Nicholas James Moskaloff Sentenced in U.S. District Cour
Bill Mercer, United States Attorney for the District of Montana, announced today that during a federal court session in Missoula, on January 29, 2009, before U.S. District Judge Donald W. Molloy, NICHOLAS JAMES MOSKALOFF, a 29-year-old resident of Hungry Horse, appeared for sentencing. MOSKALOFF was sentenced to a term of:
- Home Arrest: 12 months
- Probation: 5 years
- Special Assessment: $100
MOSKALOFF was sentenced in connection with his guilty plea to possession of a firearm by a user/addict of a controlled substance.
In an Offer of Proof filed by the United States, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:
On February 26, 2006, members of Flathead County's Alcohol Enforcement Team conducted checks of known places where young adults had been arrested previously for drug and alcohol consumption. While doing these checks, the officers observed a vehicle parked in a shooting range posted for "Daylight Use Only." As officers approached the vehicle they saw that the driver, MOSKALOFF, had a gun. MOSKALOFF leaned out the driver's side window, screamed, and fired a shot down range. The officers yelled at MOSKALOFF to drop his gun and he dropped it inside the vehicle. MOSKALOFF then exited the vehicle and was taken into custody without incident.
MOSKALOFF apologized to the officers and stated that the shooting was an accident and that he did not know anyone was in the area. When searched, officers seized a marijuana pipe from his front pants pocket. He stated that a marijuana "bud" was in the ashtray of the vehicle. He also stated that he had gone to the shooting range that night to "smoke a bowl and do some shooting." The gun MOSKALOFF possessed was a .22 caliber H&R pistol, model 923.
Because there is no parole in the federal system, the "truth in sentencing" guidelines mandate that MOSKALOFF will likely serve all of the time imposed by the court. In the federal system, MOSKALOFF does have the opportunity to earn a sentence reduction for "good behavior." However, this reduction will not exceed 15% of the overall sentence.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy J. Racicot prosecuted the case for the United States.
The investigation was a cooperative effort between the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Flathead County Sheriff's Office.
This conviction is yet another important outcome from Project Safe Neighborhoods, a national priority of the United States Department of Justice. PSN is designed as a partnership between federal and local law enforcement to reduce violent crime and gun-related crime through the vigorous enforcement of the criminal provisions of the federal firearms laws. In Montana, the effort under PSN is called "Catch and No Release."