Articles Posted in Firearm Crimes

Federal law typically precludes people convicted of felonies from possessing guns. The courts have some leeway about sentencing people convicted of the offense of being a felon in possession of a firearm, but in many cases, they issue substantial sentences. Recently, a Michigan court issued a ruling explaining what factors are relevant for sentencing purposes following an unlawful possession of a firearm conviction in a case in which the defendant argued his sentence was unreasonable. If you are charged with a weapons offense, it is wise to speak to a Michigan criminal defense lawyer to determine what measures you can take to protect your interests.

The Defendant’s Charge and Conviction

It is alleged that police officers were looking for the defendant, as he was absconding from parole, and there were seven warrants out for his arrest. They received permission from a homeowner to search his house, and during the search, they found the defendant in the basement. He was sleeping on a mattress on the floor near an unloaded pistol and a magazine.

It is reported that the defendant was subsequently charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm. He entered a guilty plea and was sentenced to fifty-one months in prison. He appealed, arguing that his sentence was substantively unreasonable. Continue Reading ›

Under federal law, crimes of violence are punished more harshly than other offenses. While the definition of a crime of violence is established by statute, disputes nonetheless continue regarding whether certain offenses fall under the definition. In a recent ruling, a Michigan court discussed what constitutes a crime of violence in a matter in which the defendant appealed his sentence following his conviction for carrying a firearm or abetting and aiding using a firearm in relation to a crime of violence. If you are accused of a criminal offense, it is in your best interest to speak to a trusted  Michigan criminal defense attorney regarding your options.

The Facts of the Case

It is alleged that the defendant was charged with numerous federal crimes, including carrying a firearm or aiding and abetting using a firearm in relation to a crime of violence. A jury convicted him, and he was sentenced to serve sixty consecutive months in prison for the firearm offense. He filed a motion to vacate his sentence, arguing that abetting and aiding attempted robbery, the underlying crime of violence, was not a crime of violence as defined by the applicable statute. The trial court denied his motion, and he appealed.

Crimes of Violence Under Federal Law

An appellate court will review the question of whether an offense is considered a crime of violence de novo. In doing so, they must apply the categorical approach as dictated by the elements clause of the relevant statute. In other words, they must assess the elements of the alleged offense rather than the particular facts out of which the defendant’s conviction arose. Continue Reading ›

Generally, police officers who are investigating a crime need a warrant to search a defendant. There are exceptions, though, such as in cases in which an officer reasonably suspects that a person is committing a crime. In such instances, an investigatory stop may be justified. Recently, a Michigan court discussed the right against unreasonable search and seizure in a matter in which the defendant was charged with numerous firearms and drug offenses. If you are accused of committing a crime, you should consult a trusted Michigan criminal defense attorney promptly to discuss your options.

The Defendant’s Arrest

Allegedly, the defendant was arrested at a gas station for carrying a concealed gun without a license. Apparently, an officer saw the gun in the defendant’s waistband with the handle protruding from his coat. The officer asked the defendant if he had a license to carry the gun, to which he replied he did not. The officer then confiscated the gun and arrested the defendant, after which it was discovered he had heroin in his possession as well.

It is reported that the defendant was charged with numerous weapons crimes and possession of heroin. He moved to suppress the evidence found during his arrest on the grounds that it was the product of an illegal search and seizure. Specifically, he argued the gun was not concealed but was being carried in accordance with the State’s open carry law. The court granted the defendant’s motion, and the State appealed. Continue Reading ›

The COVID-19 pandemic impacted most facets of society, including those individuals that are currently incarcerated. Many people in prison have a higher risk of suffering severe illness due to COVID-19 and are justifiably concerned regarding the threats posed by the virus. Some individuals may be eligible for compassionate release, but demonstrating such release is warranted is difficult, as noted in a recent Michigan opinion issued in a case in which the defendant was convicted of a weapons offense. If you are charged with a criminal offense, it is prudent to meet with a seasoned Michigan criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to determine your options for seeking a favorable result.

History of the Case

It is reported that the defendant was charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm, in violation of federal law. He had an extensive history of criminal convictions, including felony convictions for assault and delivery and possession of drugs. He pleaded guilty to the firearms charge and was sentenced to 46 months in prison. He began serving his sentence in January 2019. The defendant filed two motions for compassionate release. He withdrew the first, and the second was denied. He then filed a third motion for compassionate release, which was also denied.

Grounds for Compassionate Release

Pursuant to the First Step Act, a district court can consider motions filed by incarcerated defendants asking for reductions in their sentences. In determining whether to grant a compassionate release motion, a court has to engage in a three-part analysis. First, it must find that compelling and extraordinary reasons warrant a reduced sentence. The court must then ensure that the reduction complies with the applicable policy statements issued by the sentencing commission. Finally, the court must weigh all relevant statutory sentencing factors. If the court finds that each requirement is met, it may reduce a prison sentence but is not required to do so. Continue Reading ›

While gun ownership is generally lawful, people who have been convicted of felonies often lose their right to own weapons and can be charged with criminal offenses if guns are found in their possession. In many cases, though, the police will not have direct evidence of possession of a firearm but will have to rely on circumstantial evidence to establish a defendant’s guilt. Although circumstantial evidence is generally admissible, evidence of other wrongful acts usually is not. Recently, a Michigan court issued a ruling explaining the admissibility of other acts evidence in a case in which the defendant appealed his conviction for unlawful possession of a firearm. If you are charged with a weapons offense, it is in your best interest to meet with a dedicated Michigan criminal defense lawyer to discuss what evidence the prosecution may put forth.

The Underlying Incidents and Defendant’s Conviction

It is reported that the defendant sent the victim threatening text messages, including a picture of an assault rifle. Later that day, the defendant went to a party hosted by the victim and got into a verbal altercation with her before pointing a gun at her head. He left the party, but that evening he became involved in a high-speed chase with the victim and fired shots at her vehicle. The victim then called the police and reported the defendant shot at her.

Allegedly, the defendant was arrested a week later. The police searched his home and found an assault rifle. He was charged with multiple crimes, including possession of a firearm by a person convicted of a felony. The defendant appealed, arguing in part that the prosecution improperly relied on evidence of other acts to establish his guilt. Continue Reading ›

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