News and Press Releases

Joseph H. Dust, Jr. Sentenced in U.S. District Cour

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Bill Mercer, United States Attorney for the District of Montana, announced today that during a federal court session in Billings, on May 28, 2009, before Senior U.S. District Judge Jack D. Shanstrom, JOSEPH H. DUST, JR., age 28, appeared for sentencing. DUST was sentenced to a term of:

  • Prison: 30 months, consecutive to another sentence
  • Special Assessment: $100
  • Supervised Release: 3 years

DUST 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:

In 2004, DUST was convicted of a felony drug charge. After revocation of his initial sentence, DUST was eventually paroled and put under the supervision of the Montana Department of Corrections.

In May 2008, DUST was being supervised as a parolee through Alternatives, Inc. and allowed to live in a transitional living program in Billings.

On May 11, 2008, Alternatives was informed that DUST had drugs in his residence. Staff members searched DUST'S residence. Inside a safe, a firearm, a digital scale, two baggies of marijuana and $990 in cash were recovered. The firearm was identified as a Taurus PT 100 AFS. .40 S&W semi-automatic pistol which had been reported as stolen.

Because there is no parole in the federal system, the "truth in sentencing" guidelines mandate that DUST will likely serve all of the time imposed by the court. In the federal system, DUST 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 Montana Department of Corrections, Alternatives, Inc., 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."



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