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Smith v. United States

United States Supreme Court
508 U.S. 223 (1993)


John Smith (defendant) and his companion traveled from Tennessee to Florida, where they planned to purchase cocaine for dealing. Smith’s acquaintance, Deborah Hoag, joined Smith, his companion, and a drug dealer in a motel room. In the meeting, Smith discussed his interest in selling his MAC-10 firearm, an automatic weapon. Hoag was an informant for the Broward County Sheriff’s Office and tipped off law enforcement to Smith’s plans. An undercover officer posing as a pawnshop dealer called on Smith at the motel room. Smith showed his MAC-10 to the officer and offered to trade the gun for two ounces of cocaine. Smith was later convicted in district court of violating 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1), which prohibited knowingly using a firearm during and in relation to a drug-trafficking crime. Smith appealed his conviction. The court of appeals affirmed, and the United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (O’Connor, J.)

Dissent (Scalia, J.)

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