United States v. Robert G. Arwady and Richard P. Medrano
Verdict in — Both defendants Not Guilty on all counts

Michael Harless Firearms Law, Litigation, U. S. District Court, Southern District of Texas

Rob Olson has called in to report that after two hours of deliberation, the jury has come back with a Not Guilty verdict on all counts.

Bob Arwardy and Richard Medrano were accused of participating in a “straw purchase” of firearms on February 27, 2014 and other firearms offenses in an eight count indictment.   After significant motions practice, including work by both Rob Olson and Herb Titus of our firm, the government dropped six of the eight counts, pressing the other two counts against both defendants.  Obviously, the jury was not persuaded.  This case required four trips to Houston, Texas by Rob Olson, for motions practice, trial preparation, pretrial, and trial. Read More

Article: Bureau of National Affairs Criminal Law Reporter – Abramski v. United States

Michael Harless Press Coverage

The BNA Criminal Law Reporter’s article on the Abramski decision, “Straw Man for Lawful Firearm Purchaser Made Material False Statement on ATF Form,” by Alisa Johnson, used some of our comments on the decision:

William J. Olson, Vienna, Va., who also participated in amicus briefs, characterized “the essence of the majority opinion” as, “if the Supreme Court thinks that interpreting federal law the way it is actually written would defeat Congress’ intent, the court may usurp the legislative power to edit the statute to fulfill its true intent.” Read More

Bruce James Abramski v. US — Amicus Brief in the United States Supreme Court (on the Merits)

Michael Harless Firearms Law, U. S. Supreme Court

Today, our firm filed an amicus curiae brief in the U.S. Supreme Court in Abramski v. United States, in a case challenging the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms’ (ATF) definition of what constitutes an illegal “straw purchase” of a firearm. This case involves one of the greatest instances of regulatory and prosecutorial abuse that we have ever seen.

The concept of a “straw purchase” is a “doctrine” created by ATF and the courts, rather than a “crime” enacted by Congress. Indeed, as pointed out in our brief, in the immediate aftermath of the Newtown, Connecticut school shootings, Senators Leahy and Schumer introduced a bill (that was not enacted) to outlaw straw purchases. If straw purchases were already illegal, then there would have been no need for such a bill to be introduced. Read More