United States v. Hayes

Retroactive removal of your ability to be a police officer.


In 2004 officers from Marion County, West Virginia, responded to a domestic violence complaint at the home of Randy Edward Hayes. Consent to search yielded a rifle and that he had been in possession of several others in the past. In 2005 Hayes was indicted by a federal grand jury for possessing firearms after being convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence. The alleged offense having occurred in 1994 against his previous wife with whom he was living with. The charge was of a general battery - not specifying that it was a domestic violence charge.

Hayes moved for a dismissal on the indictment based upon his belief that the generic charge was not termed as a domestic charge. The US district court ruled against Hayes. Hayes entered a conditional plea. All the court had to prove was that the victim was related to the suspect be it spouse or other family member. The definition of misdemeanor crime of domestic violence

Contained in 921(a) (33) (A), is at issued in this case. Does that term cover a misdemeanor battery whenever the battered victim was in fact the offenders spouse (or other relation specified in 921(a) (33) (A)? Or, to trigger the possession ban, must the predicate misdemeanor identify as an element of the crime with a domestic relationship between aggressor and victim? We hold that the domestic relationship, although it must be established beyond a reasonable doubt in a 933(g)(9) firearms prosecution, need not be a defining element of the predicate offense.( UNITED STATES, Petitioner v. RANDY EDWARD HAYES, No. 07-608, SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES, 129 S. Ct. 1079; 172 L. Ed. 2d 816; 2009 U.S. LEXIS 1634; 21 Fla. L. Weekly Fed. S 643)

Based upon the Hayes case I would be subject to the seizure of all firearms in my possession. I could not serve as an armed law enforcement officer. The Hayes decision has placed new parameters on the Gun Control Act of 1968 and defined the intent of the Lautenburg amendment. It also closed a loop hole in the Gun Control Act of 1968.

Good practice for background investigators would be to delve fully into any misdemeanor that could possibly be a domestic violence related offense. Furthermore, any arrest of an officer for a domestic violence arrest should be investigated and the state certification agency notified to determine eligibility.



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