United States v. Apel

Summarized by:

  • Court: U.S. Supreme Court Certiorari Granted
  • Area(s) of Law: Property Law
  • Date Filed: June 3, 2013
  • Case #: 12-1038
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Court Below: 676 F.3d 1202 (9th Cir. 2012)
  • Full Text Opinion

Whether 18 U.S.C. §1382, which prohibits a person from reentering property owned by the military after an officer has ordered him not to reenter, applies to property where there is a public easement.

Respondent was barred from entering Vandenberg Air Force Base and convicted of trespass in violation of 18 U.S.C. §1382. The lower court affirmed Respondent’s convictions holding that 18 U.S.C. §1382 is applicable because the United States had a possessory interest over the land. The Court of Appeals reversed relying on United States v. Parker, holding that 18 U.S.C. §1382 only applied to land where the government has exclusive possessory rights. The United States petitioned for certiorari.

The United States argued in their petition that the Court of Appeals incorrectly relied on Parker because the court questioned the correctness of the decision. In addition, Parker does not address an exclusive possessory requirement. Furthermore, if the decision stands, the military will be less likely to allow future easements because they could threaten the safety and efficiency of military bases. By continuing the easements under the Court of Appeal’s decision, the military would be surrendering their authority. The Supreme Court granted certiorari to decide if 18 U.S.C. § 1382 can be enforced on a military base where there is a public easement.

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