On May 4, 2009, the Supreme Court held that the federal law prohibiting “aggravated identity theft”1 requires the Government to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant knew the identification at issue belonged to another person. Flores-Figueroa v. United States, 556 U.S. ___ (2009). The 9-0 decision resolved a split between the First, Ninth, and D.C. Circuits, which held that the mens rea requirement “knowingly” applied to the defendant’s knowledge that the identification at issue belonged to another person, and the Fourth, Eighth, and Eleventh Circuits, which reached the opposite conclusion. As a result, federal prosecutors will no longer be able to threaten illegal immigrants with the two-year mandatory minimum sentence that accompanies a guilty verdict of “aggravated identify theft.”2
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