News and Press Releases

Jeremiah Harris Sentenced in U.S. District Cour

Friday, October 09, 2009

Bill Mercer, United States Attorney for the District of Montana, announced today that during a federal court session in Billings, on October 8, 2009, 2009, before Chief U.S. District Judge Richard F. Cebull, JEREMIAH HARRIS, age 25, appeared for sentencing. HARRIS was sentenced to a term of:

  • Prison: 9 months
  • Special Assessment: $200
  • Supervised Release: 3 years

HARRIS was sentenced in connection with his guilty plea to possession of a stolen firearm and possession of a firearm with an obliterated serial number.

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

On January 21, 2007, at approximately 1:30 a.m., a Billings Police officer observed a vehicle parked in the lot of a closed Billings park. The driver of the vehicle identified himself to the officer as JEREMIAH HARRIS. When the officer asked HARRIS to exit the truck, the officer observed what appeared to be a white powder in plain view on the floorboard of the truck and also saw a plastic baggie with a white powder residue in it, laying on the ground near the truck. The officer then saw a piece of plastic on the ground where HARRIS had just been standing. Suspecting the powder was either methamphetamine or cocaine, the officer called for a canine. During a search of the vehicle, a Glock Model 31 .357 SIG semi-automatic pistol with an obliterated serial number was recovered.

The Montana State Crime was able to restore the serial number. With this information, law enforcement was able to determine the firearm had been stolen. When officers contacted the owner of the firearm, the owner identified HARRIS as the likely suspect in its theft.

Because there is no parole in the federal system, the "truth in sentencing" guidelines mandate that HARRIS will likely serve all of the time imposed by the court. In the federal system, HARRIS 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, the Yellowstone County Sheriff's Office, 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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