U.S. Third Circuit - The FindLaw 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog

Forfeiture of Over 600 Firearms and Ammunitions Affirmed

In US v. Cheeseman, No. 09-1756, the Third Circuit faced a challenge to a conviction for violating 18 U.S.C. section 922(g)(3), criminalizing possession of firearms and ammunition by an unlawful user or an addict of a controlled substance.

The defendant argued that the district court's judgment ordering asset forfeiture of over 600 firearms and ammunition was improper because the property subject to the forfeiture was neither involved in, or used in a knowing violation of section 922(g)(3).  The defendant also argued that the order violated the Excessive Fines Clause of the Eighth Amendment.

In rejecting each of defendant's arguments, the court held as follows: defendant's possession of firearms and ammunition was sufficient for the district court to conclude that the property was involved in a section 922(g)(3) offense;  the forfeiture order was not grossly disproportionate to defendant's offense because he was abusing illegal drugs while illegally possessing firearms and the value of the firearms was at most two times the maximum penalty imposed by the statute.

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