Willamette Law Online

United States Supreme Court Certiorari Granted


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United States v. Castleman

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: October 1, 2013
Case #: 12-1371
Court Below: 695 F.3d 582 (6th Cir. 2012)
Full Text Opinion: http://www.ca6.uscourts.gov/opinions.pdf/12a0344p-06.pdf

Criminal Law: Whether a conviction for misdemeanor domestic assault qualifies as a conviction for a "misdemeanor crime of domestic violence" under 18 U.S.C. ยง 922(g)(9).

Respondent pled guilty to a misdemeanor domestic assault. Subsequently, Respondent's wife purchased firearms which she turned over to Respondent. One of the firearms was recovered in a homicide and traced back to Respondent. A grand jury indicted Respondent on two counts of possession of a firearm after being “convicted . . . of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence,” in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(9).

The lower court held that Respondents misdemeanor domestic assault conviction did not qualify as a domestic violence crime requiring the "use or attempted use of physical force." Further, the court held that Respondent's conviction did not qualify as a predicate offense under 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(9). The Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit affirmed and held that a ‘crime of domestic violence’ does not include nonviolent force such as offensive touching in a common law battery. Additionally the court held that the “physical force” is a “violent force . . . capable of causing physical pain or injury to another person” and “strong physical force.”

The Supreme Court granted certiorari to decide whether a conviction for misdemeanor domestic assault qualifies as a conviction for a "misdemeanor crime of domestic violence" under 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(9).