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Press Release

Previously Convicted Harrisburg Man Charged With Possession Of A Firearm

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Pennsylvania

HARRISBURG- The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced today that a federal Grand Jury in Harrisburg returned an indictment on February 3, 2016 charging Dane Burnell Merritt, age 52, with possession of a firearm after having been previously convicted of a felony offense. 

According to United States Attorney Peter Smith, the indictment was unsealed February 19, 2016 following Merritt’s initial appearance before U.S. Chief Magistrate Judge Martin C. Carlson. The case arose as a result of an arrest of Merritt by Harrisburg Police in October of 2015.

The case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Harrisburg Police Department.  Prosecution has been assigned to Assistant U.S. Attorney Chelsea Schinnour. 

This case was brought as part of the Violent Crime Reduction Partnership (“VCRP”), a district wide initiative to combat the spread of violent crime in the Middle District of Pennsylvania. Led by the United States Attorney’s Office, the VCRP consists of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies whose mission is to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who commit violent crimes.

Indictments and Criminal Informations are only allegations. All persons charged are presumed to be innocent unless and until found guilty in court.

A sentence following a finding of guilt is imposed by the Judge after consideration of the applicable federal sentencing statutes and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.

The maximum penalty under federal law is 10 years imprisonment, a term of supervised release following imprisonment, and a fine.  Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the Judge is also required to consider and weigh a number of factors, including the nature, circumstances and seriousness of the offense; the history and characteristics of the defendant; and the need to punish the defendant, protect the public and provide for the defendant's educational, vocational and medical needs. For these reasons, the statutory maximum penalty for the offense is not an accurate indicator of the potential sentence for a specific defendant.

 

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Updated February 22, 2016