Ross H. Sutton Sentenced in U.S. District Court
The United States Attorney's Office announced that during a federal court session in Missoula, on November 16, 2012, before U.S. District Judge Donald W. Molloy, ROSS H. SUTTON, a 42-year-old resident of Missoula, appeared for sentencing. SUTTON was sentenced to a term of:
Prison: 33 months
Special Assessment: $100
Supervised Release: 3 years
SUTTON was sentenced in connection with his guilty plea to being a felon-in-possession of a firearm and ammunition.
In an Offer of Proof filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Paulette L. Stewart, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:
SUTTON was convicted of robbery in 2000 and escape in 2002 in North Carolina which prohibited him from possessing firearms or ammunition.
On November 25, 2009, in Missoula, SUTTON possessed a loaded Smith & Wesson 9mm pistol which was loaded with four rounds of ammunition.
The first police officer on the scene, regarding the man selling marijuana complaint, contacted SUTTON and another man. The officer identified SUTTON as the person being complained about. The officer arrested SUTTON for marijuana possession and an outstanding warrant. SUTTON told the officer about the handgun near his vehicle. The officer then retrieved the handgun from the roadway under SUTTON's vehicle at the inside of the driver's side tire. SUTTON stated that he had purchased the pistol approximately two years ago for $330 with cash and marijuana.
SUTTON further admitted that he hid the pistol on the pavement under the front driver's side tire of his car and that he would not have advised the police officer of the pistol and its location after his arrest if he had known "he'd catch a charge."
Because there is no parole in the federal system, the "truth in sentencing" guidelines mandate that SUTTON will likely serve all of the time imposed by the court. In the federal system, SUTTON does have the opportunity to earn a sentence reduction for "good behavior." However, this reduction will not exceed 15% of the overall sentence.
The investigation was conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.