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. This is ridiculous. Most JDs not practicing law don't know squat to justify calling themselves a lawyer. Maybe they should try visiting the inside of a courtroom before they go around calling themselves lawyers. This kind of promotional BS just increases the volume of people with JDs that are underqualified thereby dragging all the rest of us down likewise.

  2. I think it is safe to say that those Hoosier's with the most confidence in the Indiana judicial system are those Hoosier's who have never had the displeasure of dealing with the Hoosier court system.

  3. I have an open CHINS case I failed a urine screen I have since got clean completed IOP classes now in after care passed home inspection my x sister in law has my children I still don't even have unsupervised when I have been clean for over 4 months my x sister wants to keep the lids for good n has my case working with her I just discovered n have proof that at one of my hearing dcs case worker stated in court to the judge that a screen was dirty which caused me not to have unsupervised this was at the beginning two weeks after my initial screen I thought the weed could have still been in my system was upset because they were suppose to check levels n see if it was going down since this was only a few weeks after initial instead they said dirty I recently requested all of my screens from redwood because I take prescriptions that will show up n I was having my doctor look at levels to verify that matched what I was prescripted because dcs case worker accused me of abuseing when I got my screens I found out that screen I took that dcs case worker stated in court to judge that caused me to not get granted unsupervised was actually negative what can I do about this this is a serious issue saying a parent failed a screen in court to judge when they didn't please advise

  4. I have a degree at law, recent MS in regulatory studies. Licensed in KS, admitted b4 S& 7th circuit, but not to Indiana bar due to political correctness. Blacklisted, nearly unemployable due to hostile state action. Big Idea: Headwinds can overcome, esp for those not within the contours of the bell curve, the Lego Movie happiness set forth above. That said, even without the blacklisting for holding ideas unacceptable to the Glorious State, I think the idea presented above that a law degree open many vistas other than being a galley slave to elitist lawyers is pretty much laughable. (Did the law professors of Indiana pay for this to be published?)

  5. Joe, you might want to do some reading on the fate of Hoosier whistleblowers before you get your expectations raised up.