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Press Release

Convicted Felon who Fled from Police Sentenced to 20 Years in Federal Prison on Drug and Gun Charges

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Tennessee

Memphis, TN – Joseph Hamilton, 30, has been sentenced to 20 years imprisonment on federal charges of being a felon in possession of a firearm and possession of marijuana with intent to distribute. D. Michael Dunavant, United States Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee announced the sentence today.

According to the information presented in court, on October 27, 2017, Memphis Police observed Hamilton driving a silver Infiniti G35 eastbound on East Shelby Drive with a license plate registered to a different vehicle. The license plate also had a 2018 decal that belonged to a different plate. A traffic stop was then initiated. The defendant did not have a driver’s license, but provided his social security number to the officer. After the officer determined that the defendant’s license was suspended, the defendant was instructed to exit the vehicle. The defendant slammed the door to his car, made a "U-turn," and sped away. The officer had to move to avoid being struck by the vehicle. Hamilton then disregarded a traffic signal and crashed his vehicle with another vehicle. The driver of the other vehicle was transported to the hospital in non-critical condition.

After the crash, Hamilton ran into a wooded area with a red and white backpack. While the officer was chasing the defendant, the defendant tripped and fell. The officer caught up with the defendant and arrested him. The defendant spontaneously stated that he ran because he "did not want to go to jail for the weed and gun".

While searching the backpack, officers recovered a large bag of marijuana and two mason jars containing small baggies ofmarijuana, totaling approximately 100 grams. An opened box of sandwich baggies and a marijuana grinder were also recovered. Officers recovered $306.73 on Hamilton and a Ruger .45 caliber pistol from the driver’s side floorboard of the vehicle. Hamilton was also a convicted felon at the time of this offense.

On October 11, 2018, U.S. District Court Judge Thomas L. Parker sentenced Hamilton to 20 years in federal prison followed by 4 years supervised release.

U.S. Attorney D. Michael Dunavant said, "Convicted felons who possess firearms in connection with drug distribution are inherently dangerous individuals. This conviction and sentence will remove a violent offender from the streets, and will protect public safety. We are FED UP with gun crime in Memphis, and will continue to aggressively prosecute prohibited and dangerous offenders with firearms. Gun Crime is Max Time."

The defendant still has an unrelated murder charge pending in Division 7 of Shelby County’s Criminal Court stemming from his alleged shooting at a Whitehaven McDonald’s, resulting in the murder of one individual and the serious injury to another.

The Multi-Agency Gang Unit investigated this case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Marques Young and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Bryce Phillips prosecuted this case on the government’s behalf.

Updated October 15, 2018