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Fisher v. State

Court of Appeals of Tennessee, Jackson

July 3, 2017

MICHAEL FISHER
v.
STATE OF TENNESSEE

          Assigned on Briefs February 2, 2017

         Appeal from the Circuit Court for Shelby County No. CT-000561-16 Jerry Stokes, Judge

         An individual previously convicted of a felony drug offense petitioned for restoration of his citizenship rights. The trial court restored all his citizenship rights except the right to bear arms. In doing so, the court concluded that Tennessee Code Annotated § 39-17-1307(b), which makes it an offense for certain persons to possess a firearm, prohibited the court from restoring the right to bear arms. We affirm.

         Tenn. R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Circuit Court Affirmed

          Robert Wampler, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Michael Fisher.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter, Andrée S. Blumstein, Solicitor General, and Michael A. Meyer, Special Counsel, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

          W. Neal McBrayer, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which John W. McClarty and Arnold B. Goldin, JJ., joined.

          OPINION

          W. NEAL McBRAYER, JUDGE

         I.

         On April 24, 1986, Michael Fisher pled guilty to criminal attempt, specifically unlawful possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell. The Criminal Court for Shelby County, Tennessee, sentenced Mr. Fisher to three years imprisonment, and as a result of the conviction, he was rendered infamous. See Tenn. Code Ann. § 40-20-112 (2012).

         On February 11, 2016, Mr. Fisher filed a Petition for Restoration of Citizenship in the Circuit Court for Shelby County. In his petition, Mr. Fisher requested the trial court to restore his citizenship, "including, but not limited to the right to vote, and the right to bear arms."

         The State of Tennessee responded to the petition, indicating that, due to the age of his conviction, it did not oppose the restoration of Mr. Fisher's citizenship rights. However, the State argued that the court could not restore Mr. Fisher's right to possess a firearm.

         On June 7, 2016, the trial court entered an order partially restoring Mr. Fisher's rights of citizenship. The trial court granted Mr. Fisher's petition with regard to all rights except the right to bear arms. The court concluded that Tennessee Code Annotated § 39-17-1307(b)(2) prohibited it from restoring Mr. Fisher's right to bear arms. The statute cited by the court makes it a crime for a person to "unlawfully possess[] a firearm" ...


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