Casper Man Sentenced to More Than 2 Years for Felon in Possession of Firearm
A Casper man will spend two years, four months in prison for being a felon in possession of a firearm, according to minutes of the sentencing hearing in federal court on Monday morning.
Patrick Schutz also will be on supervised probation for three years after his release from prison, according to the sentence handed down by U.S. District Court by U.S. District Court Judge Alan Johnson.
Terms of probation included not possessing or using firearms, not use alcohol or controlled substances, and take an anger management course.
Johnson also ordered Schutz to pay a $100 special assessment; a $250 fine; take a 500-hour residential drug treatment program; and forfeit an Akkar Model 612 12-gauge shotgun, and a Bushmaster .223/5.56-caliber, German Sport Gun .22-caliber pistol.
The judge recommended Schutz be placed in a federal prison at Yankton, South Dakota, or at Englewood, Colorado.
The sentencing closes the case after he pleaded guilty to the sole count of being a felon in possession of a firearm on Feb. 2.
The case started in late May 2022 when an agent with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives learned Schutz was seen at the Stuckenhoff Shooting Range north of Casper and possessed multiple firearms.
Schutz was arrested on Oct. 19 by Casper Police and BATFE agents.
The agencies executed the search warrant at his residence on South Washington Street where they found several firearms, according to an BATFE agent affidavit.
After his initial appearance and during a detention hearing, U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael Shickich decided to release Schutz based on Federal Public Defender Tracy Hucke's argument that he would comply with release conditions, and that he could live with his son as a third-party custodian.
Shickich reluctantly agreed.
On Nov. 17, the federal grand jury indicted him on the firearms count, and he pleaded not guilty at his arraignment on Nov. 29.
However, Schutz violated the terms of his release because he was arrested Dec. 14 on charges of domestic battery and strangulation.
Meanwhile, he filed a motion to dismiss his case based on a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision about firearms.
According to the 2021 case New York State Rifle & Pistol Ass'n Inc. v. Bruen, his federal Public Defender Tracy Hucke wrote that his indictment is is unconstitutional because the Second Amendment does not forbid denying felons, especially nonviolent felons, the right to bear arms.
Schutz was convicted of the nonviolent crime of forgery in 2002.
Johnson, agreeing with the prosecution's objection to Schutz's motion, wrote that numerous defendants charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm have unsuccessfully used the Bruen argument according to decisions in 24 federal courts.
Felons, he wrote, have abused the trust of the people, he wrote.
"Defendant's prior felony conviction supports the contention that he abused the rights of the people and failed to be a law-abiding, responsible, or virtuous citizen," Johnson wrote.