7th Circuit: Third time’s charm in gun sentencing

June 17, 2016

It took three appeals, but a man’s sentence for illegal firearm possession finally satisfied the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.

John W. Bloch III was convicted of unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon and unlawful possession of a firearm after having been convicted of a domestic-violence misdemeanor following a 2011 incident in Elkhart. He was arrested after authorities responded to a report of gunshots and found Bloch visibly intoxicated at his girlfriend’s apartment, then found a loaded semi-automatic handgun, an assault rifle and ammunition inside.

Bloch initially was sentenced to more than 11 years in prison, but the 7th Circuit remanded for resentencing first because the sentences arose from the same incident of firearm possession. He then was sentenced to 10 years. Bloch appealed again and succeeded in arguing his sentencing guidelines had been miscalculated. He now appeals his sentence of 105 months in prison with three years of supervised release.

This appeal challenged only a term of supervised release that allowed a probation officer to meet Bloch at home or elsewhere and confiscate any contraband observed in plain view. Circuit Judge Michael S. Kanne wrote that the panel disagreed with Bloch’s argument that the district court was required to make separate explanation for the term of imprisonment and the term of supervised release.

“The third time happens to be a charm in this instance though, as Bloch is not entitled to another sentencing hearing,” Kanne wrote in USA v.  John Bloch, III, 15-1648. “The district court not only adequately explained its justification for imposing a term of supervised release, it also adopted a ‘best practice’ suggested by this court for providing adequate notice to defendants of proposed conditions of supervised release and justification for the same. Therefore, we affirm the district court’s sentence.”



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