Saturday, December 30, 2006

Government Wants to Limit Arguments in Machine Gun Case

FAYETTEVILLE -- A man charged with possessing illegal machine guns shouldn't be able to make constitutional arguments at trial, according to a motion filed Friday by federal prosecutors.

Hollis Wayne Fincher, 60, a lieutenant commander of the Militia of Washington County, is charged in U.S. District Court with possessing three homemade, unregistered machine guns and an unregistered sawed-off shotgun.

Trial is set for Jan. 8 in Fayetteville.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Wendy Johnson filed the motion asking U.S. District Judge Jimm Larry Hendren to preclude Fincher and his attorney, Oscar Stilley, from arguing matters of law to the jury as a defense. The government believes Fincher wants to argue the gun charges are unconstitutional and that the prosecution must prove an "interstate nexus" for the firearms, according to the motion.

The government is arguing that it is the court's role to decide matters of law and to instruct the jury. The jury's role is to then determine and apply the facts to the law as instructed by the court. The jury has no role in deciding legal issues, according to the motion.

The government also wants the court to order Fincher to disclose items the defense intends to use as evidence at trial, the results of any physical or mental examinations or experiments to be used at trial and provide written summaries of witness testimony the defense intends to use.

Fincher was also put on notice Friday that the government intends to present evidence about additional firearms found at Fincher's home or at the "Militia Headquarters" during the execution of search warrants.

More at The Morning News.

1 comment:

Locking Lug said...

All these arguments need to be made at PRE-TRIAL hearings.

Then, WHEN they fail in pre-trial, they have to try to bring them up in front of the jury. We all know the jury has the power to judge both law and fact, but that and a buck might get you a cup of coffee in federal court.

The fix is in on any one of us at any time. All they have to do is select you for prosecution - for anything - at anytime.