Tag Archives: “domestic violence”

A Very Interesting Decision On City Domestic Violence Convictions Not Triggering A Federal Prohibition

Two days ago, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a largely overlooked decision in U.S. v. Alexander Pauler, which involved Mr. Pauler’s misdemeanor conviction of domestic violence, pursuant to a municipal ordinance.

Mr. Pauler was previously convicted in 2009 of violating a Wichita, Kansas municipal domestic battery ordinance by punching his girlfriend. As the 10th Circuit declared,

The sole issue before us in this appeal is whether a misdemeanor violation of a municipal ordinance qualifies as a “misdemeanor under . . . State . . . law” when viewed in the context of a statutory scheme that clearly and consistently differentiates between state and local governments and between state statutes and municipal ordinances.

In ruling that Mr. Pauler was not prohibited pursuant to the Gun Control Act, 18 U.S.C. § 921, et seq., and more specifically the Lautenberg amendment, which became 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(9), the 10th Circuit refreshingly looked to the actual language of the definition of a “misdemeanor crime of domestic violence” found in 18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(33), which provides, in pertinent part that it must bea misdemeanor under Federal, State, or Tribal law.” In this instance, since Mr. Pauler’s conviction was for a municipal crime of domestic violence and not a state crime of domestic violence, the 10th Circuit ruled that he was not prohibited and therefore his conviction for being a prohibited person in possession must be vacated and overturned. 

If you are being charged with being a prohibited person in possession of a firearm, contact Firearms Industry Consulting Group® (FICG®) to discuss your options.

 


Firearms Industry Consulting Group® (FICG®) is a registered trademark and division of Civil Rights Defense Firm, P.C., with rights and permissions granted to Prince Law Offices, P.C. to use in this article.

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Berks County DA Dismisses Charges in Relation to Putative Domestic Violence

This week, attorney Jorge Pereira, in conjunction with Chief Counsel Joshua Prince, was successful in having the Berks County District Attorney dismiss felony charges against a client in relation to him putatively providing false information on an application to purchase a firearm as a result of a prior conviction, which the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) erroneously contended was related to domestic violence.

In this matter, the client previously pleaded guilty to a crime involving physical contact; however, as documented in all of the court filings in that matter, the physical contact was in relation to a woman who was a former girlfriend at the time the incident occurred.  Pursuant to 18 U.S.C § 921(a)(33)(A), for a crime to constitute domestic violence, it must be “committed by a current or former spouse, parent, or guardian of the victim, by a person with whom the victim shares a child in common, by a person who is cohabiting with or has cohabited with the victim as a spouse, parent, or guardian, or by a person similarly situated to a spouse, parent, or guardian of the victim.”

As the client was never married to, shared a child with or cohabited with the victim, and the victim was not a girlfriend of the client at the time, the conviction was not the result of domestic violence. Although the PSP erroneously denied him, the Berks County DA agreed that he was not prohibited under state or federal law, as it was not a crime of domestic violence, and moved to have the charges dismissed.

In these situations, it is imperative to have counsel that understands the subtle differences in the statutory and regulatory law to ensure that your rights are protected. If you, your family members or friends are ever charged with any crimes or have firearms law issues, we are here to help defend YOUR rights. Contact us today!

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Filed under Criminal Law, Firearms Law, Pennsylvania Firearms Law