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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. You can put your photos anywhere you like... When someone steals it they know it doesn't belong to them. And, a man getting a divorce is automatically not a nice guy...? That's ridiculous. Since when is need of money a conflict of interest? That would mean that no one should have a job unless they are already financially solvent without a job... A photographer is also under no obligation to use a watermark (again, people know when a photo doesn't belong to them) or provide contact information. Hey, he didn't make it easy for me to pay him so I'll just take it! Well heck, might as well walk out of the grocery store with a cart full of food because the lines are too long and you don't find that convenient. "Only in Indiana." Oh, now you're passing judgement on an entire state... What state do you live in? I need to characterize everyone in your state as ignorant and opinionated. And the final bit of ignorance; assuming a photo anyone would want is lucky and then how much does your camera have to cost to make it a good photo, in your obviously relevant opinion?

  2. Seventh Circuit Court Judge Diane Wood has stated in “The Rule of Law in Times of Stress” (2003), “that neither laws nor the procedures used to create or implement them should be secret; and . . . the laws must not be arbitrary.” According to the American Bar Association, Wood’s quote drives home this point: The rule of law also requires that people can expect predictable results from the legal system; this is what Judge Wood implies when she says that “the laws must not be arbitrary.” Predictable results mean that people who act in the same way can expect the law to treat them in the same way. If similar actions do not produce similar legal outcomes, people cannot use the law to guide their actions, and a “rule of law” does not exist.

  3. Linda, I sure hope you are not seeking a law license, for such eighteenth century sentiments could result in your denial in some jurisdictions minting attorneys for our tolerant and inclusive profession.

  4. Mazel Tov to the newlyweds. And to those bakers, photographers, printers, clerks, judges and others who will lose careers and social standing for not saluting the New World (Dis)Order, we can all direct our Two Minutes of Hate as Big Brother asks of us. Progress! Onward!

  5. My daughter was taken from my home at the end of June/2014. I said I would sign the safety plan but my husband would not. My husband said he would leave the house so my daughter could stay with me but the case worker said no her mind is made up she is taking my daughter. My daughter went to a friends and then the friend filed a restraining order which she was told by dcs if she did not then they would take my daughter away from her. The restraining order was not in effect until we were to go to court. Eventually it was dropped but for 2 months DCS refused to allow me to have any contact and was using the restraining order as the reason but it was not in effect. This was Dcs violating my rights. Please help me I don't have the money for an attorney. Can anyone take this case Pro Bono?

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