High Court to Hear Case on Appeal After Guilty Plea

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The Supreme Court today agreed to decide whether a defendant can challenge a law under which he pleaded guilty, reports ScotusBlog.com. The appeal was filed by Rodney Class, who admittedpossessing a gun illegally on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol. Despite his guilty plea, Class contended that the statute under which he was convicted “violates the Second Amendment” because he had a legally-owned firearm in a vehicle parked in a lot he did not realize was on the Capitol grounds.

Cross’ attorney contended that federal courts of appeals “are deeply split on the question of whether, by pleading guilty, a defendant inherently waives his right to challenge the constitutionality of his statute of conviction.” The Justice Department urged the Supreme Court not to hear the case, arguing that “the question whether a defendant who pleaded guilty unconditionally may himself raise a constitutional challenge to the statute of conviction through the particular mechanism of a direct appeal is … of limited practical importance.”

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