Client Found Not Guilty On Firearm Charge
Amber Ladner and William “Chip” Bradford obtained a not guilty verdict last week on an altered firearm case in Jefferson County Circuit Court. Our client had been charged with being in possession of an altered firearm. The State alleged that the firearm involved in the case was missing a serial number. The Alabama Statute regarding possession of an altered firearm requires the specific intent to conceal the identity or misrepresent the identity of the firearm in order for the defendant to be found guilty.
Alabama Code § 13A-11-64 makes it a felony for anyone to possess an altered firearm. The alteration of a firearm includes altering, obliterating, removing or changing the “maker, model, manufacturer’s number or other mark or identification of any firearm.” Under the statute, it is a Class C felony to possess, obtain, receive, sell, or use a firearm after it has been altered.
The statute reads as if simple possession of the firearm is enough for a person to be found guilty under the statute. However, we were able to research the law and locate a case from the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals that held that the statute also required an intent, regardless of whether the statute actually states that an intent is required.
In this case, our client was found not guilty because we were able to convince a jury that our client lacked the intent required to be found guilty under the statute. This was the second time that this particular case had been tried to a jury. Earlier in the year the case was tried and resulted in a mistrial because of a hung jury. The case was reset and tried a second time. Due to the tireless efforts of Ladner and Bradford, the client was found not guilty after the jury trial.