Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals - Published Opinions

Monday, October 28, 2019

Reed: Upholding Felon in Possession Conviction After Rehaif on Plain Error Review

In United States v. Reed, No. 17-12699 (Oct. 28, 2019) (William Pryor, Newsom, Julie Carnes), the Court—without oral argument—upheld the defendant's felon in possession conviction in the face of a Rehaif challenge on remand from the Supreme Court.

Reviewing for plain error, the Court acknowledged that there were plain errors at the defendant's trial in light of Rehaif.  Specifically, the indictment did not allege, the jury was not instructed, and the government was not required to prove that the defendant knew he was a felon at the time he possessed a firearm.  However, the Court found that these plain errors did not affect the defendant's substantial rights or the fairness/integrity of the proceeding, because the entire record established that he knew he was a felon.  The Court considered a felon stipulation at trial, trial testimony by the defendant that he knew he was not allowed to possess a firearm, and undisputed PSI facts to being incarcerated for long periods of time, including one stretch of 18 years.