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SMALL v. UNITED STATES, 544 U.S. ---

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SMALL v. UNITED STATES

CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE THIRD CIRCUIT

No. 03-750.Argued November 3, 2004--Decided April 26, 2005

Petitioner Small was convicted in a Japanese Court of trying to smuggle firearms and ammunition into that country. He served five years in prison and then returned to the United States, where he bought a gun. Federal authorities subsequently charged Small under 18 U. S. C. §922(g)(1), which forbids "any person ... convicted in any court ... of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year ... to ... possess ... any firearm." (Emphasis added.) Small pleaded guilty while reserving the right to challenge his conviction on the ground that his earlier conviction, being foreign, fell outside §922(g)(1)'s scope. The Federal District Court and the Third Circuit rejected this argument.

Held: Section 922(g)(1)'s phrase "convicted in any court" encompasses only domestic, not foreign, convictions. Pp. 2-9.


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