Brett Stuff
Judging the Judges
Term Year: 2018

Hamid Mohamed Ahmed Ali Rehaif, Petitioner v. United States

Summary Analysis

DATE: 2019-06-21
DOCKET: 17-9560
NAME: Hamid Mohamed Ahmed Ali Rehaif, Petitioner v. United States

   AUTHOR: Breyer
   JOINING: Roberts, Ginsburg, Sotomayor, Kagan, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh
   GOOD: Yes

OPINION: Dissenting
   AUTHOR: Alito
   JOINING: Thomas
   GOOD: Yes

Case Commentary

I'm no lawyer. I think I must have said this a time or two before. But given my almost complete lack of knowledge about the law and almost complete disinterest in this case, it is hard for me to pick a side.

The Court is clearly correct in the reading of the law. I read the law as they do.

But the Dissent (after wasting a significant amount of time arguing the law doesn't say what it says) makes a most compelling case for why the law makes no sense as read, as the law requires those who are statutorily incapable of knowing (those with mental defects) to know.
'Yes. Yes. Fine. We all agree the defendant did that bad thing. But did he know what he was doing was prohibited?'

'Your Honour, my client doesn't even know what planet he is on. I think it's safe to say he did not have a clear idea of the laws that applied.'

Per The Court (and per my interpretation of their words) a man was convicted of shooting a gun at a firing range. I know. It's an atrocious offence. Previously in the day, he had been (or for all I know, may have been) seen walking and chewing gum at the same time. So clearly, we are talking about a dangerous individual... more so, because said individual (dangerous or not) was in the country illegally... and this made firing said weapon against the law... but only if he knew firing said weapon was against the law... before firing said weapon.

While according to the Dissent (and according to how I interpret the Dissent's Opinion), the man was a Proto-Terrorist playing at Reindeer Games. Um, if that's not clear, the individual would appear (to me, based on the story presented) to have been toying at the idea (which is to say, I have no idea as to the seriousness of his intent) of performing some random act of violence, possibly involving planes and guns. And part of his preparatory training regimen was spending time at a shooting range. And in fact, I am led to believe shooting guns (at a legal site, let us make that clear) was a common (if not daily occurrence) for this individual for close to two months... you know, when said individual should have been boarding an airplane and returning from whence he came.

Eh, it's hard to tease apart.

And the shooting for which Mr Potential Terrorist was preparing may well have been envisioned (by him) taking place thousands of miles away... in some war zone close to his homeland.

Whatever the case, the crime for which the man was convicted is the firing of guns at a commercial shooting range: an activity that hardly feels like a crime to me.

Anyhow, the statute includes the word 'knowingly'. And it is doubtful Mr Would Be Terrorist knew he was breaking the law when he went to the shooting range... even if he knew he was breaking other laws (by staying in the country illegally) or behaved like a hot headed jerk (call him a terrorist) in other ways.

And that's that.

I do not believe the crime, for which this young lad (who is having a hard time of it and just dropped out of college) has been charged, should be a crime.

But then, I do not believe Statutory Rape should be a crime... or at least, not as written.

According to the Dissent, if a twenty-year-old has sexual relations with a sixteen-year-old, they are facing upwards of fifteen years in prison... even if the twenty-year-old had no reason to believe the sixteen-year-old was sixteen... and in fact, had every reason to believe the sixteen-year-old was much older. Because in the case of Statutory Rape, knowing is not relevant. It's the age that counts, not one's belief regarding the age... no matter how well substantiated that belief may be.

It seems a bit abusive, because the twenty-year-old would have (or might not, I hardly know) received a lighter sentence had they simply gotten drunk and driven their car into a crowd of people.

Examples like this are always questionable, as I don't know what the drunk driver would be charged with or the penalty for that offence.

The point is that I am sure (very sure) that there are folks who have committed far more serious crimes than having sex with someone who they thought was older than it turns out they were and who have received far lighter sentences.

So, it may behove one to choose which laws they break very carefully... or you know, don't break any laws at all. But then (at 26,000 criminal offences and counting), good luck with that.

Hey! In other news, when a State Legalizes Marijuana, the Federal Crime is restricted to Federal Property.

Per the Dissent:
In a State that chooses to legalize marijuana, possession is wrongful only if the defendant is on federal property.

I will note there is a major confusion between 'wrongful' and 'illegal' in the above.

But beyond that, Smoke 'em if you got 'em.'

And F- The Feds!

Scienter: refers to the knowledge that a crime is a crime. The religious equivalent (I am sure) would be awareness of sin.

For the most, I am against the concept of Scienter, which is why I will give a pass to both sides of the argument (in my personal score keeping scheme).

Finally, the law in question is discriminatory in nature, listing off a bunch of different groups who cannot handle weapons, as it does.

All For One and One For All.

I mean, seriously (and there is more seriousness here than you have any idea), if the police need weapons to protect themselves from criminals, what makes you think criminals aren't justified in having weapons to protect themselves from the police?


Judging the Judges

Next Entry


When a Terrorist can't practice their craft, what has the world come to?

© copyright 2019 Brett Paufler
A Personal Opinion/Editorial