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7th Circuit orders resentencing, muses ‘wine speaks truth’ in felon gun case

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An Elkhart felon’s defense that he was drunk at the time he told police that guns they confiscated from his girlfriend’s apartment belonged to him failed to sway the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, which did find another error and order him to be resentenced.

Elkhart police responded to a report of gunfire at an apartment. They asked an intoxicated John W. Bloch III and his girlfriend to wait outside while they searched to make sure no one was injured. Police found a loaded Glock handgun and an SKS assault rifle in plain view.

“As the officers removed the firearms from the apartment, Bloch protested that the guns were his and demanded their return. This was a bold statement under the circumstances; Bloch is a felon and also has a conviction for a domestic-violence misdemeanor, making
his firearm possession a federal crime,” wrote Circuit Judge Diane Sykes. Bloch also later told an inmate the guns were his and that he should have hidden them better, according to testimony.

“Bloch makes the remarkable claim that his spontaneous demand for return of the guns was categorically unreliable as evidence of possession because he was drunk when he said it,” Sykes wrote. “To the contrary, the jurors were entitled to credit this evidence if they found it persuasive; and they obviously did. Maybe they relied on the common wisdom found in the proverb in vino veritas (‘wine speaks the truth’).”  

The court did find error in Bloch’s consecutive sentences of 120 months and 18 months in prison and remanded to the District Court for the Northern District of Indiana for resentencing. The court commended the government for raising the error.

“A single incident of firearm possession can yield only one conviction under § 922(g), no matter how many disqualified classes the defendant belongs to or how many firearms he possessed,” Sykes wrote in United States of America v. John W. Bloch, III, 12-2784.

“The district court shall merge the two ... convictions and resentence Bloch on a single count of conviction.”

 

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  • Wasting tax payer money
    Two convictions becomes one conviction with exactly the same sentence, only it is not clear wheter or not that sentence will be 18 months, 120 months or 138 months. Actually if the guns were in a home, whether or not they were his, he is protected under the 2nd amendment. Jurors need to learn the law and the constitution before judging others. The cour5ts need to do this as well.

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  1. Thank you, John Smith, for pointing out a needed correction. The article has been revised.

  2. The "National institute for Justice" is an agency for the Dept of Justice. That is not the law firm you are talking about in this article. The "institute for justice" is a public interest law firm. http://ij.org/ thanks for interesting article however

  3. I would like to try to find a lawyer as soon possible I've had my money stolen off of my bank card driver pressed charges and I try to get the information they need it and a Social Security board is just give me a hold up a run around for no reason and now it think it might be too late cuz its been over a year I believe and I can't get the right information they need because they keep giving me the runaroundwhat should I do about that

  4. It is wonderful that Indiana DOC is making some truly admirable and positive changes. People with serious mental illness, intellectual disability or developmental disability will benefit from these changes. It will be much better if people can get some help and resources that promote their health and growth than if they suffer alone. If people experience positive growth or healing of their health issues, they may be less likely to do the things that caused them to come to prison in the first place. This will be of benefit for everyone. I am also so happy that Indiana DOC added correctional personnel and mental health staffing. These are tough issues to work with. There should be adequate staffing in prisons so correctional officers and other staff are able to do the kind of work they really want to do-helping people grow and change-rather than just trying to manage chaos. Correctional officers and other staff deserve this. It would be great to see increased mental health services and services for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities in the community so that fewer people will have to receive help and support in prisons. Community services would like be less expensive, inherently less demeaning and just a whole lot better for everyone.

  5. Can I get this form on line,if not where can I obtain one. I am eligible.

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