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Mintz Submits Amicus Brief to United States Supreme Court in United States vs. Castleman

Supreme Court Decision Affirms Position of National Network to End Domestic Violence on Possession of Firearms

Attorneys from Mintz, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C. submitted an amicus brief to the United States Supreme Court in United States v. Castleman on behalf of the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV), the Domestic Violence Legal Empowerment and Appeals Project, Legal Momentum, and local domestic-violence coalitions in more than forty states.

In its March 26 decision in United States v. Castleman, the Supreme Court strengthened a law which prohibits individuals convicted of domestic violence from possessing a firearm. The ruling reversed the Sixth Circuit’s interpretation that “a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence” only applies to a misdemeanor that has, as an element, the use, or attempted use of “physical force” that is “violent” or “strong” in nature. The Supreme Court held that a misdemeanor conviction under a statute that prohibits "offensive touching" or causing "bodily injury" qualifies as a "misdemeanor crime of domestic violence" under Section 922(g)(9).

In the majority opinion, Justice Sonia Sotomayor cited NNEDV’s amicus brief several times and adopted all of the arguments advanced in the brief. Additionally, Justice Antonin Scalia acknowledged that the majority had based its definition of “domestic violence” on the one propounded in NNEDV’s brief.

“We are thrilled with the Supreme Court’s decision,” said Susan M. Finegan, a Member of Mintz’s Litigation Section and Chair of the firm’s Pro Bono Committee. “It is an honor that our amicus brief on behalf of victims of domestic violence had such an impact on the outcome of this important case.”

The amicus brief was authored by Helen Gerostathos Guyton, Andrew N. Nathanson, and Kimberly A. Parr, attorneys in Mintz’s Litigation Section.