Tag Archives: Plain Error

Average JOE SCoTUS: United States v. Gary

I’ve often argued that in the United States, we have so many bullshit laws, we’re probably all criminals and don’t even know it. Well, that’s kinda at the heart of this case.

In 2019, the Supreme Court  in Rehaif v. United States, decided that in order to be convicted of the felony of possessing a firearm while already being a felon, it requires that that person both know they had the gun, and that they were a felon.

Michael Andrew Gary, really loves guns. So much so, they he went out and got himself some stolen guns, and was driving around town with them without a care in the world. That is until, officers pulled his dumb ass over for running a red light. Oh, did I mention his dumb ass didn’t have a driver’s license, either?

Don’t do drugs kids! And for fuck’s sake, if you don’t have a driver’s license, don’t run a fucking red light when you have a stolen gun in your car.

Anyway, this fucking idiot was busted years earlier for a 2nd degree burglary, and plead to it, like he plead to having a stolen gun, running a red light, and having no license. Basically, he just really doesn’t want to fight with the law, and admits to pretty much anything he’s charged with. Until now.

The problem at the heart of this case, was that back in 2014, when he plead, he was apparently not made aware that the conviction would be a felony.

Once SCOTUS decided Rehaif above, the 4th Circuit decided Gary was entitled to a new hearing, so his dumb ass could decide whether he wanted to plea or not, now knowing it would make him a felon.

Why does this matter? Well, if he didn’t know he was a felon, then the newer charge of felony possession of a gun can’t be attached to him, because as was stated above, he has to know he is a felon, to be guilty of felony possession. Apparently, contrary to the statement by that prick cop who gave me a ticket years ago when I didn’t know the speed limit was only 45 mph, ignorance is an excuse.

So now the question to the Supreme Court is whether Gary is entitled to a new trial solely because his dumb ass didn’t know about the whole “being a felon now” thing? And, does it have to be shown he’d have plead differently had he known, or such knowledge would have otherwise affected the outcome?

My own question is, if he didn’t know he was a fucking felon, why did he have a stolen fucking gun? Why didn’t he buy one legally. This dumb motherfucker knew he wouldn’t pass a background check, so he apparently knew he was a fucking felon.

Justice Sotomayor seemed to pick up on what I was cooking. In her questions for Counsel Fisher (for Gary):

Sonia Sotomayor

Here is a man who was convicted seven times, multiple separate jail terms, vastly exceeding one year, and I think he had been let out of his last conviction months before he was arrested on this charge. So what would have made it — what factual defenses to knowledge would he have plausibly had?

Jeffrey L. Fisher

So I’m going to answer your question, Justice Sotomayor, but if you forgive me one — one quick thing I want to make sure I reserve, which is we do not think this issue is in front of the Court.

Our argument is that he automatically satisfies prong 4 because of the nature of the error and the futility. But what our argument would be on the facts on remand is that even though he has seven convictions, none of them were convictions where he served more than one year of imprisonment following that conviction. And so the only conviction the government really put in front of the Fourth Circuit is a 2014 burglary conviction.

There, he served more than a year of pretrial detention, but he was let out on a suspended sentence after the guilty plea. And so he reasonably might have thought that pretrial detention has no relationship, as the Court knows, to what the ultimate sentence could be —

Sonia Sotomayor

How about his admission that he knew he was a felon and that’s why he was hiding?

Jeffrey L. Fisher

So that was not his admission, Justice Sotomayor.

What his admission was, and I’m going to quote here, was that he was aware he was not supposed to have a weapon.

He did not say anything about his felon status. And remember, at the outset of this case, he was charged under a state law that prohibited carrying guns without certain, you know, job titles, like a policeman or a fire fighter or the like, or a fisherman, and so that alone would have told him he couldn’t carry a gun for reasons having nothing to do with any felon status.

However, I think the conservative justices largely had their minds made up. At one point, all three Trump appointees Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, then Barrett all couldn’t even be bothered to ask any questions, as if they had somewhere else they wanted to be.

This case was enjoined with Greer v. United States, and SCOTUS ultimately sided with the government. The government can review the case in it’s entirety when considering an error having been made, they do not have to focus only on the court records of the particular case in question.

As such, Gary is fucked.

Hear oral arguments or read about the case here.

https://www.oyez.org/cases/2020/20-444