United States v. Fraser, No. 10-8049 (10th Cir. 2011)Annotate this Case
Defendant James Fraser was convicted of murder. He contended that the facts and circumstances surrounding the shooting would have demonstrated why he needed to possess a gun, even if it meant breaking federal law to do so. At trial, Defendant could not establish as a matter of law whether "necessity" could be raised as a defense to federal gun charges. The issue on appeal before the Tenth Circuit was whether the district court should have allowed Defendant to present evidence of the homicide as part of his defense against federal weapons charges. Upon review of the trial record and the briefs submitted by the parties, the Tenth Circuit concluded that the district court did not err in disallowing Defendant to present a "necessity" defense at trial. The evidence was sufficient to support Defendant's conviction. The Court affirmed the lower court's decision and Defendant's sentence.