In a recent ruling, the US 9th Circuit Court of Appeals found that the City of Los Angeles properly prosecuted a defendant for a weapons violation. The plaintiff in the case worked as a security guard. While employed, a court convicted him on a misdemeanor domestic violence charge.
The California Penal Code prohibits persons convicted of domestic violence from owning, purchasing or possessing a firearm for a period of 10 years. Because of the nature of his work, the court permitted the guard to carry a weapon while on duty only. Because he successfully completed the other terms of his sentence, the court later vacated the man’s conviction.
Following that, the plaintiff purchased two handguns. Two officers from the state’s Bureau of Firearms went to the plaintiff’s home to confiscate the weapons, due to the plaintiff’s prior domestic abuse conviction. The plaintiff refused to relinquish the weapons, so the BOF officers arrested the man and seized the guns.
The city filed charges against the guard, citing the conviction and the state’s 10-year ban on gun ownership. They later dropped the charges against the guard, but he filed a lawsuit against the ban, and also claimed false imprisonment and malicious prosecution. The trial court found in favor of the city and the plaintiff appealed to the 9th Circuit Court.
Earlier this month, the Court of Appeals upheld the constitutionality of the 10-year ban on gun ownership following a domestic abuse conviction. Previously, the Court had upheld a lifetime ban on gun ownership for similarly convicted defendants. In its opinion, the Court indicated that while the man’s conviction was vacated following the successful completion of the other terms of the sentence, the 10-year ban on gun ownership was not vacated. The plaintiff was mistaken in his belief that the prohibition on gun ownership was also lifted when the conviction was vacated.
Los Angeles domestic violence attorney
Even after the Court vacated the man’s conviction, certain elements of domestic violence law still apply. This case shows how complex domestic abuse cases are, and how far-reaching their consequences can be. It also explains why you need an experienced domestic violence attorney when you’ve been accused of spousal abuse or some type of domestic assault.
Robert Helfend is a Los Angeles domestic violence attorney with more than 30 years of trial experience in Los Angeles County and throughout Southern California. Don’t rely on an inexperienced defense attorney when you freedom and your rights are at stake.
Contact Robert Helfend or call toll-free at (800) 834-6434, (310) 456-3317, (818) 591-2809 or (805) 273-5611 for an immediate consultation on your Los Angeles County domestic violence case.
Photo Credit: Susan Catherine Webber, via Flickr.com