Wednesday, August 25, 2021

US v. Bartley, No. 20-30034 (8-20-21)(Tashima w/Boggs & Berzon). Can a “Son of God” pack a pistol?  The 9th says “No” under 922(g)(4), which prohibits a person found to be mentally defective or committed to a mental institution from possessing a firearm. In 2011, on a DUI charge, the defendant had been found incompetent.  Diagnosed with schizophrenia, he was restored and released. He then pled to the DUI. In the present proceeding, he was charged with possessing a firearm. He had been acting strangely, shouting, and pointed a gun at a witness. On appeal, he argued the 2011 state competency proceeding did not possess sufficient due process protections; the competency determination was not an adjudication or commitment as it did not require both mental defect and dangerousness; and the statute violates his Second Amendment rights. The 9th rejects the arguments. The state proceeding had sufficient due process protections.  For the second argument, the statute is plain as to a finding of “mental defect” or mental institution. The restoration at a state hospital also fits a mental institution. The 9th rejects the Second Amendment argument as the prohibition falls within a lawful regulatory scheme. It is not unconstitutionally burdensome.

Theodore Blank, AFPD, FPD Services of Idaho, fought hard for the defendant.

The decision is here:


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