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United States v. O'Neill

United States District Court for the Western District of New York
144 F.Supp.3d 428 (2015)


The federal government (plaintiff) charged Michael O'Neill (defendant) with making and possessing multiple homemade pipe bombs, without registering them in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record, in violation of tax-law statutes 26 U.S.C. §§ 5822, 5841, 5845, 5861, and 5871. O'Neill filed a motion in the District Court for the Western District of New York to overturn a magistrate judge's order to detain him pending trial. The district judge reviewed the government's evidence, which showed that emergency personnel discovered the bombs after one of them blew up in O'Neill's garage, wounding O'Neill so severely that his leg had to be amputated. Investigators found evidence that O'Neill planned to make additional bombs. The garage also contained hate-filled posters and paraphernalia that O'Neill admitted were his. O'Neill, who said he made the bombs to remove a tree stump, had lost his job due to alcohol abuse, had twice been found guilty of drunk driving, and was being treated for depression and anxiety. Due to the severity of his injuries, O'Neill argued that he could pose no danger to the public, and therefore should be released into the custody of his mother, with whom he was living at the time of his arrest.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Wolford, J.)

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