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U.S. Supreme Court: The “Other” Gun Case

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For those who read Susan Nielsen’s column, The Other Gun Ruling, in the Sunday, July 06, 2008, Oregonian, and want to read the full case from the U.S. Supreme Court, the opinion is here, Giles v. California (docket number: 07-6053, decided June 25, 2008).

Excerpt from Nielson’s column:

The Supreme Court just ruled in favor of a man who shot and killed his ex-girlfriend. The conservative majority did so by relying heavily on case law from centuries ago, when domestic violence was considered more of a private hobby than a crime.

This is the problem with a court that favors “the framers” and “originalism” at the expense of modern case law or common sense. The trouble is, life wasn’t all that enlightened in early America.

Or, as Justice David Souter pointed out while trying to rein in his right-wing colleagues, “Today’s understanding of domestic abuse had no apparent significance at the time of the Framing.”

Here’s the case in a nutshell: In the fall of 2002, Los Angeles police responded to a 9-1-1 call. At the scene, a crying Brenda Avie told an officer than her ex-boyfriend, Dwayne Giles, had choked her, brandished a knife and threatened to kill her.

Three weeks later, Giles did kill her. He shot his unarmed ex-girlfriend six times, firing even after she had fallen to the ground and raised her hand to stop him. He claimed self-defense. The jury didn’t believe him. His lawyers then appealed the murder conviction all the way to the Supreme Court and won….” (read full article)

U.S. Supreme Court cases can be found free, online, in a number of places, including:

1) Cornell Legal Information Institute,

2) Justia Supreme Court Center,

3) LexisOne,

4) Findlaw (hmmm, you used to be able to find cases here, but now it’s filled with so much other stuff, I recommend you use one of the other sites if all you need is a U.S. Supreme Court case),

5) And, the U.S. Supreme Court case research resources listed at the U.S. Supreme Court’s official website, here and here.

Oh, and you can usually just toss the case name (e.g. marbury madison) into Google or other search engine of choice and get the case. But make sure the one you get is the actual case, not a summary or a parody.

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