United States v. Pauler, No. 16-3070 (10th Cir. 2017)Annotate this Case
Defendant Alexander Pauler was convicted of possessing a firearm after having previously been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence. The district court denied Defendant’s motion to dismiss the indictment for failure to state an offense, holding that Defendant violated the applicable statute because he possessed a firearm in 2014 after having been convicted in 2009 of violating a Wichita, Kansas municipal domestic battery ordinance by punching his girlfriend. The sole issue for the Tenth Circuit's review was whether a misdemeanor violation of a municipal ordinance qualified as a “misdemeanor under . . . State . . . law” when viewed in the context of a statutory scheme that clearly and consistently differentiated between state and local governments and between state statutes and municipal ordinances. Applying well-established principles of statutory interpretation, the Tenth Circuit held that it did not, and the Court accordingly reversed and remanded for the district court to vacate Defendant’s federal conviction.