domestic violence misdemeanor (see especially footnote 8). Thus, certain acts that violate TCA 39-13-111(b) will not apparently be sufficient to satisfy the federal statutory definition.

Although all nine justices agreed that the Sixth Circuit was wrong when the Sixth Circuit upheld dismissal of the indictment, three justices concurred in the result by separate opinions. Justice Scalia concurred in part and in the result on the ground that the Court improperly considered external definitions of domestic violence that had no bearing on the statute. Justice Alito concurred in the result, joined by Justice Thomas, on the ground that Johnson v. United States, 599 U.S. 133 (2010), was incorrectly decided, but agreed that the Court is correct in applying the common law definition of battery.
The bold emphasis is mine.
__________________
Jim's Rules of Carry: 1. Any gun is better than no gun. 2. A gun that is reliable is better than a gun that is not. 3. A hole in the right place is better than a hole in the wrong place. 4. A bigger hole is a better hole.
KyJim is offline  
Old March 26, 2014, 06:54 PM   #2
thallub
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 20, 2007
Location: South Western OK
Posts: 2,018
This one was a huge loss for us.

Link:

http://www.startribune.com/politics/252450641.html
thallub is offline  
Old March 26, 2014, 07:03 PM   #3
KyJim
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 26, 2005
Location: The Bluegrass
Posts: 7,343
Wife/girlfriend beaters are low on my list of scum but some of the convictions involve minimal violence and sometimes do not involve women. The fact that a misdemeanor permanently destroys a person's 2A rights bothers me.
__________________
Jim's Rules of Carry: 1. Any gun is better than no gun. 2. A gun that is reliable is better than a gun that is not. 3. A hole in the right place is better than a hole in the wrong place. 4. A bigger hole is a better hole.
KyJim is offline  
Old March 26, 2014, 07:04 PM   #4
leadcounsel
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 8, 2005
Location: Tacoma, WA
Posts: 1,617
Gun control using simple assault convictions... requiring minimal evidence.
__________________
2A: "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed." US Army Combat Veteran and Paratrooper: OIF (2008, 2009, 2010) and OND (2011). Bronze Star Medal and Meritorious Service Medal recipient. NRA Lifetime Member. I'm a lawyer, but not YOUR lawyer and I have not offered you legal advice.
leadcounsel is offline  
Old March 28, 2014, 02:39 PM   #5
vranasaurus
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 16, 2008
Posts: 1,175
Minimal Evidence? A misdemeanor conviction requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

While I'm not a big fan of permanently restricting someones rkba on conviction of a misdemeanor a great deal of domestic abusers are scary especially the ones that end up with a qualifying conviction. I definitely support prohibiting those currently subject to a protection order from possessing firearms. I would also support a non permanent prohibition for MCDV maybe around 5 years (I would also say that this would be appropriate for non-violent felonies)

In most places first time offenders are given a diversion or deferred adjudication that doesn't count as a conviction. And very often things are pled down from a domestic battery to disorderly conduct, criminal damage to property, or trespassing. None of these things count as a MCDV.
vranasaurus is offline  
Old March 28, 2014, 03:54 PM   #6
maestro pistolero
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 16, 2007
Posts: 2,047
To be clear, the court did not decide whether a misdemeanor domestic violence conviction was constitutional grounds for a permanent denial of second amendment rights. That question was not considered in this case.
maestro pistolero is offline  
Old March 28, 2014, 03:58 PM   #7
JERRYS.
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 23, 2013
Location: Alabama
Posts: 398
domestic violence conviction does not have to have physical harm. in Ga. criminal trespass (damaging somebody else's property valued at less than $500) qualifies under the F.V. act. meaning if you argued with your wife or girlfriend, and as you stormed out of the house you knocked over a $25 trophy she won from bowling and it broke.... you will loose your constitutional right to own a firearm.
JERRYS. is offline  
Old March 28, 2014, 05:16 PM   #8
Metal god
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 10, 2012
Location: San Diego CA
Posts: 1,668
Quote:
The Court warned that recklessly causing injury and certain types of threats without injury may not be sufficient to satisfy the federal definition for a domestic violence misdemeanor (see especially footnote 8). Thus, certain acts that violate TCA 39-13-111(b) will not apparently be sufficient to satisfy the federal statutory definition.
Am I misreading something or does the above , negate the below

Quote:
criminal trespass (damaging somebody else's property valued at less than $500) qualifies under the F.V. act. meaning if you argued with your wife or girlfriend, and as you stormed out of the house you knocked over a $25 trophy she won from bowling and it broke.... you will loose your constitutional right to own a firearm.
or at least makes it possible to argue to the court you should be able keep your RKBA in the above case .

