United States v. Liles – Case Brief Summary (Federal Court)

United States v. Liles, 432 F.2d 18 (9th Cir. 1970), the defendant was convicted of a felony in February 1969. Id. at 19. While his appeal was pending, he was released on his own recognizance. Id.

In the Fall of 1969, Liles was charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1202(a), for which he was convicted on February 26, 1970. Id.

However, one day before he was convicted under § 1202(a), his February 1969 conviction was reversed; the § 1202(a) charge was based on that conviction. Id.

On appeal as to the § 1202(a) conviction, Liles argued that "Congress intended to punish possession of firearms only by those whose convictions were eventually sustained at the end of the appellate process." Id. at 20.

Given that the underlying 1969 conviction was reversed, Liles argued that his § 1202(a) conviction could not stand. Id.

The court rejected that argument. Id. Noting that "Congress' deep concern about the easy availability of firearms" led it to prohibit possession by "those who Congress had reason to believe pose a greater threat to community peace than does the public generally," id. , the court concluded that Congress had no intention to exempt from the statute "one whose status as a convicted felon changed after the date of possession, regardless of how that change of status occurred." Id.