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Borden v. United States
Brief for National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers as Amicus Curiae in Support of Petitioner.
Argument: If this Court were to hold that an offense with a mens rea of recklessness qualifies as a “violent felony” under the Armed Career Criminal Act (“ACCA”), 18 U.S.C. § 924(e), it would expand the reach of ACCA’s severe sentencing consequences to defendants whose predicate offenses bear little, if any, resemblance to the knowing and purposeful acts of violence Congress intended to target. Such a broad application of ACCA is wrong as a matter of law, and it would result in unjust and disproportionate sentences for defendants nationwide. ACCA’s force clause does not reach reckless offenses. The text of ACCA’s force clause, like the clause at issue in Leocal and unlike the clause in Voisine, does not cover reckless offenses. Excluding reckless offenses comports with ACCA’s purpose, in contrast to the gun-control provision in Voisine. ACCA should not apply to reckless offenses absent a clear indication from congress. The court has at least as much reason to apply lenity here as it did in Leocal. Application of the rule of lenity here would avoid the pernicious effects of a broad reading of ACCA.
United States v. Pierucci (Hoskins)
Brief of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers as Amicus Curiae in Support of Appellee.
Argument: The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) applies to “an officer, director, employee, or agent” of a domestic concern or issuer. The Government argues that “agent” means a common-law agent, but that reading of the statute is entirely at odds with both the FCPA’s plain text and the Act’s legislative history. Congress intended for “agent” to mean a specific type of individual: a foreign intermediary used to pay bribes. If “agent” meant “common-law agent,” as the Government says, there would have been no need for Congress to specify “officer” or “employee”—both are “common-law agents.” The legislative history also demonstrates that Congress had bribe-paying foreign “consultants” or “intermediaries” in mind when it crafted the FCPA to cover “agents.” Reading the word “agent” broadly would raise serious concerns about extraterritorial application that Congress specifically sought to avoid. Such a reading would also run afoul of well-established principles of lenity.
Myers v. Schneiderman
Brief for Amicus Curiae National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers in Support of Plaintiffs-Appellants.
Argument: The lower courts erred by considering only the dictionary definition of the word ‘suicide’ and ignoring other important rules of statutory construction. The Appellate Division failed to consider whether its interpretation of the statute was consistent with legislative intent. The appellate division failed to construe the statute in accordance with the rule of lenity. In the alternative, the Appellate Division’s interpretation should be rejected because the assisted suicide statute, as applied to physician appellants, would be unconstitutionally vague.