07 January 2011

More Civil Rights Progress In DC

Magnus v. U.S., decided yesterday, concludes that a defendant who pleaded guilty in 1996 to violating Washington DC's handgun ban can now have that plea set aside given DC v. Heller.

Because the conviction for conduct that was not criminal, but was constitutionally protected, was the ultimate miscarriage of justice, according to the opinion.

A somewhat complicated and to many, troubling case. Because the individual at question also was found in the proximity of a large amount of marijuana, which he said was not his but belonged to another individual who resided there. Mr. Magnus was NEVER charged with any drug crimes. That says alot. Only the gun issues.

Bottom line . . . I am going to say this is another red-letter day for civil rights in America, and the District of Columbia. Because the opinion is about constitutional protections. S

Something America is getting a reminder about this week as the 112th Congress begins its session after a sea-change at the ballot box last November.

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