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Prior conviction doesn't fall under exception

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The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a defendant's argument that his felon-in-possession indictment was insufficient because his previous conviction of stealing cable doesn't meet the definition of a "crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year" under 18 U.S.C. Section 921(a)(20)(A). This is the first time the 7th Circuit had addressed this issue.

In United States of America v. Kevin R. Schultz, No. 09-1192, the federal appellate judges looked to other Circuit Court decisions that have addressed Section 921(a)(20)(A), and those courts have held that not all offenses related to the regulation of business practices fall within the exclusion.

Schultz argued that his prior felony conviction doesn't meet the definition of a "crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year" because Congress created an exception under 18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(20)(A), to exclude "any Federal or State offenses pertaining to antitrust violations, unfair trade practices, restraints of trade, or other similar offenses relating to the regulation of business practices."

Schultz maintained his 2005 felony conviction is excluded under "similar offenses" because he was convicted of knowingly trafficking in a telecommunications instrument. After his 2005 conviction - for which he was sentenced to two years probation, with the first six months to be served on home detention - a search warrant of his home yielded a shotgun and ammunition in the attached garage. Schultz was convicted of violating 18 U.S.C. Section 922(g), which makes it unlawful for one convicted of a crime punishable of a term exceeding one year to possess a firearm.

For Schultz's 2005 conviction to fall under the exception, the government would have to prove, as an element of the predicate offense, that competition or consumers were affected. Based on United States v. Stanko, 491 F.3d 408, 413-14 (8th Cir. 2007); United States v. Meldish, 722 F.2d 26, 27 (2d Cir. 1983); and United States v. Dreher, 115 F.3d 330, 332-33 (5th Cir. 1997), the government wasn't required to prove Schultz's conduct had an effect on consumers or the competition, wrote Judge William Bauer.

"Schultz's conviction was under Title 18, which regulates crimes and criminal procedure and not Title 15, which regulates commerce and trade. Therefore, the Section 921(a)(20)(A) exclusion does not apply to Schultz's predicate conviction," wrote the judge.

The Circuit Court also rejected Schultz's other arguments on appeal - that the Section 921(a)(20)(A) is impermissibly vague; he should have had a Franks hearing to test the validity of the affidavit used to obtain the search warrant for his house; and that his statements made while his home was searched should have been suppressed.

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  1. You can put your photos anywhere you like... When someone steals it they know it doesn't belong to them. And, a man getting a divorce is automatically not a nice guy...? That's ridiculous. Since when is need of money a conflict of interest? That would mean that no one should have a job unless they are already financially solvent without a job... A photographer is also under no obligation to use a watermark (again, people know when a photo doesn't belong to them) or provide contact information. Hey, he didn't make it easy for me to pay him so I'll just take it! Well heck, might as well walk out of the grocery store with a cart full of food because the lines are too long and you don't find that convenient. "Only in Indiana." Oh, now you're passing judgement on an entire state... What state do you live in? I need to characterize everyone in your state as ignorant and opinionated. And the final bit of ignorance; assuming a photo anyone would want is lucky and then how much does your camera have to cost to make it a good photo, in your obviously relevant opinion?

  2. Seventh Circuit Court Judge Diane Wood has stated in “The Rule of Law in Times of Stress” (2003), “that neither laws nor the procedures used to create or implement them should be secret; and . . . the laws must not be arbitrary.” According to the American Bar Association, Wood’s quote drives home this point: The rule of law also requires that people can expect predictable results from the legal system; this is what Judge Wood implies when she says that “the laws must not be arbitrary.” Predictable results mean that people who act in the same way can expect the law to treat them in the same way. If similar actions do not produce similar legal outcomes, people cannot use the law to guide their actions, and a “rule of law” does not exist.

  3. Linda, I sure hope you are not seeking a law license, for such eighteenth century sentiments could result in your denial in some jurisdictions minting attorneys for our tolerant and inclusive profession.

  4. Mazel Tov to the newlyweds. And to those bakers, photographers, printers, clerks, judges and others who will lose careers and social standing for not saluting the New World (Dis)Order, we can all direct our Two Minutes of Hate as Big Brother asks of us. Progress! Onward!

  5. My daughter was taken from my home at the end of June/2014. I said I would sign the safety plan but my husband would not. My husband said he would leave the house so my daughter could stay with me but the case worker said no her mind is made up she is taking my daughter. My daughter went to a friends and then the friend filed a restraining order which she was told by dcs if she did not then they would take my daughter away from her. The restraining order was not in effect until we were to go to court. Eventually it was dropped but for 2 months DCS refused to allow me to have any contact and was using the restraining order as the reason but it was not in effect. This was Dcs violating my rights. Please help me I don't have the money for an attorney. Can anyone take this case Pro Bono?

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