United States v. Moore, No. 10-4474

Decided: January 25, 2012

George Lamont Moore was arrested and charged as a felon in possession of a firearm under 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1) and as an armed career criminal under the Armed Career Criminal Act (“ACCA”), 18 U.S.C. § 924(e). Although Moore was found indigent and qualified for a court-appointed attorney under 18 U.S.C. § 3006A, the court nonetheless ordered Moore to reimburse the United States for the court-appointed attorneys’ fees at a rate of $50 per month beginning sixty days after his release from prison. This order was based on the probation office’s recommendation that, because Moore had a GED and some trade skills, he would be able to pay the $50 per month after his release. Moore appealed both the imposition of the attorneys’ fee reimbursement and the underlying conviction. The Fourth Circuit held, in line with all other courts to consider the issue, that § 922(g)(1) is constitutional under the Second Amendment both on its face and as-applied; however, the court did not foreclose the possibility that a case might exist in which an as-applied Second Amendment challenge to § 922(g)(1) could succeed. The Fourth Circuit vacated and remanded the attorney fee reimbursement, finding that the mere fact of a GED and some trade skills was insufficient to show that Moore would be able to pay the $50 a month after release. Furthermore, the district court’s finding that Moore did not have the ability to pay a fine or interest weighed heavily in the Fourth Circuit’s decision to vacate.

Full Opinion

-Sara I. Salehi

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