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Murder Conviction of Defendant With IQ of 60 Upheld, Plus Firearm Possession Charge

By FindLaw Staff on July 14, 2010 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

US v. Skoien, 08-3770, concerned a challenge to a conviction of defendant for possessing firearms while on probation for his second misdemeanor conviction for domestic violence.  In affirming the conviction, the court held that defendant's claim that section 922(g)(9) violates the Constitution's Second Amendment is rejected as a disqualification-on-conviction statute such as section 922(g)(9) is generally proper.

Collins v. Gaetz, 09-2212, concerned a challenge to the district court's denial of defendant's request for habeas relief from a conviction for first-degree murder of his girlfriend.  In affirming, the court held that the state's court's finding that defendant validly waived his Miranda rights was not contrary to or unreasonable application of federal law.  The court also held that the Supreme Court never held that police can render a waiver of Miranda rights involuntarily simply by failing to take "special care" that a suspect with a mental disability understands his rights.  Furthermore, although defendant produced significant evidence of his limited mental capacity at the time his gave his statement, state courts were not unreasonable in determining that defendant understood to the requisite degree both the Miranda warnings and the consequences of waiving his rights.

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