Regardless of the charge, every United States citizen has rights when facing criminal prosecution. In any community, a clear line must be drawn between efforts made to protect society, and protection of the rights of those accused of actions against society. As a criminal defense attorney in Cleveland, I work hard to protect those rights.
With recent acts of senseless violence across the United States, gun control is an issue on the minds of most. While the right to bear arms belongs to each citizen, that right is extinguished for individuals convicted of certain crimes. A recent case highlights the seriousness of that prohibition.
In December 2012, 47-year old Toledo resident Richard Schmidt was arrested on suspicion of trafficking in counterfeit goods. While executing search warrants for counterfeit products, law enforcement discovered a cache of firearms including:
18 firearms, including assault rifles
High capacity magazines
40,000 rounds of ammunition
Some of the arsenal, including a bulletproof vest, was located in a locked room inside the Woodland Mall where Mr. Schmidt owns a business, Spindletop Sports Zone.
Following arrest for murder and felonious assault in 1989, Mr. Schmidt pled guilty to voluntary manslaughter for the death of a Hispanic man and the shooting of two others during a traffic incident. He served time on that conviction.
As a convicted felon, Mr. Schmidt was forbidden from possessing ammunition, firearms or body armor — all of which were found on his premises. They are the subject of three federal weapons charges filed by the United States Attorney General for the Northern District of Ohio. Mr. Schmidt also faces charges of trafficking in counterfeit sports products.
This case highlights the need for federal weapons laws — and also the need for a serious criminal defense for those who are charged with breaking those laws.