Friday, May 24, 2013

Court Rules PC 242 Does Not Trigger Firearms Ban, Reistates Peace Officer

In Shirey v. Los Angeles County Civil Service Commission (May 6, 2013)--- Cal.Rptr.3d ---- the Court of Appeal ruled a conviction under California Penal Code section 242 does not trigger a firearms ban under the Federal Gun Control Act.

Deputy Sheriff Mark Shirey was found guilty of a simple battery in violation of Penal Code section 242, a misdemeanor. Because the subject of the crime was his live-in girlfriend, the crime was considered domestic abuse. As a result, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department fired Shirey.

Title 18 of US code § 922(g)(9), the Federal Gun Control Act prohibited possession firearms if convicted of misdemeanor battery upon a domestic partner. The Department claimed that Shirey’s conviction disqualified him from continued employment as a deputy sheriff because the federal law prohibited him from carrying a firearm. Shirey appealed the decision.

The court sided with Shirey and found that a conviction under section 242 does not qualify as a predicate misdemeanor crime of battery upon a domestic partner. The court reasoned that section 242 requires use or attempted use of any amounted force which includes merely touching, whereas the federal statute requires “a quantum of force greater than a de minimus use of force or offensive touching.” Therefore, the Court granted Shirley's petition.