D.C.’s Highest Court Allows Second Amendment Challenges to Long-Ago Convictions for Violating D.C. Handgun Ban

Magnus v. U.S., decided today by the D.C. Court of Appeals — essentially the D.C. equivalent of a state supreme court — concludes that a defendant who pled guilty in 1996 to violating D.C. handgun ban can now have that plea set aside given D.C. v. Heller, assuming his conduct was indeed protected by the Second Amendment (and didn’t, for instance, involve the possession of a gun to facilitate an illegal drug transaction). “A conviction for conduct that is not criminal, but is instead constitutionally protected, is the ultimate miscarriage of justice,” and a defendant can therefore ask to have it set aside (via a petition for coram nobis relief) even many years later.

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