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Solomon v. United States

Court of Appeals of Columbia District

July 23, 2015

JAMAL RANDELL SOLOMON, APPELLANT,
v.
UNITED STATES, APPELLEE

Submitted March 31, 2015

Page 619

Appeal from the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. (CF2-16-13). (Hon. Ronna Lee Beck, Trial Judge).

Ian A. Williams was on the brief for appellant.

Ronald C. Machen Jr., United States Attorney at the time the brief was filed, and Elizabeth Trosman, Laura Coates, and Stratton C. Strand, Assistant United States Attorneys, were on the brief for appellee.

Before FISHER and BLACKBURNE-RIGSBY, Associate Judges, and KING, Senior Judge.

OPINION

Page 620

Fisher, Associate Judge :

The District's unlawful possession of a firearm (" UPF" ) statute prohibits any person who has been convicted of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year from possessing a firearm. D.C. Code § 22-4503 (a)(1) (2012 Repl.). A recent amendment to the Youth Rehabilitation Amendment Act of 1985 (" Youth Act" ) extended this prohibition to persons whose convictions have been set aside under the Youth Act. D.C. Code § 24-906 (f)(8) (2012 Repl.). After this amendment took effect, Jamal Solomon was arrested for and convicted of UPF; his prior conviction for unauthorized use of a vehicle (" UUV" ), D.C. Code § 22-3215 (b), (d) (2001), which had been set aside pursuant to the Youth Act, served as the predicate felony. Because his UUV conviction had been set aside before § 24-906 (f)(8) was enacted, Solomon contends that, as applied to him, the provision violates the Ex Post Facto Clause of the Constitution. See U.S. Const. art. I, § 9, cl. 3. We affirm.

I. Factual and Procedural History

On January 3, 2008, Solomon pled guilty to one count of UUV. Under the Youth Act, the trial court sentenced him to a term of imprisonment but suspended execution of that sentence, placing him on supervised probation. After finding that Solomon had successfully completed the conditions of his probation, on July 16, 2009, the court ordered that he " be unconditionally discharged from the imposed sentence" and set aside his conviction.

In 2011, the Council of the District of Columbia amended the Youth Act, expressly permitting a set-aside conviction to serve as a predicate crime for UPF. D.C. Code § 24-906 (f)(8) ( " A conviction set aside under this section may be used . . . [i]n determining whether a person has been in possession of a firearm in violation of [the UPF statute]." ). After his arrest on January 1, 2013, Solomon was charged with firearm-related crimes, including one count of UPF. Solomon moved to dismiss the UPF charge on ex post facto grounds, but the trial court denied his motion. A jury trial ensued, and appellant was found guilty of UPF and possession of an unregistered firearm.

II. The Youth Act Amendment

Solomon contends that the 2011 amendment to the Youth Act retroactively: (1) redefined his past " legally innocent" conduct--his set aside UUV conviction--as an element of a crime, (2) reinstated his exposure to punishment for his UUV conviction, and (3) transformed the UUV conviction from an event with no evidentiary value to proof of an element of a crime. " We review this constitutional law question de novo." Jones v. ...


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