James A. Walker 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 Billings, on February 11, 2009, before Senior U.S. District Judge Jack D. Shanstrom, JAMES A. WALKER, a 28-year-old resident of Montana, appeared for sentencing. WALKER was sentenced to a term of:
- Prison: 35 months, concurrent with another sentence
- Special Assessment: $100
- Supervised Release: 3 years
WALKER was sentenced in connection with his guilty plea to being a felon-in-possession of a firearm.
In an Offer of Proof filed by the United States, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:
On February 14, 2005, WALKER was sentenced for felony criminal endangerment, thereby prohibiting him from possessing firearms.
On September 28, 2007, Billings Police Department officers were dispatched to a report of shots fired and two men fighting near a residence in Billings. As the officers arrived, they encountered WALKER, a woman, and another male. An officer observed WALKER lean into a parked vehicle and suspected that WALKER had placed something in the vehicle.
As WALKER had an outstanding warrant for his arrest, he was taken into custody. WALKER advised an officer he had placed a gun in the vehicle. Officers searched the vehicle and retrieved a Hi-point 380CF, .380 caliber semi-automatic pistol. The gun was loaded with seven rounds. Officers also located a digital gram scale and approximately 1.2 grams of methamphetamine. WALKER told the officers he would "test hot" for drugs.
Because there is no parole in the federal system, the "truth in sentencing" guidelines mandate that WALKER will likely serve all of the time imposed by the court. In the federal system, WALKER does have the opportunity to earn a sentence reduction for "good behavior." However, this reduction will not exceed 15% of the overall sentence.
Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Ed Zink prosecuted the case for the United States.
The investigation was a cooperative effort between the Billings Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
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."