Byline: Derek Hawkins
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Case Name: United States of America v. Erik C. Schmidt
Case No.: 18-1259
Officials: RIPPLE, KANNE, and ROVNER, Circuit Judges.
Focus: 1st Amendment Violation
Erik Schmidt and his girlfriend were camping in a national forest in Wisconsin when a United States Forest Service Officer approached their campsite. The officer discovered that Mr. Schmidt, who had three prior felony convictions, had a handgun in his tent. A grand jury indicted Mr. Schmidt for, and he pleaded guilty to, one count of possession of a firearm as a convicted felon, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 922(g)(1). During a presentence interview with his probation officer, Mr. Schmidt communicated to the officer his belief in white supremacy, his hatred for minority races, and his desire to return to Germany to embrace his Nazi roots. At sentencing, the district court determined that Mr. Schmidt's white supremacist beliefs were evidence of his likelihood of future dangerousness and his lack of respect for the law. The district court sentenced Mr. Schmidt to 48...