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hoffmang
11-09-2008, 8:57 PM
All,

There will be a very interesting firearms related case heard at oral argument in the Supreme Court tomorrow. The case is US v. Hayes (http://www.scotuswiki.com/index.php?title=United_States_v._Hayes) which turns on whether a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence had to have a specific component of being a crime against a household member.

I expect the transcript to be out in the afternoon - just a bit slower than Heller. This will be interesting to get a feel for how expansive the Court will treat Heller in this edgier case.

Some selected quotes from the case summary on SCOTUSblog linked above:

Does 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(9), which prohibits anyone convicted of a “misdemeanor crime of domestic violence” from possessing a firearm, apply only to offenders convicted of crimes that specifically have as an element a domestic relationship between the offender and the victim, or does it apply more broadly to any misdemeanor crime of violence that involves a domestic relationship, even if that relationship is not an element of the offense? ...

In 2005, respondent Randy Edward Hayes was indicted on three counts of violating 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(9). A superseding indictment alleged that Hayes was convicted in 1994 in West Virginia of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence (“MCDV”), which – as relevant here – 18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(33)(A) defines as a crime that is a misdemeanor under state law and “has, as an element, the use or attempted use of physical force, or the threatened use of a deadly weapon, committed by a current … spouse.” Although Hayes was, in fact, convicted in 1994 of battering his then-wife, he moved to dismiss the superseding indictment on the ground that the 1994 conviction was not an MCDV. To qualify as an MCDV, Hayes argued, the predicate offense must have, as an element, a domestic relationship between the victim and the perpetrator – an element that was not present in the West Virginia simple battery statute under which he was convicted. Relying on the Fourth Circuit’s unpublished decision in United States v. Ball, in which the court held that Section 921(a)(33)(A) does not require a domestic relationship element, the district court denied Hayes’ motion, and Hayes entered a conditional guilty plea to one count of violating Section 922(g)(9).

On appeal, the Fourth Circuit reversed. The court recognized that it was taking the minority position by holding that Section 921(a)(33)(A) requires a domestic relationship element, as at least eight other circuits have ruled to the contrary. However, in the majority’s view, the plain and unambiguous language of Section 921(a)(33)(A) prevails over any legislative intent to be garnered from the “sparse” legislative history, which does not clarify whether a domestic relationship is a requisite element. Turning to rules of statutory construction, the majority relied on the rule of the last antecedent – which mandates reading a limiting phrase as modifying only the noun of the phrase immediately before it – to conclude that the requirement that an offense be “committed by” someone with a domestic relationship to the victim modifies the phrase beginning “has, as an element” rather than the noun “offense.” And although the court deemed Congress’s use of the singular “element” as insignificant, it relied on the semicolon at the end of Section 921(a)(33)(A)(i) and the absence of any semicolon before “committed by” in Section 921(a)(33)(A)(ii) as reflecting Congress’s intent to separate the clauses, and its simultaneous lack of intent to restrict “has, as an element” to the “use of force” phrase. Finally, even to the extent that any ambiguity remains in the statute, the majority concluded that the rule of lenity required it to rule in Hayes’s favor.

I recommend reading the rest of the details (http://www.scotuswiki.com/index.php?title=United_States_v._Hayes).

-Gene

sierratangofoxtrotunion
11-10-2008, 10:04 AM
Maybe my head is mud this morning, but it's not fully wrapping around this one.

So in 94, the guy beat his wife. In 05, he was found with 3 guns. I'm... lost after that. Is he saying that he should be able to have guns now that they are divorced?

sigsauer887
11-10-2008, 10:20 AM
Wow...sounds like a pretty neat case. The Domestic Violence statute is so screwed up it NEEDS to be fixed.

ke6guj
11-10-2008, 11:44 AM
I've been waiting to see how this one goes.

hoffmang
11-10-2008, 11:56 AM
Oral Argument posted here: http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/showthread.php?t=130983

-Gene

kermit315
11-10-2008, 12:12 PM
they charged him with violating Lautenberg, however, at the time of his initial run in with the law, Lautenberg didnt exist. They are saying it is retroactive, he says it isnt.

this will be interesting. I too want to see how this plays out.

nicki
11-10-2008, 12:40 PM
Should we expect rulings on both cases around the same time?

Nicki

hoffmang
11-10-2008, 4:56 PM
Both? Expect a ruling on this case Feb/March of 2009.

-Gene

ke6guj
11-10-2008, 5:15 PM
Nicki is refering to Nordyke as the second case.

Any deadline on when the 9th would have to announce oral arguements? Or, can they just rule on the case based on the Amicus Briefs?

Liberty1
11-10-2008, 6:34 PM
Oral Argument posted here: http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/showthread.php?t=130983

-Gene

While in the middle of reading that argument over how "is" and "that" modified or didn't modify the "element/elements" of the crime as written by Congress, I half expected one of the Justices to ask, "Who's on first?".

I can now much better appreciate the simplicity of "Heller" and Gura's tactics. Slow and steady (simple and direct) wins the race. :)

ke6guj
11-10-2008, 6:40 PM
While in the middle of reading that argument over how "is" and "that" modified or didn't modify the "element/elements" of the crime as written by Congress, I half expected one of the Justices to ask, "Who's on first?".