People keep acting like the sky is falling and I don't understand this ruling enough to know if I should start crying my self to sleep at night or not .
__________________
If you have a problem with everybody .

It's not everybody that has the problem

Last edited by Metal god; March 29, 2014 at 01:37 AM.
Metal god is offline  
Old March 29, 2014, 12:52 AM   #9
44 AMP
Staff
 
Join Date: March 11, 2006
Location: Upper US
Posts: 10,580
Quote:
I don't anderstand this ruling enough to know if I should start crying my self to sleep at night or not .
I'll take a stab at it, and please, resident legal eagles, correct me if I get something wrong.

Guy pleads guilty to a misdemeanor domestic violence charge.
A few years later the guy & his gal are apparently dealing in guns (without the FFL license) and he gets charged with being a prohibited person in possession.

His defense was that the state law he was convicted under does not require an act of violence for conviction, and the Fed law assumes there is a degree of actual violence (or threat of such), SO the law he was convicted under does not meet the Fed standard and so he is NOT a prohibited person.
(or something very like that..)

The high court says, essentially, while that may be true, since you plead guilty, it doesn't matter, you are a prohibited person.

Do I have it about right?
__________________
All else being equal (and it almost never is) bigger bullets tend to work better.
44 AMP is offline  
Old March 29, 2014, 08:13 AM   #10
thallub
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 20, 2007
Location: South Western OK
Posts: 2,018
Quote:
The high court says, essentially, while that may be true, since you plead guilty, it doesn't matter, you are a prohibited person.

Do I have it about right?
Methinks you do have it right.

From SCOTUS blog:

Quote:
And “that analysis,” the Court observed, “is straightforward: Castleman pleaded guilty to having ‘intentionally or knowingly cause[d] bodily injury’ to the mother of his child,” which “necessarily involves the use of physical force.” As such, his crime does constitute a “misdemeanor crime of domestic violence” for purposes of Section 922(g)(9).
http://www.scotusblog.com/2014/03/op...-restrictions/
thallub is offline  
Old March 29, 2014, 11:20 AM   #11
Metal god
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 10, 2012
Location: San Diego CA
Posts: 1,668
My point and or question is not so much about what I think we all would agree was/is DV
Quote:
the Court observed, “is straightforward: Castleman pleaded guilty to having ‘intentionally or knowingly cause[d] bodily injury’ to the mother of his child,” which “necessarily involves the use of physical force.
As it is about saying in the middle of an argument ( I should kick your --- ) then storm out , slam the door and break the door jam . It seems to me depending on what state and or county you live . That could be a convictable act .

The fact that in some if not all cases that don't involve physical violence and proof of battery . This is a she said he said thing and I really don't like the idea of loosing a constitutional right because your GF is mad and just says your abusive . I can see a partner being so mad that they try to hurt you any way they can . They can use your love of guns to hurt you by doing what they can to have them taken away for life .

Now all that brings me to my over all point . Did the court leave an out for DV convictions that are not Physical or even unintentionally physical . Like slamming the door and something falls over and bangs there foot ? I'm trying to find out is this a blanket/black and white issue . If your convicted of DV you loose your RKBA period ???
__________________
If you have a problem with everybody .

It's not everybody that has the problem

Last edited by Metal god; March 29, 2014 at 11:27 AM.
Metal god is offline  
Old March 29, 2014, 11:42 AM   #12
44 AMP
Staff
 
Join Date: March 11, 2006
Location: Upper US
Posts: 10,580
Quote:
If your convicted of DV you loose your RKBA period ???
Essentially, yes.

Felony DV convictions have cost the RKBA since 68, since they are a felony conviction.

It was the Lautenberg law that extended the loss of RKBA to misdemeanor DV convictions.

And, Lautenberg worded it so there was no exemption for police or active military duty. And also so that the law (and its penalties) applied if you had EVER been convicted of a misdemeanor DV charge. This fact literally took Large numbers (some say thousands) of police officers off the streets, because they could no longer legally have a gun, even in the course of their official duties.

