Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

United States v. Collins

United States District Court, S.D. West Virginia, Beckley Division

July 30, 2019

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
RONALD COLLINS, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          IRENE C. BERGER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         The Court has reviewed the Defendant's Motion for Judgment of Acquittal (Document 141) and Motion for a New Trial (Document 142), and the United States' Amended Response to Defendant's Motions for New Trial and Acquittal (Document 144). For the reasons stated herein, the Court finds that the motions should be denied.

         In an indictment returned on April 3, 2018, the Defendant was charged with knowingly making a false and fictitious statement on a federal firearms form intended to deceive a federally-licensed firearms dealer in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 922(a)(6) and 924(a)(2), and with illegal possession of a firearm after having been involuntarily committed to a psychiatric hospital, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 922(g)(4) and 924(a)(2).

         Trial was scheduled for March 11, 2019, following continuances to permit a competency evaluation and to accommodate a change in counsel. On March 3, 2019, the Defendant filed a motion to continue trial or to permit evidence of mens rea. He cited Rehaif v. United States, No. 17-9560, then scheduled to be argued before the United States Supreme Court on April 14, 2019, to suggest that the law relevant to Count Two could change to include a requirement that the United States prove that he knew of his unlawful status at the time he possessed the firearm. The Court denied the motion to continue or to permit otherwise irrelevant evidence at trial, finding that “the issue of whether Mr. Collins knew he had been adjudicated as a mental defective or committed to a mental institution, to the extent it is disputed, is relevant to Count One, [and] evidence related to that issue will, of course, be permitted at trial.” (Order at 2, Document 120.) The Court refused to permit evidence or argument regarding alleged due process violations during the Defendant's involuntary committal.

         Following a two-day jury trial on March 11 and 12, 2019, the Defendant was convicted of both counts. The evidence, in short, was that he was involuntarily committed to a mental hospital on April 10, 2014. He filed a civil lawsuit contending that his commitment violated the Constitution and admitted that he was aware that he had been committed. He purchased a firearm from a licensed firearms dealer, after completing a form in which he indicated he had not been involuntarily committed to a mental institution.

         The Court instructed the jury, as relevant, that the United States must prove the following elements as to Count One:

FIRST: That on or about January 6, 2018, in connection with the acquisition of a firearm from a licensed firearms dealer, the Defendant made written statements with respect to information required to be kept in the records of a federally licensed firearms dealer as evidenced by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Form 4473;
SECOND: That the written statement indicating that the Defendant has never been committed to a mental institution was false;
THIRD: That the Defendant knew such statement was false at the time it was given; and
FOURTH: That the false statement was intended or likely to deceive the dealer with respect to any fact material to the lawfulness of the sale of the firearm.

(Jury Charge at 15-16, Document 126.) The Court further explained the second and third elements, including the knowledge requirement, as follows:

The second element the United States must prove beyond a reasonable doubt is that the statement that the Defendant had never been committed to a mental institution was false.
If you are satisfied that the statement was true, or if you have a reasonable doubt that it was false, then it is your duty to acquit. However, if you are satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that the statement was false, you must consider the remaining elements of the crime.
The third element the United States must prove beyond a reasonable doubt is that the false statement ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.