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View Full Version : Lautenburg amendment upheld.


mblat
02-24-2009, 2:58 PM
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,499526,00.html
Quote:

U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Domestic Violence Gun Conviction

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


WASHINGTON The Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld the conviction of a West Virginia man for violating a federal law barring people convicted in domestic violence cases from possessing firearms.

In a 7-2 vote, the court ruled that a federal appeals court in Richmond, Va., wrongly threw out the conviction of Randy Edward Hayes. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote the majority opinion. Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Antonin Scalia dissented.

The federal government, gun control groups and women's rights advocates worried that a ruling for Hayes would have weakened the federal law enacted in 1996 that applied the 40-year-old ban on gun possession by a felon to people convicted of domestic violence misdemeanors.

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in Hayes' favor because the West Virginia state law on battery under which he was convicted did not contain specific wording about a domestic relationship between the offender and the victim.

Nine other appeals courts rejected that interpretation.

There was no dispute, however, that the victim in the 1994 crime was his then-wife.

Ten years later, police summoned to Hayes's home in response to a domestic violence 911 call found a Winchester rifle belonging to Hayes. They later discovered that he had possessed at least four other rifles following the 1994 case.

He was indicted on federal charges of possessing firearms following conviction of misdemeanor domestic violence, a reference to the 1994 case.

The case turned on whether the conviction for domestic violence that gives rise to the gun ban can be under a generic law against the use of force. Or, must the state law be aimed specifically at spousal abuse or domestic relationships.

Ginsburg said such specificity "would frustrate Congress' manifest purpose. Firearms and domestic strife are a potentially deadly combination nationwide."

In dissent, Roberts said the federal law is ambiguous and that the case should have been resolved in Hayes' favor. "Ten years in jail is too much to hinge on the will-o'-the-wisp of statutory meaning pursued by the majority," Roberts said.

The case is U.S. v. Hayes, 07-608.
.

MP301
02-24-2009, 3:20 PM
Im surprised but im not surprised... I thought CA was bad for making it 10 years to own a firearm again after a Midemeanor Domestic...but life seem like a really really really long time...oh wait, it is a long time.

It is very very easy to get one of these midemeanors without being a monster. Crazy...

mymonkeyman
02-24-2009, 3:34 PM
A conviction was upheld, not the amendment. The constitutionality of the amendment wasn't at issue. The only issue was one of statutory interpretation: essentially whether you are banned only if you were convicted of "domestic violence," i.e. a crime where an element of the offense requires the victim be a domestic to you, or whether you can also be banned if you are convicted of, say simple battery, against someone who happened to be a domestic to you. The court took the later view.

wash
02-24-2009, 3:40 PM
1994 conviction, 1996 law, so he was legal for two years.

Did they have a gun round up when the 1996 law was passed? I haven't heard about that.

I imagine that he would be grandfathered in some way but I don't know.

hoffmang
02-24-2009, 3:41 PM
In talking with some of the right people today the consensus is "not a win, but also not a loss."

It may oddly help only California due to the nature of California's underlying offense.

-Gene

MP301
02-24-2009, 4:06 PM
Thats good to hear Gene. I know a few folks that currently suffer the Misdemeanor domestic conviction/life time ban club and the actual offense they are guilty of is in a couple instances silly.

Dont get me wrong, some people maybe shouldnt have guns, but I dont think this group is an autmatic ban type group..

anthonyca
02-24-2009, 7:35 PM
Thats good to hear Gene. I know a few folks that currently suffer the Misdemeanor domestic conviction/life time ban club and the actual offense they are guilty of is in a couple instances silly.

Dont get me wrong, some people maybe shouldnt have guns, but I dont think this group is an autmatic ban type group..

Any more news on this or link to the opinion?

"Firearms and domestic strife are a potentially deadly combination nationwide,'' Ginsburg said. That is not what she was ruling on. This really upsets me when personal opinions are made more important then our Constitution.

What about people charged in california under domestic for an altercation with a roommate or someone not a "spouse or similarly situated to a spouse"? By that I mean a boyfriend and girlfriend casual dating relationship with no children or shared housing. The BATFE web site states that the "victim" has to be engaged in more then "boyfriend or girlfriend."

What about someone who was originally charged with domestic but it was later dropped to simple battery after it was determined that the parties involved were not in a qualifying relationship?

I was in the ARMY when this garbage bill came about and saw many ruined careers from an argument that happened years before.

MP301
02-25-2009, 3:02 AM
Any more news on this or link to the opinion?

"Firearms and domestic strife are a potentially deadly combination nationwide,'' Ginsburg said. That is not what she was ruling on. This really upsets me when personal opinions are made more important then our Constitution.

What about people charged in california under domestic for an altercation with a roommate or someone not a "spouse or similarly situated to a spouse"? By that I mean a boyfriend and girlfriend casual dating relationship with no children or shared housing. The BATFE web site states that the "victim" has to be engaged in more then "boyfriend or girlfriend."

What about someone who was originally charged with domestic but it was later dropped to simple battery after it was determined that the parties involved were not in a qualifying relationship?

