United States v. Burwell

Amicus curiae brief of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers in support of appellant.

Brief filed: 11/15/2011


United States v. Burwell

District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals; Case No. 06-3070

Prior Decision

642 F.3d 1062 vacated 10/12/11


United States v. Harris, 959 F.2d 246 (D.C. Cir. 1992) is no longer good law in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in United States v. O’Brien, 130 S.Ct. 2169 (2010), which held that the “machinegun” provision of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1)(B)(ii) is not a “sentencing enhancement” but an element of the offense of “using or carrying” a machinegun in connection with a crime of violence; although Sec. 924 is silent as to whether knowledge that the firearm is capable of fully-automatic fire is a prerequisite for conviction under the statute, the court must presume mens rea is required where a statutory provision triggers a 30-year mandatory minimum sentence

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Paul F. Enzinna and Evan N. Turgeon, Brown Rudnick LLP, Washington, DC.