The big problem there is that in many people's cases, they lost their RKBA over what was at the time it happened, a trivial matter. It was virtually SOP for generations that even when such a small altercation resulted in charges, it was pled to, a small fine imposed, and that was the end of the matter.

Not so anymore....
__________________
All else being equal (and it almost never is) bigger bullets tend to work better.
44 AMP is offline  
Old March 29, 2014, 11:49 AM   #13
Frank Ettin
Staff
 
Join Date: November 23, 2005
Location: California - San Francisco
Posts: 6,283
Quote:
Originally Posted by Metal god
...Did the court leave an out for DV convictions that are not Physical or even unintentionally physical . Like slamming the door and something falls over and bangs there foot ? I'm trying to find out is this a blanket/black and white issue....
Castleman does not answer that question because that was not within the scope of the question before the Court.

Castleman claimed that his conviction by a Tennessee court for battery was not a "conviction of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence" for the purposes of 18 USC 922(g)(9) which would prohibit him from possessing a gun or ammunition. Castleman's argument was basically that he didn't commit a violent act on his victim, the mother of his child. The thing is that we don't know exactly how Castleman intentionally caused harm to the mother of his child.

The Supreme Court concluded, essentially, that under well established legal principles indirectly intentionally injuring someone would constitute an act of violence for the purposes of 18 USC 922(g)(9). Poisoning someone was used as an example by the Court:
Quote:
...The "use of force" in Castleman's example is not the act of "sprinkl[ing]" the poison; it is the [*8] act of employing poison knowingly as a device to cause physical harm. That the harm occurs indirectly, rather than directly (as with a kick or punch), does not matter. Under Castleman's logic, after all, one could say that pulling the trigger on a gun is not a "use of force" because it is the bullet, not the trigger, that actually strikes the victim. Leocal held that the "use" of force must entail "a higher degree of intent than negligent or merely accidental conduct," 543 U. S., at 9; it did not hold that the word "use" somehow alters the meaning of "force." ...
__________________
Formerly known as fiddletown

Last edited by Frank Ettin; March 29, 2014 at 01:50 PM. Reason: clarify after further research
Frank Ettin is offline  
Old March 30, 2014, 02:09 PM   #14
vranasaurus
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 16, 2008
Posts: 1,175
Quote:
domestic violence conviction does not have to have physical harm. in Ga. criminal trespass (damaging somebody else's property valued at less than $500) qualifies under the F.V. act. meaning if you argued with your wife or girlfriend, and as you stormed out of the house you knocked over a $25 trophy she won from bowling and it broke.... you will loose your constitutional right to own a firearm.


I have no idea what the "F.V. act" is. However the definition of misdemeanor crime of domestic violence requires that the crime of conviction have as an element the use or attempted of physical force, or the threatened use of a deadly weapon.

In Kansas any crime can be tagged as domestic violence, which triggers some requirements for an assessment and counseling upon conviction. However such a tag doesn't change the elements of the offense.

Criminal damage to property, depending on the state general requires proof of the following:

1. That the defendant damaged some property

2. That another person had an interest in said property

3. That interest holder did not give the defendant permission to damage the property

4. That the damage was of a certain amount (usually affects the severity of the charge)


Where exactly is the element involving the use or attempted use of physical force, or threatened use of a deadly weapon.

Some people are confused and think if it is called domestic violence then you will be prohibited under federal law from possessing a firearm. However that is not the case.

Even lawyers get this confused. I had a case a few months ago where a defense attorney wanted the charge reduced from Domestic Battery to Battery. The reason was because his client didn't want to lose his RKBA. I tried explaining that because the victim was his GF that a plea to a regular battery, even minus the domestic violence tag, would still result in a federal prohibition from possessing a firearm.

The definition of Misdemeanor Crime of Domestic Violence requires two things:

1. The victim must be an intimate partner or the child of an intimate partner

2. An element of the offense is the use or attempted use of physical force, or the attempted use of a deadly weapon.

This brings up another interesting point. Is that under many state statutes one can be convicted of domestic battery for crimes against siblings or parents. (Kansas being one of them). None of these people fit the definition of intimate partner or child of an intimate partner. So such crimes don't trigger the prohibition.

The bottom line is whether or not a conviction counts under the Lautenberg Amendment does not matter on what the offense is called just the relationship between the defendant and the victim and the elements of the offense.
vranasaurus is offline  
Reply

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 07:42 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2013 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent: thefiringline.com
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.10797 seconds with 9 queries