Banner: Maryland Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr.
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For Immediate Release
August 30, 2002
Contact: Sean Caine, 410-576-6357


Attorney 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 State’s 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.

According 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.

On 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 Police’s 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 Governor’s Office on Crime Control and Prevention and the Maryland State Police Cease Fire Council.




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