Clinic Students Submit Amicus Brief for Supreme Court Domestic Violence Case

12/12/2013 | Facebook|Twitter|Email

Mary Armistead '14 and Jamie Dughi '15

After drafting and successfully filing a brief amicus curiae for the U.S. Supreme Court case United States v. Castleman, Mary Armistead '14 and Jamie Dughi '15 have been invited by the Supreme Court Marshal’s Office to travel to Washington, D.C., to observe oral arguments on Jan. 15, 2014.

With the assistance of Professor Sarah Rogerson and Professor Ray Brescia, the two students completed the brief on behalf of the New York State Association of Chiefs of Police through their work as student interns in the Family Violence Litigation Clinic and Immigration Project. Their work presents a public safety argument for restricting abusers’ access to firearms by highlighting the connection between domestic violence, firearms and police officer safety.

At issue in United States v. Castleman is whether or not the respondent’s conviction in Tennessee for misdemeanor domestic assault by intentionally or knowingly causing bodily injury to the mother of his child qualifies as a conviction for a “misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.” The case has significant implications for federal gun restrictions for abusers convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence. It also impacts hiring standards for police chiefs, who currently have the discretion to exclude convicted applicants from the force.

Professor Rogerson and Professor Brescia served as counsel of record and collaborated with the students on the brief, providing in-depth feedback on the drafts and coordinating the logistics and procedural details.