Tuesday, May 19, 2009

U.S. v. Maness (9th Cir. - May 19, 2009)

You reside -- and are hanging out -- in Wasilla, Alaska. There are less than 6000 of you in the town. It's June 2001, so your mayor is Sarah Palin: someone as yet largely unknown to the rest of the universe. Perhaps you voted for her, perhaps you didn't. There's just one thing for certain: You're nutty. So nutty, in fact, that your wife rats out out, and Alaska state troopers come to your house to involuntarily commit you to a psychiatric institution.

But this is Alaska, for Christ's sake. Wasilla, Alaska at that. You're having none of it. So you flee from the troopers and, when they eventually catch up with you, point a handgun at one of the officers, who promptly wings you in the shoulder. Could be a lot worse.

But you're facing, inter alia, a federal charge of illegally possessing firearms, including a MAK-90. Even Alaska ain't the home of the entirely free in that regard. You're then sentenced to ten years, and you appeal, getting a limited sentencing remand.

At which point you want to represent yourself. 'Cause you've done so wonderfully in your regular life on your own. The district court says: Nope. And the Ninth Circuit affirms.

Just another day in Wasilla.