United States v. Medley, No. 18-4789 (4th Cir. 2020)Annotate this Case
Defendant was convicted of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and sentenced to 78 months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release. After defendant appealed his conviction and sentence, the Supreme Court issued Rehaif v. United States, 139 S. Ct. 2191 (2019). Defendant then filed a supplemental brief raising further constitutional challenges, arguing that Rehaif invalidated his indictment and conviction.
The Fourth Circuit applied plain error review and held that the asserted Rehaif errors violated defendant's substantial rights. The court stated that sustaining defendant's conviction under the present circumstances would deprive defendant of several constitutional protections, prohibit him from ever mounting a defense to the knowledge-of-status element, require inappropriate appellate factfinding, and do serious harm to the judicial process. Therefore, the court exercised its discretion to notice the errors and vacated defendant's conviction, remanding for further proceedings.