A recurring problem in both gun possession law and recidivist sentencing is dealing with the wide variety of ways that crimes are defined in the 50 states and handful of almost-states that make up our federal republic. Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court took up the "misdemeanor crime of domestic violence" question in Voisine v. United States, No. 14-10154. Amy Howe has this post at SCOTUSblog.
Counsel for the defendants asked the Court to take two questions:
1. Does a misdemeanor crime with the mens rea of recklessness qualify as a "misdemeanor crime of domestic violence" as defined by 18 U.S.C. §§ 921(a)(33)(A) and 922(g)(9)?Mens rea means guilty mental state, an issue we discussed last term in relation to the Elonis case. See, e.g., this post.
2. Are 18 U.S.C. §§ 921(a)(33)(A) and 922(g)(9) unconstitutional under the Second, Fifth, and Sixth Amendments and the Ex Post Facto Clause of the United States Constitution?
The high court took the statutory question, number 1, but said "fuggetaboutit" to the constitutional question, number 2. No treat for Second Amendment fans this Halloween.