August 30, 2002
Sean Caine, 410-576-6357
MAN SENTENCED FOR ATTEMPTING TO OBTAIN
A GUN WHILE SUBJECT TO A PROTECTIVE ORDER
General J. Joseph Curran, Jr. announced today that Howard Lee Morgan,
30, of 212 South Carroll Street, Frederick, was sentenced for his
role in attempting to illegally purchase a handgun while he was
subject to a domestic protective order. On May 8, 2002, the defendant
changed his plea during trial from "not guilty" to "guilty"
to the crimes of False Application to Purchase a Regulated Firearm
and Attempted Illegal Possession of a Regulated Firearm after hearing
the States opening statements to the jury that described the
evidence that would be presented against Mr. Morgan.
The Honorable Raymond J. Kane, Jr., sitting for the Howard County
Circuit Court, sentenced Morgan to 18 months in the Division of
Corrections, before suspending the entire sentence and placed Morgan
on two years of supervised probation with the special conditions
that he cannot have any adverse contact with the petitioner of the
protective order, cannot possess any firearms, and he cannot attempt
to buy any firearms.
to the statement of facts presented to the court, a protective order
was issued by the District Court for Frederick County against Morgan
on January 5, 2001. In that order, the court found that his ex-girlfriend
had been threatened with violence that placed her in fear of imminent
bodily harm, and as such, the court ordered Morgan to not abuse,
threaten to abuse, or to harass her. This order was effective until
July 5, 2001, and its existence prohibited him from possessing or
applying for a handgun in Maryland.
April 28, 2001, Morgan was arrested for violating the terms of this
protective order, and had a trial date scheduled for July 18, 2001
on that charge. Nevertheless, on June 23, 2001, he attempted to
purchase a handgun from a Baltimore County gun dealer at a Frederick
County gun show. Morgan filled out both a Maryland and Federal application
to purchase the handgun, and lied on both forms when asked about
whether he was subject to a protective order. He then signed both
applications, certifying under the penalties of perjury that all
the information he provided was true and accurate.
On June 26, 2001, the Maryland application was delivered to Maryland
State Polices Firearms Registration Section as they are charged
with the duty of attempting to verify the truth of the answers and
information provided in each application to purchase a handgun.
During their investigation, they discovered not only the fact that
Morgan was subject to the protective order, but also that he had
the pending charges in Frederick District Court for violating the
protective order at the time he applied. They disapproved his application
to purchase the handgun, and referred the case the Maryland State
Police Cease Fire Unit for further investigation.
This case was investigated by the Cease Fire Unit of the Maryland
State Police and was prosecuted by the Office of the Attorney General,
Firearms Trafficking Unit, Criminal Investigations Division, in
connection with a partnership the two agencies have formed to further
efforts to combat handgun violations statewide. Funding for Operation
Crime Gun comes from grants received from the Governors Office
on Crime Control and Prevention and the Maryland State Police Cease