The US Supreme Court heard two oral arguments Wednesday morning.
At issue in the first case, United States v. Davis, is whether the term “crime of violence” is unconstitutionally vague in 18 USC § 924(c)(3)(B). This statute deals specifically with the possession of firearms by the defendant during this type of crime. The two respondents were previously convicted under this statute. Their convictions were overturned on appeal. The petitioner, on behalf of the US, argued that the court should use a circumstance-specific approach when interpreting the phrase “crime of violence.” This approach, the petitioner argued, differentiated this statute from other statues that had been found unconstitutionally vague. The respondent’s attorney argued that Congress needed to “speak more clearly about what was prohibited.” He further argued that the courts had previously overruled statutes with similar language.
At issue in McDonough v. Smith is when the statute of limitations begins for a due process case brought because the government fabricated evidence in a criminal proceeding. The petitioner had his due process claims dismissed because the Court of Appeals said the statute of limitations expired. The petitioner argued that the statute of limitations should be the same as it was at the common law offense of malicious prosecution, which was termination of the proceedings in favor of the defendant. The respondent argued that the statute of limitations begins when the defendant had notice of the evidence.