News and Press Releases

Joshua Wright Erickson Sentenced in U.S. District Cour

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Bill Mercer, United States Attorney for the District of Montana, announced today that during a federal court session in Great Falls, on March 24, 2009, before Senior U.S. District Judge Charles C. Lovell, JOSHUA WRIGHT ERICKSON, a 23-year-old resident of Helena, appeared for sentencing. ERICKSON was sentenced to a term of:

  • Prison: 30 months
  • Special Assessment: $100
  • Supervised Release: 3 years

ERICKSON was sentenced in connection with his guilty plea to being in possession of a firearm after having been previously committed to a mental institution.

In an Offer of Proof filed by the United States, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:

In 2003, ERICKSON was involuntarily committed to Warm Springs after the district court found that ERICKSON was "an imminent threat of injury to himself or to others."

On March 14, 2008, in Helena, two police officers responded to a man with a gun complaint. ERICKSON answered the door with a Sig Sauer .45 caliber pistol in his hand.

When questioned, ERICKSON admitted to possession of the Sig Sauer pistol. He was clear that no round was chambered in the pistol. ERICKSON thought the police were friends playing a trick on him. He also admitted to flashing the gun at the other vehicle that cut off he and his friend. ERICKSON admitted that he is a violent offender and did not want to get into trouble over this incident.

ERICKSON'S friends who were present when the police arrived also confirmed ERICKSON'S possession of the pistol.

Because there is no parole in the federal system, the "truth in sentencing" guidelines mandate that ERICKSON will likely serve all of the time imposed by the court. In the federal system, ERICKSON 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 Paulette L. Stewart prosecuted the case for the United States.

The investigation was a cooperative effort between the Helena 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."



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