County: Ramsey (3/2012)
Charges: Ineligible Person in Possession of Firearm
Outcome: In Minnesota, if you are charged with being an ineligible person in possession of a firearm, there is a 5-year MANDATORY MINIMUM sentence. This was a case where our client could not possess a firearm because he had been convicted of a prior felony. In this case, he was at a party and four people surrounded his younger cousin and were about to assault him. They pulled out a gun and our client grabbed the gun away, shot it into the air, and ran. Police pulled him over near the scene and discovered the gun. We were set to go to trial on self defense, necessity, and duress defenses. During jury selection, the judge offered to consider a lower sentence based on the facts. Our client did not want to risk a 5-year sentence at trial, so we entered a straight plea to the judge. We filed a motion for a downward dispositional departure. The judge GRANTED our motion, gave our client a gross misdemeanor rather than a felony, and sentenced him to 120 days instead of 5 years. The judge commented that this was the lowest sentence she had ever given out on a case like this.