NACDL - United States v. Sineneng-Smith

United States v. Sineneng-Smith

Brief of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers as Amicus Curiae in Support of Evelyn Sineneng-Smith and Reversal of the Judgment Below.

Brief filed: 10/18/2017

Documents

United States v. Sineneng-Smith

9th Circuit Court of Appeals; Case No. 15-10614

Prior Decision

Decision below 2013 WL 6776188 (N.D. Calif. Dec. 23, 2013).

Argument

The statute of conviction is overbroad under the First Amendment, and a limiting construction should not be used to cure the First Amendment defect. The statute of conviction is overbroad, reaching a substantial amount of protected speech. Any limiting construction should not be used to cure the First Amendment defects, as doing so would invade the legislative domain. The statute of conviction is void for vagueness under the First Amendment, and a limiting construction should not be used to cure the constitutional vagueness problem. The Court should find that the statute of conviction contains an implicit “willful” or “knowing” mens rearequirement, but nevertheless should conclude that such a mens rea element would not cure the statute of its serious constitutional problems.

Author(s)

Elliott Schulder, Tina M. Thomas, and Nicole Y. Roberts, Covington & Burling LLP, Washington, DC; Robin E. Wechkin, Sidley Austin LLP, Seattle, WA.