July 15th, 2020
US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit Opinions
United States v. Brandon
Opinion Date: July 14, 2020
Judge: Stephen Andrew Higginson
Areas of Law: Criminal Law
After defendant pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm, the Supreme Court decided Rehaif v. United States, which established for the first time that the government must prove that the person charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm "knew he had the relevant status when he possessed" the firearm. The Fifth Circuit affirmed and held that the district court's error in accepting defendant's guilty plea did not affect his substantial rights. In this case, defendant's state court documents, and especially his behavior at the time of his arrest, established that defendant had knowledge of his status as a convicted felon when he possessed the firearm. Therefore, the court concluded that there is no reasonable probability that defendant would have refused to enter the plea absent the district court's error.
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