/* ------------------- begin IP Block script ------------------- Block IP address script Points to php script on blog.racetotheright.com IP addresses are within the script ---------- */ /* -------------------- end IP Block script ------------------- */

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Does "any" mean "any" or just some of "any"?

--posted by Tony Garcia on 4/26/2005

The case seems pretty simple. In 1994 Gary Small was convicted in a Japanese court for trying to smuggle guns and ammo into Japan. He was sentenced to 5 years.

Upon his release he came back to the U.S. and was charged for "unlawful gun possession". The law that he was charged under states that it is "unlawful for any person … who has been convicted in any court, of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year … to … possess … any firearm."

So, does the Japanese court & conviction count? What do you think?

If you agree with Breyer, Stevens, O'Connor, Souter and Ginsburg then you think that the Japanese court does not count and that "any court" is not to be read in plain English.

If you agree with Thomas, Scalia and Kennedy then you think the when the law says "any court" it means ANY court.

I actually was swayed by Thomas' dissent (the first time that Thomas has changed my mind). "The context of §922(g)(1), however, suggests that there is no geographic limit on the scope of "any court."...Congress’ explicit use of “Federal” and “State” in other provisions shows that it specifies such restrictions when it wants to do so."

When you're right, you're right. And if we do not like the result of the law we must change the law, not create meanings through the Courts.

To quote Abraham Lincoln: The best way to get rid of a bad law is to enforce it strictly.

If you do not like that foreign court convictions count in the American criminal justice system then such an exclusion must be included in the laws.

Today's decision altered the law's text from reading "any" to "a subset of any" and "the Court distorts the plain meaning of the statute and departs from established principles of statutory construction." (Thomas' dissent)


Post a Comment

<< Home