Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Violation of Municipal Domestic Battery Ordinance Cannot Support a 18 USC § 922(g)(9) Conviction

United States v. Pauler, 2017 WL 2233740 (May 23, 2017) (KS) (published): The panel reverses Pauler’s conviction for possessing a firearm after having been convicted of a misdemeanor crime domestic violence. The term “misdemeanor crime of domestic violence” is defined in 18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(33)(A) as a “misdemeanor under Federal, State of Tribal law.” Using basic rules of statutory construction, the panel concludes that Pauler’s conviction for violating a municipal domestic battery ordinance is not a “misdemeanor under Federal, State or Tribal law.” In other words, since this phrase does not include a violation of a municipal ordinance, that type of transgression cannot be used prosecute someone for violating 18 USC § 922(g)(9). If you have a statutory interpretation issue, this case is worth looking at.

DOJ thought this case was important enough to assign it to the DOJ/DC appellate unit. Congratulations to our colleague in the Kansas City office, Dan Hansmeier, who showed them how the cow ate the cabbage west of the Mississippi.