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US judge rejects detention for Attleboro man facing federal ammo charge

Buck F

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US judge rejects detention for Attleboro man facing federal ammo charge

ATTLEBORO — A U.S. District Court judge has shot down arguments by federal prosecutors that an Attleboro man indicted for allegedly possessing 114 bullets should be held in pretrial detention because ammunition is a dangerous weapon.

Magistrate Judge Jennifer Boal ruled last week that prosecutors did not cite, and she did not know of any, case law that defined ammunition as a dangerous weapon. In other contexts, she wrote, other courts have found it is not.

Prosecutors wanted the judge to keep Richard Philippe, 40, of Eden Court, in custody pending trial on charges of being a felon in possession of ammunition. Philippe was arrested earlier this year in connection with a gun trafficking investigation and has pleaded innocent.

Following the judge’s ruling, he was released on an unsecured bond.

The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives alleged Philippe trafficked over 100 guns from Georgia to Massachusetts between April and June. But when agents raided a warehouse Philippe rented in Taunton, they found the ammunition and only empty gun boxes, according to court records.

The judge also rejected arguments by prosecutors that Philippe, a native of Haiti who is a legal permanent resident of the United States, was a flight risk.

The judge said Philippe has lived in the country for over 25 years and has a wife and two children who have moved to Rhode Island since his arrest. He is also the father of an 18-year-old from a previous relationship who lives in South Carolina with his mother.

In addition, she said, Philippe’s mother and sister live in New York City and he has other relatives in Chicago and Haiti. His passport from Haiti is expired, according to the judge.

Philippe, she wrote, has served prison time for carrying a pistol and drug possession, but he has been self-employed running a computer repair business in addition to selling antiques, furniture and electronics.

Previous firearms charges in federal court in Georgia related to the gun trafficking case have been dismissed, Boal wrote. While the pending case contains allegations that Phillipe engaged in the dealing of a large number of firearms, “the indictment contains no such charge,” the judge said.

His lawyers proposed releasing Philippe with conditions, including electronic monitoring and a requirement that he live with his family in Rhode Island.

He was released on those conditions.
 
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Interesting...
Finally, a judge with some common sense. Ammo, especially shotgun rounds, is readily accessible at any Wal-Mart or sporting goods store. I wonder how many felons committed a federal felony by laying their hands on ammo openly displayed on shelves in these stores? My guess is many thousands.
 

enbloc

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Although Philippe has a very questionable past, 114 rounds of ammo should not even qualify for a trip around the block in a police cruiser...
Unless .50 BMG [rofl2]
 

PaulR

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I'm thinking.....If he allegedly trafficked that many weapons across state lines...that they'd have their sh!t together with enough evidence to open and shut the case.
apparently not. [rolleyes]
 
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So once again the Alliance of Thugs, Fugitives and Extortionists are making up the rules and trying have the violation be what they say it is. Time to take their "Special Agent" Status away, and make them all "Compliance Officers".
 
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I’m so sick of prosecutors using, trying to use, or being allowed to use uncharged allegations or previous charges that were dismissed/acquitted on as reasons for detention/punishment. If you don’t have enough to charge someone, or didn’t have enough to sustain a conviction, why should that possibly be okay to use as a reason to deny bond? If you really think they are guilty of that, be a better investigator and obtain evidence before you take someone to court.
 
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I’m so sick of prosecutors using, trying to use, or being allowed to use uncharged allegations or previous charges that were dismissed/acquitted on as reasons for detention/punishment. If you don’t have enough to charge someone, or didn’t have enough to sustain a conviction, why should that possibly be okay to use as a reason to deny bond? If you really think they are guilty of that, be a better investigator and obtain evidence before you take someone to court.

Damn son, why you gettin all reasonable? Makin people work and earn their money.
 
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I’m so sick of prosecutors using, trying to use, or being allowed to use uncharged allegations or previous charges that were dismissed/acquitted on as reasons for detention/punishment. If you don’t have enough to charge someone, or didn’t have enough to sustain a conviction, why should that possibly be okay to use as a reason to deny bond? If you really think they are guilty of that, be a better investigator and obtain evidence before you take someone to court.

Like when state prosecutors keep pushing off trials for weak cases hoping that their perp will screw up their bail and then they can get the easy slam dunk?
 
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Yes to also hating all of those things. The system is corrupt. There are so many dirty bullshit tactics they use it’s hard to keep track of.
 

Knuckle Dragger

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Good on the judge. The only reason to hold someone pre-trial is if they're a threat to public safety or present a flight risk. Prosecutors didn't seem to make that case here and went out on a limb.

I'll bet there's more here and more than they're just trying to get him to agree to a plea deal. A felon in possession of 114 rounds isn't that big a deal. If I didn't know better, I'd think that the prosecution wants to make life very uncomfortable for this guy until he does something for them. But I know better. Because persecutors would never be so unethical as to hold someone in jail in order to get them to inform on someone else.
 

Rob Boudrie

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I’m so sick of prosecutors using, trying to use, or being allowed to use uncharged allegations or previous charges that were dismissed/acquitted on as reasons for detention/punishment. If you don’t have enough to charge someone, or didn’t have enough to sustain a conviction, why should that possibly be okay to use as a reason to deny bond? If you really think they are guilty of that, be a better investigator and obtain evidence before you take someone to court.
Unproven charges are frequently used as a sentencing enhancement as well.
 

MisterHappy

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Good on the judge. The only reason to hold someone pre-trial is if they're a threat to public safety or present a flight risk. Prosecutors didn't seem to make that case here and went out on a limb.

I'll bet there's more here and more than they're just trying to get him to agree to a plea deal. A felon in possession of 114 rounds isn't that big a deal. If I didn't know better, I'd think that the prosecution wants to make life very uncomfortable for this guy until he does something for them. But I know better. Because persecutors would never be so unethical as to hold someone in jail in order to get them to inform on someone else.
I always thought that bail was to make sure that you showed up at trial.

I have a real problem with the whole "dangerousness" thing - if obviates the entire innocent until proven guilty thing. Especially when the trial is two, three, more years away.
 

Garys

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It is. Dangerousness was added somewhere along the line. Although if a person is judged "dangerous" they shouldn't be able to make bail.

I always thought that bail was to make sure that you showed up at trial.

I have a real problem with the whole "dangerousness" thing - if obviates the entire innocent until proven guilty thing. Especially when the trial is two, three, more years away.
 

Mesatchornug

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I always thought that bail was to make sure that you showed up at trial.

I have a real problem with the whole "dangerousness" thing - if obviates the entire innocent until proven guilty thing. Especially when the trial is two, three, more years away.
My understanding is this varies by state. I know NY is only for flight risk. I don't know the text for MA. I guess I'll go look it up... BRB

ETA -
According to https://malegislature.gov/laws/generallaws/partiv/titleii/chapter276/section58 there is a dangerous exception in MA. There's also an exception in the case of capital crimes
 
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