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U.S. Supreme Court strikes down stiff firearms penalties


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#1 Molly B.

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Posted 24 June 2019 - 11:57 AM

Looking for more details:

 

https://www.reuters....s-idUSKCN1TP1YR

 

 

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Conservative Justice Neil Gorsuch sided with the U.S. Supreme Court’s four liberal members on Monday in striking down as unconstitutionally vague a law imposing stiff criminal sentences for people convicted of certain crimes involving firearms.


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#2 InterestedBystander

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Posted 24 June 2019 - 12:49 PM

This?

https://www.scotusbl...states-v-davis/

Holding: Title 18 U. S. C. §924©(3)(B), which provides enhanced penalties for using a firearm during a crime of violence, is unconstitutionally vague.

Judgment: Affirmed in part, vacated in part, and remanded, 5-4, in an opinion by Justice Gorsuch on June 24, 2019. Justice Kavanaugh filed a dissenting opinion, in which Justices Thomas and Alito joined, and in which Chief Justice Roberts joined as to all but Part II-C.

Edited by InterestedBystander, 24 June 2019 - 12:50 PM.

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#3 domin8

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Posted 24 June 2019 - 01:26 PM

So, liberals don't think violent criminal actions should enhance penalties, but the 2nd Amendment should be repealed because of violent acts? My head is spinning. Glad I'm sitting down right now. Sent from my SM-N960U using Tapatalk
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#4 Flynn

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Posted 24 June 2019 - 02:20 PM

I believe this is more a technical ruling on the black and white text then a liberal vs conservative ideology, the court basically said "crime of violence" wasn't properly defined in the law.

 

I don't agree with the ideology of the ruling but I support the ruling that the law was vague because at the end of the day what crime with a firearm can't be argued to be a crime of violence?  There was no distinct line drawn in the law as written that defined at what point the extra sentencing was invoked and that left it open to vague interpretations.

 

It's a fairly easy law to revise, but I doubt the House will pass a revision based on their majority ideologies.


Edited by Flynn, 24 June 2019 - 02:22 PM.

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#5 gunuser17

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Posted 24 June 2019 - 02:26 PM

There was a simple fix when the law was adopted - just specify the specific crimes that were covered by the enhanced penalty - for instance armed robbery.  But, as usual, Congress was lazy and tried to take the easy way out and just say "crime of violence" and leave it to a judge as to whether the crime at issue in this case was a crime of violence.



#6 ilphil

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Posted 24 June 2019 - 07:23 PM

I think this was a slap at Congress. Laws should be clear cut and specific.

A law that is vague can be twisted to fit the whims of the prosecutors.



#7 domin8

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Posted 25 June 2019 - 06:17 AM

Aren't the crimes of violence listed in 18 USC 921? When I was writing my Utah CFP course several years ago I went through all of the federal statutes because I'm required to discuss the federal laws. Iirc, unlawfully using a machine gun while illegally transporting illegal drugs comes to mind as one of them. Sent from my SM-N960U using Tapatalk
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#8 CILhunter

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Posted 25 June 2019 - 06:19 AM

I believe this is more a technical ruling on the black and white text then a liberal vs conservative ideology, the court basically said "crime of violence" wasn't properly defined in the law.

 

I don't agree with the ideology of the ruling but I support the ruling that the law was vague because at the end of the day what crime with a firearm can't be argued to be a crime of violence?  There was no distinct line drawn in the law as written that defined at what point the extra sentencing was invoked and that left it open to vague interpretations.

 

It's a fairly easy law to revise, but I doubt the House will pass a revision based on their majority ideologies.

 

^^^ This.  I actually have no problem with the holding, and I wish some of the other conservatives would have signed on.  As a practical matter, if the government is going to hold you criminally responsible for something, you ought to know with specificity what the penalties are.  This is one area where IL has gotten it right (one of not very many), in that they spell out which crimes constitute acts of violence.  I may not agree with all of the IL laws, but at least they are specific.



#9 Flynn

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Posted 25 June 2019 - 11:26 AM

Aren't the crimes of violence listed in 18 USC 921? 

 

Yes, but vaguely to the point where it's not really defined at all.

 

Here is the ruling

 

https://www.supremec...18-431_7758.pdf

 

I think @ilphil is dead on after reading the ruling it's pretty obvious by the language in the ruling that this is the Supreme Court slapping Congres around and telling them to stop being lazy in their authorship of laws.

 

I wish some of the other conservatives would have signed on.

 

I agree, the dissenters let their ideals get in the way of simply legally interpreting the black and white text as written.


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#10 cybermgk

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Posted 25 June 2019 - 01:01 PM

It actually sets GREAT precedent for so many Ill anti gun laws, which are written as poorly. 


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#11 tkroenlein

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Posted 26 June 2019 - 06:58 AM

I'm happy with this outcome. A crime is a crime, regardless of the implements employed.

And, not to get political, I'm glad that the latest appointments are proving to be impartial jurists.

#12 BobPistol

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Posted 26 June 2019 - 06:12 PM

Even LWW judges sometimes do the right thing.  But we can't count on that on a regular basis. 


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#13 GWBH

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Posted 27 June 2019 - 08:00 AM

Even LWW judges sometimes do the right thing.  But we can't count on that on a regular basis. 

Amen brother!!


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#14 borgranta

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Posted 02 July 2019 - 12:25 PM

Will this effect previous convictions under this unconstitutionally vague law.


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#15 Flynn

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Posted 02 July 2019 - 01:28 PM



Will this effect previous convictions under this unconstitutionally vague law.

 

It appears this will be decided on a case to case basis upon appeal.

 

 

 

While the dissent worries that our ruling
may elicit challenges to past §924© convictions, post, at
33, the dissent’s preferred approach—saving §924©(3)(B)
by changing its meaning—would also call into question
countless convictions premised on the categorical reading.
And defendants whose §924© convictions are overturned
by virtue of today’s ruling will not even necessarily receive
lighter sentences: As this Court has noted, when a defend-
ant’s §924© conviction is invalidated, courts of appeals
“routinely” vacate the defendant’s entire sentence on all
counts “so that the district court may increase the sentences
for any remaining counts” if such an increase is
warranted. Dean v. United States, 581 U. S. ___, ___
(2017) (slip op., at 5).

 


Edited by Flynn, 02 July 2019 - 01:33 PM.

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