Discussion in 'Legal' started by LAR-15, Sep 25, 2008.
really waiting to hear if the argument the the registry can't be used held up.
Apparently, the case came about from a routine compliance inspection. The ATF inspector looked at Doug's Sten, found a number stamped up by the magwell, and wrote it down (Feb '03). It was the part number, not the serial number. They came back a month later, looked at it again, found the same number, and wrote it down (Mar '03). June '03, they got a search warrant based on the fact that the number they wrote down wasn't the registered serial number, came back and looked at the gun--carefully this time--and found the part number and the (correct) serial number.
From this they concluded that he had disposed of the registered Sten and manufactured another one--adding the serial number after the two previous inspections--to duplicate it.
Doug's attorney questioned the ATF inspector about whether she ever asked Doug about the discrepancy on any of her visits, notified her supervisor, talked to a field agent, or did anything to say "hey, we have a problem here" to clear up the confusion. She repeatedly said no, she didn't make any attempt to clear it up. "It's not our policy to ask." After repeating that line about a dozen times, Doug's attorney asked if it was their policy to guarantee the indictment. I'm told the prosecutor damn near had a heart attack objecting to that question (sustained).
The indictment was handed down just a couple of months before the five-year statute of limitations ran out. The prosecution had a weak case, but pushed it hard. They apparently spared no expense, flying experts in from all over the country--San Francisco was mentioned--on a day's notice.
The (well-documented) registry errors apparently weren't a major factor. Dr. Fritz Scheuren testified about them, and I'm told there was a senior ATF agent in the back of the court listening to his testimony. All of my information comes from someone who was in the gallery, and he says the ATF agent looked like he was "praying" during Dr. Scheuren's testimony (the image is beautiful..."please, God, don't let him reveal the truth!")
Doug was acquitted of lying to the investigators, and the jury hung on all of the other charges (supposedly with the majority favoring acquittal).
I'm trying to get permission to write up as much as I can; I'll post more as I get it.
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