United States v. McDonnell

Brief of Amicus Curiae National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers in Support of Appellant and Urging Reversal.

Brief filed: 03/06/2015


United States v. McDonnell

4th Circuit Court of Appeals; Case No. 15-4019

Prior Decision

On appeal from the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Hon. James R. Spencer, case below No. 3:14-CR-12 (E.D. Va. 2014).


The District Court’s “Official Act” instruction improperly altered the federal-state balance without a clear statement from Congress. Ambiguous criminal provisions must be interpreted strictly against the government.

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John D. Cline, Law Office of John D. Cline, San Francisco, CA; David B. Smith, Smith & Zimmerman, PLLC, Alexandria, VA.