Supreme Court to hear gun possession, Fourth Amendment cases

[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website; JURIST news archive] Monday agreed to hear two cases [order list, PDF], including US v. Hayes (07-608) [docket; cert. petition, PDF], in which the Court will consider whether a federal law [18 USC 922(g)(9) text] banning the possession of firearms by anyone convicted of a "misdemeanor crime of domestic violence" would bar a man convicted of "general battery" against his wife from owning firearms. Randy Edward Hayes was prosecuted under the federal statute when police found firearms at his home 10 years after he was convicted under West Virginia law of misdemeanor battery against his wife. In April 2007, the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit dismissed the federal charge [opinion, PDF] against Hayes because his prior conviction did not specifically mention he was in a domestic relationship with the victim and thus did not qualify as a "misdemeanor crime of domestic violence." That decision held that to decide otherwise would "subject individuals to prosecution and possible conviction under the Possession Statute without fair warning." AP has more.

The Court also agreed to hear Pearson v. Callahan (07-751) [docket; cert. petition, PDF], in which it will review a July 2007 ruling [opinion, PDF] by the US Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit allowing individuals to directly sue police officers who enter their home without a search warrant to conduct a search and seizure. The Court will consider whether there exists a "consent once removed" exception to the Fourth Amendment which would allow police to enter a home without a warrant when an undercover informant inside the home signals that a drug sale is in progress. Lawyers for the defense say that in such a case, the officers are protected by qualified immunity as they did not violate clearly established law. AP has more.

 

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