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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Western District of Wisconsin
Timothy M. O’Shea, United States Attorney
For Immediate Release
Friday, June 24, 2022

Madison Felon Sentenced to 2 Years for Illegal Gun Possession

MADISON, WIS. – Timothy M. O’Shea, United States Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, announced that James McGowan, Jr., 23, Madison, Wisconsin was sentenced yesterday by Chief U.S. District Judge James Peterson to 2 years in prison for being a felon in possession of a firearm. McGowan pleaded guilty to this charge on March 30, 2022.

On September 20, 2021, McGowan was a convicted felon and had been released on bail in four state cases with charges including felon in possession of a firearm, felony bail jumping, armed robbery, drug possession, and third-degree sexual assault. Madison police officers were looking for McGowan because he had multiple warrants for his arrest and located him in an apartment parking garage. McGowan attempted to flee from the officers, resisted arrest, and had a loaded 9mm handgun in his waistband.

At sentencing Judge Peterson said that keeping McGowan in the community has not been effective, and that protection of the public was the main sentencing goal. The court observed that by illegally carrying a gun, McGowan was contributing to the risk of petty disputes turning into shootings that can injure or kill those involved as well as bystanders. Judge Peterson said that the person described in the presentence report hurts people, and sentenced McGowan to 2 years in prison consecutive to the sentences in his state cases. After his prison term, McGowan was also ordered to serve 3 years of supervised release.

The charge against McGowan was the result of an investigation conducted by the Madison Police Department and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The prosecution of the case has been handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Corey Stephan.

This case has been brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), the U.S. Justice Department’s program to reduce violent crime. The PSN approach emphasizes coordination between state and federal prosecutors and all levels of law enforcement to address gun crime, especially felons illegally possessing firearms and ammunition and violent and drug crimes that involve the use of firearms.

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