UNITED STATES v. CASTLEMAN
In 2001, James Alvin Castleman was charged and pleaded guilty to one count of misdemeanor domestic assault under the relevant Tennessee statute, which dealt with knowingly or intentionally causing bodily harm to the mother of the defendant’s child. Seven years later, federal agents discovered that Castleman and his wife were buying firearms from dealers and selling them on the black market. Because Castleman’s domestic assault conviction prohibited him from purchasing firearms, Castleman’s wife bought the weapons in her own name. Castleman was indicted in federal district court and charged with two counts of possessing a firearm after being convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence. The district court dismissed the charges and held that Castleman’s misdemeanor domestic assault conviction under Tennessee law did not constitute the misdemeanor crime of domestic violence as required by the federal statute. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit affirmed.
Does Castleman’s conviction of misdemeanor domestic assault under Tennessee law constitute a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence under the relevant federal statute?