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United States v. Vinson

United States Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit

November 3, 2015

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff - Appellant,
v.
RODNEY MARSHALL VINSON, Defendant - Appellee

Argued January 27, 2015.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina, at Raleigh. (5:13-cr-00121-FL-1). Louise W. Flanagan, District Judge.

Barbara Dickerson Kocher, OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY, Raleigh, North Carolina, for Appellant. Robert Earl Waters, OFFICE OF THE FEDERAL PUBLIC DEFENDER, Raleigh, North Carolina, for Appellee.

Thomas G. Walker, United States Attorney, Jennifer P. May-Parker, Assistant United States Attorney, OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY, Raleigh, North Carolina, for Appellant. Thomas P. McNamara, Federal Public Defender, OFFICE OF THE FEDERAL PUBLIC DEFENDER, Raleigh, North Carolina, for Appellee.

Before TRAXLER, Chief Judge, and GREGORY and AGEE, Circuit Judges. Chief Judge Traxler wrote the opinion in which Judge Gregory and Judge Agee concur.

OPINION

Page 121

TRAXLER, Chief Judge:

Police officers dispatched to the residence of Rodney Marshall Vinson found a rifle and ammunition during a consensual search. After determining that Vinson had a prior North Carolina conviction amounting to a " misdemeanor crime of domestic violence," 18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(33)(A),

Page 122

the government charged Vinson with possession of a firearm by a prohibited person, see 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(9). The district court granted Vinson's motion to dismiss the indictment, concluding that Vinson was not a prohibited person because the state statute at issue did not, as a categorical matter, qualify as a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence. The government appeals.

In our previous opinion in this case, in which Judge Gregory dissented, we vacated the district court's order dismissing the indictment and remanded with instructions that the district court reinstate the indictment against Vinson. See United States v. Vinson, 794 F.3d 418 (4th Cir. 2015). Vinson thereafter filed a petition for rehearing in which he asserted a new basis for affirming the dismissal of the indictment. Upon consideration of the point raised in the petition for rehearing, we granted the petition and we now affirm the district court's order dismissing the indictment against Vinson.[1]

I.

A.

Section 922(g) prohibits the possession of firearms by various classes of persons, including those convicted of a " misdemeanor crime of domestic violence" (" MCDV" ). 18 U.S.C. ยง 922(g)(9). Subject to certain exceptions not ...


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