Monday, December 31, 2007

An interesting court case involving an ACTUAL militia

The sentencing of Wayne Fincher last June attracted national attention from several pro-Second Amendment Internet bloggers, which led to a Montana lawyer taking on the case for free.

The 61-year-old lieutenant commander of the Militia of Washington County was arrested in November, 2006 after federal agents seized illegal machine guns and sawed-off shotguns from militia headquarters and his home nearby.

On June 22, 2007, U. S. District Judge Jimm L. Hendren sentenced Fincher to 6. 5 years in prison with two additional years of supervised release and ordered him to pay a $ 1, 000 fine. Fincher was convicted in January of possessing machine guns and possessing a firearm not registered in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record. Fincher is now being held at a federal prison facility in Forrest City.

The case caught the attention of attorney Stewart Rhodes, ex-firearms instructor and Internet blogger from Las Vegas. After following the case at the trial court level, Rhodes took the case to attorney Quentin Rhoades, of Montana, who agreed to represent Fincher pro bono during the appeal proceedings. Although he had never met Stewart Rhodes, the two men had worked on previous cases together.

Rhoades said he agreed to take on the case for the good of the country. "I feel like it's a question of states' rights, a question of whether the federal government is using too heavy of a hand with people and whether it's following its own Constitution," he said. Rhoades filed a brief on Fincher's appeal in the 8 th U. S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Nov. 9, stating that Fincher is entitled to protection under the Second Amendment from criminal prosecution for violation of federal gun laws.

Rhoades argues in the brief that the Second Amendment protects the right to bear arms where reasonably related to the maintenance of a well-regulated militia. "In this case, Fincher, as an active member of an paramilitary organization whose mission it is to train, equip and mobilize the militia for call-up in time of need, is therefore entitled to Second Amendment protection," the brief states.

A response from the government is due Friday. Rhoades said he has had a couple of lengthy conversations with Fincher about the case and his interpretation of the Second Amendment. "He has some strong convictions about the rights of individual citizens of this country, the rights of states compared to the power of the federal government," he said. Rhoades said he finds Fincher's understanding of the law "very sophisticated, regardless of his hill country background. " "It's highly sophisticated and historically grounded, that's why I got involved," he said. "He may not be a lettered person, but he is very principled."

Rhoades said he admires Fincher and his beliefs. "I think he deserves somebody to go to bat for him," he said. "He's put himself on the line for what he believes to be the interest of this country.


Missouri pizza man shoots: "A Domino’s pizza deliveryman who shot and killed a would-be robber in Pagedale has a valid permit to carry a weapon and appears to have acted in self-defense, according to St. Louis County police. The driver, who works for the Domino’s franchise nearby in University City, delivered an order at 7 p.m. Thursday to a phony address in the 6500 block of Julian Avenue, where two armed men announced a robbery. The driver pulled his own pistol and fired shots, striking one of the robbers. Brian Smith, 19, of the 600 block of Ferguson Avenue in Ferguson, was pronounced dead at the scene, said officer Tracy Panus, the department spokeswoman. The other gunman fled. Police arrested a suspect this afternoon and booked him pending application of warrants, she said. Panus said the driver may have been fired upon, but was not wounded. She said officers found a pistol at the scene that hadn’t been fired. The driver surrendered his own weapon and showed officers a concealed-carry permit from Florida. Panus said officers verified the permit this afternoon. Panus said Prosecuting Attorney Bob McCulloch’s office will review the police reports but added, "It doesn’t appear to us that (the driver) did anything wrong."

Tennessee: homeowner shoots at burglars: "Police are looking for two men and a woman they believe are responsible for 5 burglaries in Antioch. Police were close to capturing the three after they burglarized a house, and the burglars were scared off from another house after the homeowner shot at them.... "After the suspects plowed through this fence they jumped out of their van," said Sgt. John Patton. "That's when they ran to a home that's just beyond these woods. They tried to break in, but discovered the homeowner was home and he had a gun." Several shots were fired. Metro Police don't believe anyone was hit by the bullets, but it did put the three burglars back on the run. One of them ended up on James McGee's front porch. "He was trying to come up in my house, and I said no I can't let you up in my house, but I can let you use my phone," McGee said. The man told McGee his car had broke down. In the spirit of the holiday season McGee not only let the man use his phone, but he decided to give him a ride. During this entire exchange, police were nearby on the street. Police believe they know who is responsible for the rash of burglaries, but still have no one in custody."

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