Supreme Court Hears Federal Firearm Case Appeal

Federal Federal Firearm Case Reversed Based On Incorrect Jury Instruction

In Rosemond v. United States, Docket No. 12-895 the United States Supreme Court considered the proof required for a Federal firearm case under 18 U.S.C. § 924, which prohibits using or carrying a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence or drug trafficking crime.  The opinion was issued March 5, 2014.

In this federal firearms case, the Government argued that it had established that the defendant aided and abetted another person in violation of §924 by showing that the defendant had actively participated in the underlying drug trafficking or violent crime offense, and that the defendant had advance knowledge that the other person would use or carry a gun during the crime’s commission.

The Supreme Court held that the trial court’s jury instructions were not correct because they did not require the jury to find that the defendant knew in advance that one of his cohorts would be armed. The trial court simply instructed the jury that they had to determine whether the defendant “knew his cohort used a firearm.” The Supreme Court held that this instruction did not direct the jury to determine if the defendant had the requisite knowledge of the gun, meaning whether he knew of the gun in sufficient time to withdraw from the crime. The case was remanded to the Tenth Circuit to address whether the defendant’s objection properly preserved the error and whether any error was harmless.

A Federal firearm case is an extremely serious charge which carries serious jail time due to mandatory minimum sentences. If you are facing a federal firearm case, or any federal criminal charge, seek the assistance of an experienced federal criminal defense attorney immediately.

William K. Bradford and Amber L. Ladner of Bradford Ladner, LLP. are experience Alabama criminal defense lawyers with over 30 years of combined experience handling state and federal criminal cases throughout Alabama.

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