I was in the ARMY when this garbage bill came about and saw many ruined careers from an argument that happened years before.

Yeah, I know a few police officers as well as other professionals that suffered this fate as well. Im surprised that the military and police groups didnt fight this amendment.

CA_Libertarian
02-25-2009, 12:31 PM
Dont get me wrong, some people maybe shouldnt have guns, but I dont think this group is an autmatic ban type group..

I think no group should be an automatic ban group, as these bans have zero positive effect. The bottom line is that guns are accessible. On the street, illegal guns are easier to get than legal ones. If they are too dangerous to be trusted with a gun, keep them in jail where they can't get them.

hvengel
02-25-2009, 1:14 PM
Yeah, I know a few police officers as well as other professionals that suffered this fate as well. Im surprised that the military and police groups didnt fight this amendment.

The original proposal had a police and military exception and our side with the help of feminist groups managed to get that removed. The thought from our side was that removing it might get it killed. And military and police groups did fight it. I think we should make sure that any anti laws that get passed, if we can't prevent it, should not exempt police or military. We should not have some animals that are more equal than others.

Cypren
02-25-2009, 2:54 PM
On the street, illegal guns are easier to get than legal ones. If they are too dangerous to be trusted with a gun, keep them in jail where they can't get them.

Amen.

Outlaw Josey Wales
02-25-2009, 3:18 PM
I was in the ARMY when this garbage bill came about and saw many ruined careers from an argument that happened years before.


What should soldiers do? Soldiers who are concerned that the Amendment applies to them should contact their former attorney or the Legal Assistance Office (242-5083/4) for an appointment for help in determining their legal status. A legal assistance attorney can not only help soldiers determine their status, but can also assist them in efforts to have records expunged or to obtain pardons from applicable state governors. The soldier should attempt to get a record of the conviction prior to the appointment. Additionally, if soldiers are pending misdemeanor charges in civilian court systems for domestic violence, a legal assistance attorney can advise them about the impact of a conviction and any options available for deferred adjudication or alternate resolution.

anthonyca
02-25-2009, 5:50 PM
What should soldiers do? Soldiers who are concerned that the Amendment applies to them should contact their former attorney or the Legal Assistance Office (242-5083/4) for an appointment for help in determining their legal status. A legal assistance attorney can not only help soldiers determine their status, but can also assist them in efforts to have records expunged or to obtain pardons from applicable state governors. The soldier should attempt to get a record of the conviction prior to the appointment. Additionally, if soldiers are pending misdemeanor charges in civilian court systems for domestic violence, a legal assistance attorney can advise them about the impact of a conviction and any options available for deferred adjudication or alternate resolution.

The problem is that the BATFE does not recognize expungement from many states and good luck getting a pardon.

Another problem is that some people are falsely charged with domestic( roommate, booty call, your wifes drunk uncle who does not live with you) and it is later dropped to simple battery by the DA or dropped to disorderly conduct. The BATFE looks at the "arrest records" or "police reports" and makes their own determination of who is banned when they want to.

The BATFE have it both ways. If your state at any time calls a crime "domestic" you are banned. If they don't call it "domestic" but the BATFE determines by their guidelines on interpreting the Lautenberg amendment that it is domestic you are banned. California and many states often charge as "domestic" many mistomeners including disorderly conduct with no actual victim but the neighbors call on you in your own home when family is there, breaking your home cable or phone or disabling it, and fighting with a close family friend as domestic when those do not fit the Lautenberg amendment which the BATFE specifically says, simply stating that the victim and perpetrator are "boyfriend and girlfriend" does not meet the qualification for a lifetime ban.

So even if the crime does not fit into the Lautenberg amendment but you where charged in your state as "domestic" they use that to ban you. If you were not charged with "domestic" but they determine that it was then you are banned.

There is deliberately no funding for the appeals process so you will never get it fixed even if it is a mistake.

ke6guj
02-25-2009, 5:58 PM
I wonder why they never argued the constitutionality of the Lautenberg amendment, instead of trying to argue what "is" means?

SimpleCountryActuary
02-25-2009, 8:01 PM
Clearly this was a miscarriage of justice, as Roberts pretty much said. However, if he had kept his firearms in a safe so that the police couldn't see them, then he would be better off. I am reading a book by "Boston T. Party" called "You & the Police".

vrand
02-25-2009, 8:12 PM
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,499526,00.html
Quote:

In dissent, Roberts said the federal law is ambiguous and that the case should have been resolved in Hayes' favor. "Ten years in jail is too much to hinge on the will-o'-the-wisp of statutory meaning pursued by the majority," Roberts said.
.

:eek:

Flintlock Tom
02-26-2009, 6:04 AM
Again the underlying erroneous assumption is that if someone, guilty of "domestic violence" is banned from having a gun, then that person can't possibly use a gun to commit domestic violence.
I feel safer already.

anthonyca
02-28-2009, 1:02 AM
In talking with some of the right people today the consensus is "not a win, but also not a loss."

It may oddly help only California due to the nature of California's underlying offense.

-Gene

Any more info on this Gene?