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Mens Rea and Gun Crimes

One valid criticism we often hear of modern criminal law is that too often the mental component of crimes, the mens rea or guilty mind, has been watered down or eliminated.  Today, the US Supreme Court took up a case on the mens rea of the federal law on use of a firearm in a violent or drug crime, Rosemond v. United States, No. 12-895.  The Question Presented is:

Whether the offense of aiding and abetting the use of a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence or drug trafficking crime, in violation of 18 U.S.C. ยงยง 924(c)(1)(A) and 2, requires proof of (i) intentional facilitation or encouragement of the use of the firearm, as held by the First, Second, Third, Fifth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, and Eleventh Circuits, or (ii) simple knowledge that the principal used a firearm during a crime of violence or drug trafficking crime in which the defendant also participated, as held by the Sixth, Tenth, and District of Columbia Circuits.
Rosemond is represented by John Elwood, who writes the Relist Watch feature at SCOTUSblog.  The case was granted at the first conference, not relisted.

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