On September 15, 1992, Leader was acquitted of this charge by jury verdict. Federal law provides "that upon acquittal of the owner or possessor [of a firearm] . . . the seized firearms . . . shall be returned forthwith to the owner or possessor or to a person delegated by the owner or possessor unless the return of the firearms . . . would place the owner or possessor or his delegate in violation of law." 18 U.S.C. § 924(d)(1) (Supp. 1992). Fed. R. Crim. P. 41(e) authorizes a "person aggrieved by . . . the deprivation of property" to seek return of that property. Both of these rules require the movant to have some interest in the property in question (on one hand, an ownership or possession interest; on the other hand, an interest such that he is "aggrieved" by the deprivation of the property).
Leader does not contend that he owns the rifles in question, instead asserting that Dellmyer is the owner. Further, Leader's acquittal of the gun possession charge apparently means that the jury was not persuaded that he "possessed" the rifles within the meaning of § 922(g)(1),
and Leader represents that he will not "possess" the rifles if they are returned to Dellmyer (since they will not be kept within Leader's house). Because Leader establishes no relevant interest in the rifles, it seems that Dellmyer (the purported owner of the rifles) is the proper movant under both § 924(d)(1) and Fed. R. Crim. P. 41(e). If Dellmyer does so move, he will at that time have the opportunity to demonstrate (1) his ownership interest in the firearms; and (2) that return of the firearms will not "place the owner or possessor or his delegate in violation of law."
EDITOR'S NOTE: The following court-provided text does not appear at this cite in 809 F. Supp. 18.
An appropriate order follows.
For the reasons given in the accompanying opinion, it is hereby ORDERED and DIRECTED that James Leader's motion for return of the two rifles is DENIED.
December 22, 1992