In an earlier post pertaining to a federal criminal statute, we discussed the efforts made by lawyers on both sides of a federal criminal case to convince the Supreme Court to take up the issue of precisely what the Government must prove in cases prosecuted under the federal aggravated identity fraud statute. Fortunately, earlier this week, the Court agreed to take up the case.
As we previously discussed, currently, a split in the circuits exists on the manner in which the term "knowingly" has been interpreted under the federal aggravated identity theft statute. In some circuits, the Government is required to prove that the defendant is aware that the "means of identification" at issue actually belonged to another person. In other circuits, however, the Government is not required to make such a showing.
In the Eleventh Circuit (the Court that hears criminal appeals from Georgia, Florida, and Alabama), the Government is not required to make the higher showing. For this reason, we are pleased that the Court has agreed to take the case and resolve an issue that impacts those facing this type of federal criminal charge.