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United States v. Jones

United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
371 F.3d 363 (2004)


Facts

Agents with the United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) suspected Dennis Rock of making straw purchases, (i.e., legally purchasing numerous firearms and then re-selling them to felons). Rock and an unidentified male entered a sporting goods store in Gary, Indiana, to purchase a semi-automatic assault rifle. Rock made a partial payment and then he and the unknown male left the store. The store clerk notified ATF agents who subsequently set up surveillance inside the store. Rock returned later that morning with Dirk Jones (defendant). Rock completed the necessary paperwork to purchase the rifle while Jones wandered around the store. On the paperwork, Rock stated that the rifle was for himself. After the sale, Rock and Jones left the store and drove to Chicago, Illinois, where they were arrested. The United States (plaintiff) charged Jones with conspiracy to make a false statement to a federally licensed firearms dealer and to transfer a firearm to a resident of another state in violation of federal law. At trial, the prosecution presented no evidence that Jones was involved in any of the transactions conducted by Rock. Jones testified that he was in Gary when he saw Rock, an acquaintance, and asked him for a ride to Chicago. Rock agreed and stated he had several stops to make along the way, including one at the sporting goods store. Jones was convicted and he appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Williams, J.)

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