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Univ. of San Diego School of Law

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Tuesday, April 26, 2005

SCOTUS Decides Two Crim Cases Today

From BNA U.S. Law Week: 

The U.S. Supreme Court April 26 decided two cases related to the criminal justice system, both involving the interplay between domestic and foreign laws.

In Small v. United States, No. 03-750, the court held that the federal statute that forbids possession of a firearm by a person "convicted in any court" of a crime punishable by more than a year in prison, 18 U.S.C. §922(g)(1),  applies only to domestic, not foreign, prior convictions. The court said nothing in the statutory language indicates that Congress enacted the legislation with anything other than domestic concerns in mind, and it pointed out that foreign laws may criminalize conduct that domestic laws would allow.

In Pasquantino v. United States, No. 03-725, the court decided that  a scheme to defraud a foreign government of tax revenue through the use of domestic interstate wires violates the federal wire fraud statute, 18 U.S.C.  §1343. It said that applying the wire fraud statute to punish such acts does not violate the common-law revenue rule, because it is not a suit that aims to recover a foreign tax liability but a criminal prosecution intended to punish domestic criminal conduct.

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