The Next Step

I have never written down the situation that has brought Tom home or the fact that he may be re-incarcerated. While I am his wife, part of the reason is the fact that I don't feel like it's necessarily my "laundry to air." But as the days turn to week we come closer and closer to the realization that our future depends on one single person. That one single person being District Court Judge Lynn B. Winmill. 

Back Story: March 23, 2011 Tom was arrested while driving my care after the US Marshals sought him out on a warrant stemming from a parole violation out of New Jersey. (I was not in the car with him) When Tom was detained they searched the vehicle, in the trunk of the car my registered .38 caliber Smith & Wesson was unloaded in the trunk. So, my car - my gun yet I wasn't in the the vehicle. Tom was already a felon and if you are familiar with the law, that means a stipulation in becoming a felon means you cannot posses any firearm, weapon or ammunition. He was questioned about the gun and Tom was honest. He admitted to knowing the gun was there, in fact, Tom moved the firearm from the cab of the car to the trunk and urged me to get rid of it. I debated the situation and now it's something I look back and say, "I should have done that." I left the firearm in the trunk of my car, I was naive in the fact that I assumed nothing would happen. Well it did. Shortly after that Tom was extradited back to New Jersey to "fulfill" the warrant. He spent over a year in New Jersey. We patiently waited as the time ticked down and he release date lurked. With only 19 days until his release, Tom was served with papers informing him that he was being charged with felon in possession of a firearm, which ensured him of staying in custody. He made his was back from New Jersey to Idaho when he finally made it his resting place of Blackfoot. 

In Blackfoot we decided to take our chances with a detention hearing. A hearing you get one chance at in federal court and depending on different factors you could be released. Luckily by the grace of God, the magistrate judge allowed Tom to go home. It was like a breath of fresh air - finally after almost 15 months my husband would be home. So that day Tom came home (which is just over a month ago) and since then he has received an ankle monitor, has been working two jobs, have had a home visit and we are doing great. 

Last week Tom received a call from his lawyer, we had a few options left. In reality his case isn't detailed or needs elaborate investigation. We has three options: 
1) Ask for an extension. Which wasn't a for sure thing especially since his case doesn't need any more investigation there was no real need for it. 
2) Go to Trial. While a lot of people will just go to trial. It seemed like it would be the right decision, it was my gun, my car, he never discharged it, never carried it on him, never borrowed, never even really admired it. Once a jury heard that, it would be easy to have a innocent verdict, right? Is that a decision you are willing to take. Did Tom commit a violent crime? No. He committed the crime once he got into a vehicle which a firearm was in, that's it and that's all it takes. So innocence Tom would walk out of the courtroom, a free man. A guilty verdict, Tom could be sentenced up to 10 years, is that a gamble which you would take? Especially when they will determine your guilt or innocence on whether he was in possession of it, and it would be considered "constructive possession." 
3) Plea Guilty. Why would you do that? Does he want to go back to prison? No. Why plea guilty? It gives Tom a chance. It may seem silly but it does. 

Today we took the three hour drive to Pocatello, parked at the federal courthouse and came face to face with his judge. Tom entered a guilty plea, decided not to go to trial. A decision as a married couple we made since it directly affects our lives. It was a decision that wasn't taken lightly yet didn't take us a long time to determine. We knew it had to be better than take our chance at trial which Tom was honest with authorities and acknowledged the firearm was there, which could severely play against him in trial. 

He now has a sentencing date of August 20. It seems so close. And I am very sure that Tom is undoubtedly stressed about the future. With Tom being released on an ankle bracelet, we are hoping that it can continue. We can not predict what will happen especially since there are sentencing guidelines with federal charges. All we can do is continue with what we are doing. Respecting the rules and boundaries that comes with his release and collect more letters of character for his sentencing date. 

For my own personal feelings and emotions on the matter go here:


  1. Bless your heart and his too. I just don't know what to say. I feel y'all pain, I can feel how much in love y'all are with each other. I soo hate this for y'all. All I can do is pray for y'all. I feel like I have known you two for a while. Just try to hang in there and pray. Tell God y'all will do anything He wants and get down on y'alls knees and pray for what you want. I have been doing it and it works. I have been getting blessing left and right. It's just unbelievable. Love y'all!

  2. Hi - My husband is in the pre-sentencing phase as well. This is actually our first go around with this. We too had to decide if going to trial was worth the risk. I feel like he was set up - entrapped. If you take the feds out of his case - there isn't a crime. He had a gun pulled on him while he was on his bike going down the highway and he had people visit his job site multiple times to talk him into doing what he did. He was intimidated and persuaded. But yes, he ultimately decided to do this - but I feel that there is enough pressure in life to do the wrong thing - with out our government setting us up to fail. If they want to catch bad guys, then catch bad guys doing bad things. I don't believe that they need to set up their own little crime scene to see who they can convince to get involved - and then nail them to the wall while they pound their chests and sing their praises.
    What's worse is that our attorney said that you never want to take the Feds to Court. He could go to trial and risk up to 20 years - or plea guilty and he may get 2-5 years. The risks to go to trial to clear your name are just too great. Yes, I am angry - I'm angry at the way the FBI and our justice system operates and I'm angry at my husband for not making better decisions.
    Our house was raided at 5:30 in the morning. Me and our 3 kids were forced out of the house by gun point (not little guns but big assault rifles) the state police, city police were there, FBI, CIA and I'm sure the KGB were involved.. our street was blocked off, snipers were in our neighbors yard - and the FBI did not even know that my husband had already left for work.. They didn't even know where he worked. When they asked me - I told them they were the FBI - figure it out. My neighbor called my husband at work and they waited for him to get home. They then arrested him and left. My door was still busted. I got the frame fixed but still have a big hole in it. In any case, he did 2 mo in country jail, then was released at his second detention hearing. We did decide to plea guilty and are now waiting his sentencing which is July 30. He was on house arrest with the ankle monitor for about 6 mo and then they let him take it off. I am sure they are just testing him to see if he will screw up.
    We too are respecting the rules and guidelines - just working and spending as much time together before he is sentenced. He had his PSR about 2 weeks ago and we are now waiting to meet with the attorney about that. His min is zero so theoretically he could get probation, but our attorney said that no one is getting probation in this case. He has said that he thinks he will perhaps get less than 5 years - we are hopefull.

  3. Never been in this situation and am in the British Armed Forces but what a trauma for you both. I read a blog entry when you were still awaiting his release.
    I truly hope this is resolved for the best next month and you can put it all behind you.
    Good luck to you both, stay strong.
    Thomas in UK

  4. Reading the above comment, it seems your legal system stinks! I'm glad to be English.


Make Custom Gifts at CafePress