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October 6, 2009

Notable (new?) First Circuit opinion on Heller and federal juve crimes and punishment

I just discovered today this notable opinion from the First Circuit concerning the Second Amendment and federal juvenile prosecution and punishment. Strangely, the opinion in US v. Rene E., Juvenile Male, is dated August 31, 2009, but perhaps there was some reason the ruling was not made public earlier. Whatever the backstory, anyone interested in the Second Amendment or federal prosecution of juveniles will want to check out the First Circuit's work in Rene E.  Here is how the opinion starts:

Juvenile Rene E. ("appellant") was charged with possessing a handgun in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(x)(2)(A) and 18 U.S.C. § 5032, the charging provision of the Juvenile Delinquency Act. After his motions to dismiss and motion to suppress were denied, he entered a conditional guilty plea. On appeal, he raises constitutional challenges to 18 U.S.C. § 922(x)(2), arguing both that it violates his rights under the Second Amendment, as interpreted by the Supreme Court in District of Columbia v. Heller, 128 S. Ct. 2783 (2008), and that it exceeds Congress's authority under the Commerce Clause. He also challenges the sentence he received under the Juvenile Delinquency Act, arguing that the district court erred in determining the maximum sentence to which a similarly situated adult would be subject under the United States Sentencing Guidelines.

We hold that 18 U.S.C. § 922(x)(2)(A) does not violate the Second Amendment, and we reaffirm our holding in United States v. Cardoza, 129 F.3d 6 (1st Cir. 1997), that section 922(x)(2)(A) does not exceed Congress's Commerce Clause authority.  Lastly, because appellant is no longer in detention or under juvenile supervision, we conclude that his sentencing challenge is moot.  Therefore, we affirm.

UPDATE:  Over at Crime & Consequences, Kent here has a notable (and amusing) reaction to the ruling in Rene E.:

Personally, I'd like to see the Commerce Clause challenge go up to the Supreme Court. The peoples of Arkansas and Massachusetts should be able to come to different conclusions regarding whether 17-year-olds can possess handguns.

Perhaps we should also have a limit on the length of statutes so that none will ever need a subdivision (x).

October 6, 2009 at 03:06 PM | Permalink


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Here is one for you guys. I am preparing to bring suit against the feds for denying my right to firearms. I was convicted of one felony 15 years ago. Ten years ago Ohio granted me a Relief of Disability O.R.C. 2923.14, which states I am "allowed to own and possess firearms as allowed by state and federal law...this does not apply to dangerous ordnance." In my NICS appeal, the feds denied me based on the "unless clause" of 922, stating the the state limited my firearms ownership by not granting dangerous ordnance. According to O.R.C. 2923.11, dangerous ordnance are exactly what the feds require all citizens to apply for with a class 3 form 4. Therefore, the state does not even have the power to grant permission to ownership or possession of dangerous ordnance.

This creates several issues. First, the feds are denying my rights based on the state not granting me rights that THEY say the state does not have the power to grant! Next, the will of the Ohio legislature was to allow me to petition the court to be allowed to own and possess firearms, which I did and was subsequently granted. The feds denial of my rights is a direct defiance of the will of the Ohio legislature.

Also, the Gun Control Act itself is not Constitutional. How does the interstate commerce clause give the feds the right to regulate the use and ownership of the product once the interstate commerce is complete? How about product items that were not shipped interstate but were strictly intrastate? (see Firearms Freedom Act and current Montana challenge).

I am seriously doing this, working close with my attorney, lobbyists, and soveriegnty and firearms groups. If anyone would like to help me in developing defense or whatever, please respond and email me.

Posted by: V | Oct 25, 2009 9:05:59 PM

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