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DADDY WARBUCKS
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Md. might compensate felon for seized guns

The Associated Press

Last Updated: December 15, 2004, 11:03:10 AM PST

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - A felon whose gun collection was seized by police may be entitled to compensation for the property, the state's highest court has ruled.

Even though convicted felons are not allowed to own firearms, Robert Serio retains his property rights because he has not been convicted of illegally possessing the weapons, the Maryland Court of Appeals said Tuesday.

And while he isn't supposed to have the guns, Baltimore County police have no right to them.

"The county cannot retain the firearms just because Serio cannot possess them," Judge Lynne A. Battaglia wrote for the court.

The decision sends the case back to lower court for a decision on what to do with the guns.

Police seized seven handguns, five rifles, a shotgun, a silencer and ammunition from Serio's home in 1999 when he pleaded guilty to auto manslaughter, involving a passenger thrown from his car in a crash. Serio was sentenced to six months in jail.

At the time of the seizure, he had lined up a buyer for the guns, one of which is worth at least $30,000, said his lawyer, William N. Butler.
 

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I agree with the direction this is going so far. If the state wants to confiscate the weapons, they're going to have to charge him and convict him with illegal possession of them. While it seems rather obvious that he's in illegal possession of them, not guilty until proven guilty and all that. Until a conviction is obtained, the cops are confiscating his weapons on an allegation - and confiscation upon an allegation is pretty scary stuff.
 
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