U.S. Supreme Court to hear lawsuit filed by UVA Law clinic regarding challenged convictions
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- The U.S. Supreme Court will be hearing a case that could have major implications for defendants who challenge their convictions for crimes that are no longer considered crimes.
According to a release, this lawsuit was filed by the University of Virginia School of Law’s Supreme Court Litigation Clinic.
On Monday, the court agreed to hear the case, Jones v. Hendrix, which began when Marcus DeAngelo Jones asked to have his 2000 conviction for being a felon in possession of a firearm vacated.
The release says a federal court did vacate one of the two convictions against Jones because it was duplicative, but he was resentenced to prison.
Jones later filed a petition to get a second chance to show that his imprisonment was illegal, citing the 2019 Rehaif v. U.S. decision from the Supreme Court.
In that case, it was determined the prosecution has to prove that the accused knew they were in possession of a gun and that they knew they were prohibited from doing so.
That petition was denied, but Jones’ attorney, Jeremy Lowrey, argued that relief should be available after the Supreme Court issues a retroactively applicable decision, like Rehaif.
The UVA clinic was brought into the case by the conflict among the appeals courts about the availability of relief in situations like this and the "injustice" of a challenge to a conviction not being allowed when the Supreme Court later declares that what a person was convicted for was not a crime.
“The case would let criminal defendants who are incarcerated for conduct the lower courts at one time wrongly thought a statute made a crime, but the Supreme Court later held did not, to challenge their convictions,” said Daniel Ortiz, the director of the Supreme Court Litigation Clinic. “Even when defendants did not make that claim during the one postconviction challenge the law permits them.”
In the United States, eight circuits have supported relief when a substantive change is made in a law that is then retroactively applicable, but three circuits have also opposed it.
The release says individual circuit judges have since called for the high court’s speedy intervention.
The case is expected to be argued in either the late fall or winter.