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7th Circuit offers alternatives to destroying guns

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The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals vacated a District judge's order that a defendant's guns be destroyed instead of returned to him, ruling that there were other alternatives than what the District Court considered.

In United States of America v. Leroy F. Miller, No. 09-2256, Leroy Miller appealed the decision to have the federal government compensate him for the 34 guns taken following his conviction of aiding and abetting the possession of firearms by a felon. Miller had asked for his guns to be returned because the government failed to timely file an order for forfeiture.

Miller can't possess his guns until his sentence is served. The District Court declined to allow a relative or friend to hold the guns for Miller because it would leave Miller in constructive possession of them. He then argued for the government to sell the weapons and give him the money, but the District Court instead ordered the guns destroyed and Miller reimbursed under the Tucker Act.

"It is hard to see how either the United States or Miller can be made better off by replacing an actual sale with litigation in which the parties will offer expert evaluations of the weapons' market value, and the Treasury will be out of pocket that amount (because destroying the guns does not produce any revenue to cover the cost of a judgment under the Tucker Act)," wrote Chief Judge Frank Easterbrook.

The District Court made that decision because it believed all other alternatives were unlawful, but the 7th Circuit saw otherwise. Miller could actually possess one of the guns because it is an antique. To solve the issue for the other guns, the Circuit judges proposed several options. The guns could be gifted to a friend or relative who would then be informed if they return the guns to Miller, they could be prosecuted for aiding and abetting unlawful possession, wrote Chief Judge Easterbrook.

The firearms could be transferred in a trust to a reliable trustee that will not return the guns to Miller unless he is legally able to possess them. The U.S. could also store the guns while Miller is unable to have them, the chief judge wrote.

"If the United States does not want to sell them for his account, then it must offer Miller some other lawful option," such as the ones listed by the Circuit Court, Chief Judge Easterbrook wrote.

The Circuit Court remanded for further proceedings consistent with the opinion.

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  1. "So we broke with England for the right to "off" our preborn progeny at will, and allow the processing plant doing the dirty deeds (dirt cheap) to profit on the marketing of those "products of conception." I was completely maleducated on our nation's founding, it would seem. (But I know the ACLU is hard at work to remedy that, too.)" Well, you know, we're just following in the footsteps of our founders who raped women, raped slaves, raped children, maimed immigrants, sold children, stole property, broke promises, broke apart families, killed natives... You know, good God fearing down home Christian folk! :/

  2. Who gives a rats behind about all the fluffy ranking nonsense. What students having to pay off debt need to know is that all schools aren't created equal and students from many schools don't have a snowball's chance of getting a decent paying job straight out of law school. Their lowly ranked lawschool won't tell them that though. When schools start honestly (accurately) reporting *those numbers, things will get interesting real quick, and the looks on student's faces will be priceless!

  3. Whilst it may be true that Judges and Justices enjoy such freedom of time and effort, it certainly does not hold true for the average working person. To say that one must 1) take a day or a half day off work every 3 months, 2) gather a list of information including recent photographs, and 3) set up a time that is convenient for the local sheriff or other such office to complete the registry is more than a bit near-sighted. This may be procedural, and hence, in the near-sighted minds of the court, not 'punishment,' but it is in fact 'punishment.' The local sheriffs probably feel a little punished too by the overwork. Registries serve to punish the offender whilst simultaneously providing the public at large with a false sense of security. The false sense of security is dangerous to the public who may not exercise due diligence by thinking there are no offenders in their locale. In fact, the registry only informs them of those who have been convicted.

  4. Unfortunately, the court doesn't understand the difference between ebidta and adjusted ebidta as they clearly got the ruling wrong based on their misunderstanding

  5. A common refrain in the comments on this website comes from people who cannot locate attorneys willing put justice over retainers. At the same time the judiciary threatens to make pro bono work mandatory, seemingly noting the same concern. But what happens to attorneys who have the chumptzah to threatened the legal status quo in Indiana? Ask Gary Welch, ask Paul Ogden, ask me. Speak truth to power, suffer horrendously accordingly. No wonder Hoosier attorneys who want to keep in good graces merely chase the dollars ... the powers that be have no concerns as to those who are ever for sale to the highest bidder ... for those even willing to compromise for $$$ never allow either justice or constitutionality to cause them to stand up to injustice or unconstitutionality. And the bad apples in the Hoosier barrel, like this one, just keep rotting.

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