United States District Court, D. Idaho
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER
Lynn Winmill Chief Judge.
before the Court is Defendant Jacob Edward Allen’s
Motion to Dismiss the Indictment (Dkt. 22). Allen contends
that the charges brought against him under 18 U.S.C. §
922(g)(4), for illegal possession of a firearm, are
unconstitutional as applied in this case. For the reasons
explained below, this Court will deny the motion.
is a thirty-six year-old Idaho citizen, born and raised in
Valley County, Idaho. Allen has struggled with episodes of
mental illness and has been involuntarily committed for
psychiatric care on multiple occasions. The charges brought
against him stem from his alleged possession of a firearm
after having been involuntarily committed to a mental
parents and sister submitted an application to have Allen
committed for involuntary mental health treatment on April
29, 2011, see Apr. 29, 2011 Application, Gvt. Ex. 1,
Dkt. 30-1, although the record does not indicate the ultimate
outcome of that proceeding. See Def’s Br. at
2, n.1, Dkt. 22. Allen’s family submitted another
application for involuntary commitment in March 2013, but
that application was subsequently dismissed. See id., Ex.
B thereto. A third application was submitted on June 19,
2013, that the defendant, with the assistance of legal
counsel, ultimately stipulated to. See Order of
Commitment-Jun. 19, 2013, Dkt. 22-4.
June 2013 commitment was brought pursuant to Idaho Code
§ 66-329 after a finding that the “patient is
mentally ill and is in need of supervision, treatment, care
and restraint” as well as that “due to such
mental illness, the patient is likely to injure self and/or
others and/or is gravely disabled.” Id. The
court classified Allen’s mental illness as
schizophrenia, which was diagnosed after Allen experienced
“religious delusions” that caused him to hike
into the wilderness for several days “without adequate
clothing, food or water.” Certificate of Designated
Examiner-Jun. 19, 2013, at 2, Dkt. 22-2. The report also
stated that Allen “denies that he has a mental illness
and has not been taking his medication as prescribed.”
Id. After receiving care, Allen’s commitment
was terminated on July 18, 2013, after an Idaho Department of
Health and Welfare examiner found that “the conditions
justifying commitment no longer exist as defined in Section
66-317, Idaho Code.” Termination of Commitment-Jul.
18, 2013, Dkt. 22-6.
was committed again on July 20, 2015, after suffering another
schizophrenic episode. Order of Commitment-Jul. 20,
2015, Dkt. 22-7. The defendant was again represented by
legal counsel. Id. The court found this time that
Allen’s mental illness required commitment because
“the patient is likely to injure others.”
Id. However, Allen’s commitment was again
terminated on July 28, 2015, based on a finding that the
“conditions justifying commitment no longer exist . . .
.” Termination of Commitment-Jul. 28, 2015,
September 8, 2015, staff at the Cascade Medical Center asked
Valley County Sheriff’s deputies to locate Mr. Allen
and place him on a mental hold after he missed a scheduled
psychiatric appointment. Sheriff’s Incident
Summary, at 2, Dkt. 22-9. The caller also stated that
Allen “was not taking his medications and threatening
his family.” Id. Deputies received reports
from at least two individuals who confirmed that Allen had
been acting strangely and had made threats to harm them.
Id. One witness reported that Allen had a .22 rifle
and a muzzleloader rifle in his vehicle and had made a veiled
threat against him. See Sheriff’s Office
Report, Dkt 30-3.
that day, deputies located Allen’s truck and camper
trailer parked near a roadway with the driver’s door of
the truck open. Sheriff’s Incident Summary, at
3, Dkt. 22-9. Deputies found a bolt action .22 rifle in
Allen’s vehicle. Id. at 3-4. Deputies
thereafter placed Allen in custody.
once again stipulated to involuntary commitment on September
14, 2015, while being represented by counsel. Order of
Commitment-Sept. 14, 2015, Dkt. 22-10. In addition to
the involuntary mental commitment, a grand jury returned an
indictment charging Allen with one count of knowingly
possessing a .22 caliber rifle, after having been adjudicated
a mental defective or committed to a mental institution.
Indictment, Dkt. 1. The charge was brought under 18
U.S.C. § 922(g)(4).
challenges the constitutionality of 18 U.S.C. §
922(g)(4), as applied to him, in three respects. First, he
contends that the statute impermissibly restricts his Second
Amendment right to possess weapons. Second, he says that the
statute violates the Due Process Clause of the Fifth
Amendment because it subjects him to criminal liability for
otherwise “innocent” conduct without notice.
Third, Allen contends that the statute violates the
Fourteenth Amendment Equal Protection clause because it
“irrationally discriminates between those committed
federally and those committed through state
proceedings.” Def’s Br. at 4, Dkt. 22-1.
analyzing a citizen’s challenge under the Second
Amendment, the Ninth Circuit has adopted a two-step inquiry
in which this Court first must determine whether the
challenged law burdens conduct protected by the Second
Amendment and, if, so, “apply an appropriate level ...