Here Comes the Judge

I will be in Washington D.C. for the first part of this week to see a case argued in front of the US Supreme Court.

My dad, who works for New Mexico’s Federal Public Defender’s Office, wrote an appeal to the court last year in a case involving a man who was pulled over on a Native American reservation and cited for DWI. The man had previous DWI convictions and, when they pulled him over, police found a gun in his car. Under federal law, persons with previous violent felony convictions who are found in possession of a firearm receive two to three times more jail time than they would otherwise get.

My father’s client received a much greater sentence than he would have if police hadn’t found his gun. The Federal Public Defender’s stance is that DWI is a crime of gross negligence, but not one with violent intent and, therefore, the violent offender law should not apply to the defendant. The Supreme Court will hear the case this Tuesday, Jan. 15. I’ll blog about the hearing when I return.