Firearm Follies

The question then is whether the Michigan Legislature can constitutionally provide that a felon who possesses a firearm shall be convicted of and punished for violating two criminal statutes: felon in possession of a firearm, and possession of a firearm while being a felon in possession of a firearm.

White v. Howes, ___ F.3d ___, No. 08-1458, at 8 (6th Cir. Nov. 20, 2009) (pdf, 14 pages). The answer, says the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, is yes.

Unlike so many other recently decided firearms cases, White has nothing to do with the Second Amendment. This one’s a Fifth Amendment Double Jeopardy Clause case, and it’s an especially lovely example of how Byzantine double jeopardy analysis can get.

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