Justices Take Up Appeal by Man With Gun at Capitol

(CN) – The Supreme Court took up a case Tuesday involving a man who brought a gun onto the U.S. Capitol, pleaded guilty, then appealed that plea as unconstitutional.

Tuesday’s order granting Rodney Class a writ of certiorari offers little insight to the case, but the D.C. Circuit rejected Class’ last appeal in July 2016.

Though the guilty plea included an explicit waiver of Class’ right to appeal sentencing errors and collateral attacks on the conviction, that waiver did not touch on “alleged errors in the indictment or in proceedings before the sentencing,” the unsigned decision states.

Class failed to sway the court “that the lack of an explicit waiver permits him to proceed in the present appeal.”

Under precedent from the 2004 case U.S. v. Delgado-Garcia, there are two recognized exceptions to this rule: “the defendant’s claimed right not to be haled into court at all,” and a claim “that the court below lacked subject-matter jurisdiction over the case.”

“Neither claimed exception applies here,” the opinion states. “We therefore affirm the judgment of the district court.

Earlier in the ruling, the court noted that Class appeared pro se at the time of the plea, having elected previously to discharge appointed counsel.

The federal public defender served as stand-by or advisory counsel, and the court said Class’ “plea followed extended motions practice and was memorialized in a plea agreement.”

Per its custom, the court issued no comment in taking up the case. Class’ is the only case granted certiorari Tuesday in a list of dozens of rejected cases.

Class is represented by Jessica Ring Amunson of Jenner & Block.

Acting Solicitor General Noel Francisco represents the U.S. government.

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