Earlier this month, the New Mexico Supreme Court ruled that successful completion of a deferred sentence restores the Second Amendment rights of a person convicted of a criminal felony offense. This is an extremely important decision in the fight for non-violent felons to regain their natural right of self-defense via firearms ownership.
Before we continue let’s make sure we are clear on the definition of a deferred sentence. U.S. Legal defines deferred sentencing as follows:
A deferred sentence refers to a postponed, or delayed sentence in a criminal matter. In a deferred sentence, the court gives a defendant an opportunity to complete a probationary period before sentencing. If the defendant successfully completes probation (usually not longer than 2 years), at the conclusion of the probationary period the court will review the defendant’s file and may dismiss the charges against him/her. If, however, the defendant does not follow all of the terms and conditions of probation the court may enter the conviction and sentence the defendant accordingly.
Depending on the jurisdiction, a person may or may not have a permanent record of the crime on their criminal record after a successful completion of the probationary period and subsequent dismissal of the charges.
Now that everyone has an understanding of the term deferred sentencing, we’ll start to examine the case against John Oliver Reese. This case was the catalyst for the historical ruling that enables some felons to regain their right to own a gun. Back in 1992 Reese entered a no contest plea in the 2nd District Court to a single felony of tampering with evidence. The court deferred his sentencing and placed him on probation for eighteen months. The charges against Reese were dismissed once he completed the probation.
Fast forward more than ten years and according to court documents Reese found himself amid “a maelstrom of domestic strife” involving his current wife, ex-wives, and a girlfriend. Accusations of domestic violence by his current wife and his ex-wife tipping off the authorities to Reese being a convicted felon that owns firearms, led the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms to obtain a warrant to search Reese’s home. During the search they confiscated more than thirty firearms, along with ammunition. Reese was charged with a twenty-four count federal indictment that related to the owning of firearms while being a convicted felon.
Reese questioned the validity of the claim that he was a convicted felon. He disputed that he did not have a prior felony due to the conviction against him having been dismissed after successful completion of his deferred sentence. He entered a conditional plea to a single charge and took the case to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver.
(For the rest of the article, click the link.)