I can now much better appreciate the simplicity of "Heller" and Gura's tactics. Slow and steady (simple and direct) wins the race. :)

definitely +1 on that.

I did enjoy that "my cousin vinny" moment regarding the Romanettes.

Lex Arma
11-11-2008, 8:03 AM
definitely +1 on that.

I did enjoy that "my cousin vinny" moment regarding the Romanettes.

My legal education is now complete. I now know what a Romanette is.

hoffmang
11-11-2008, 9:30 AM
My understanding to which Don probably can't comment publicly is that Nordyke could simply have a decision issued without any further argument.

-Gene

aileron
11-11-2008, 9:50 AM
My legal education is now complete. I now know what a Romanette is.

So now do I... But my basic legal-fu is lacking. :p

http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/romanette

Amazing, the case is already mentioned in the wiki.

Which one of you did it?

anthonyca
11-12-2008, 12:29 AM
Maybe my head is mud this morning, but it's not fully wrapping around this one.

So in 94, the guy beat his wife. In 05, he was found with 3 guns. I'm... lost after that. Is he saying that he should be able to have guns now that they are divorced?

He is arguing that the way the law is written it does not cover what crime he pleaded to. Justice Scalia seems to agree with that and states that it is "interesting that the BATF has it written correctly" in their own lititure interpreting this law that they use to have people arrested. Justice Scalia also states that he could have been charged with a felony for the altercation with his wife if it was that serious of a crime but he was not. They also talk on the record that the bill was changed due to it "dying" and that the original bill included any "violence" and they mentioned that "cutting up credit cards" would have rendered you a federal felon for touching a firearm or ammo.

When he (Hayes) decided to accept the plea bargan there was not a federal ban that factored into if he would fight or just plead, the law was inserted two years later into a postal and another unassuming bill then finally got through after being modified and inserted in "the 11th hour" into a very important budgit bill that had to get passed back around the time the federal government shut down due to the budgit being held up. He did not know he was committing a felony for having an unloaded rifle his dad gave him under his bed since this is an ex post facto law. Justice Kenedy talks about how if he told a client to plead and then while walking down the steps of the courthouse he told him he had to give up all his guns and could never hunt again, he could be guilty of malpractice. Atleast that is how I interpreted it but I am not a lawyer.

This was a very interesting read. My lemans opinion is that the counsel for Hayes did not stress that it was ex post facto, it came out in the testimony but was not stressed at all. This case was prepared before Heller and I don't remember anything mentioned by counsel about the 2nd amendment. The most important thing I see here is how the BATF is enforcing language different than the written law. As one of the justices stated, he does not care what the congress INTENDED, people are governed by the laws that are passed. This could be very important with the BATF overstepping its bounds and making interpretations. Also it was mentioned several times that this was a misdemeanor and "not that serious of a crime" by the justices and if it was "he would have been charged with a felony" was very interesting.

Justices Scalia, made a better argument for Hayes then his own lawyer did in my lemans opinion and seemed to say alot of the things I thought Hayes's councel left out. I don't know if the ruling can only affect what specifically was being argued (if Hayes should fall under this law for being convicted of Battery not domestic violence battery), or the other points brought up by the justices, "not that serious of a crime", "misdemeanor" and that the law didn't exist when he was pleaded to the crime in question. Some of the justices seemed to lean that a mistomeaner should not equal a lifetime ban without actually saying that or even been asked. Except Bryer and Ginsberg ofcourse. She seemed to agree with the governments lawyer from the start.

Can someone with more experience tell me if I am interpreting this correctly?

anthonyca
11-12-2008, 3:40 PM
Has anyone read the whole arguments from this case? http://www.supremecourtus.gov/oral_arguments/argument_transcripts/07-608.pdf I was suprised how short the arguments were and that all the justices did not ask questions. The breaks to look at documents must eat up allot of time though. It was very interesting. Now I am going to read the whole Heller argument.

Liberty1
11-12-2008, 4:12 PM
The breaks to look at documents must eat up allot of time though.

There are no breaks. The clock is ticking. You better be able to quote text and verse while thinking on your feet.

Liberty1
11-12-2008, 4:37 PM
Now I am going to read the whole Heller argument.

Listen to the Heller oral arguments too if you haven't yet: http://www.c-span.org/search.aspx?For=heller%20oral%20arguments

anthonyca
11-13-2008, 5:49 PM
Thanks Liberty1 for the link. I am going to listen to this.

anthonyca
11-13-2008, 9:17 PM
Listen to the Heller oral arguments too if you haven't yet: http://www.c-span.org/search.aspx?For=heller%20oral%20arguments

I can't get this to work. Is anyone else having problems with video on this link? Does anyone know of another link to the heller audio or video or in the US v Hayes?

anthonyca
11-13-2008, 11:26 PM
If anyone can't get the Heller case audio to work I found it on a podcast here. This was an amazing case that every gun owner should listen to. Every American should listen to this actually.http://podcast.gunrights.us/2008/03/18/dc-v-heller-oral-arguments-audio-episode-078/