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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

District of Montana

For Immediate Release

Wednesday May 23, 2012

Michael W. Cotter, United States Attorney

Contact: Jessica T. Fehr, Assistant U.S. Attorney
(406) 247- 4637

Bobby James Laney Sentenced in U.S. District Court

The United States Attorney’s Office announced that during a federal court session in Billings, on May 23, 2012, before Chief U.S. District Judge Richard F. Cebull, BOBBY JAMES LANEY, a 25–year–old resident of Billings, appeared for sentencing. LANEY was sentenced to a term of:

  • Prison: 84 months, consecutive to another sentence
  • Special Assessment: $200
  • Supervised Release: 3 years

LANEY was sentenced in connection with his guilty plea to being a felon–inpossession of a firearm and in possession of a stolen firearm.

In an Offer of Proof filed by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Ed Zink, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:

On July 17, 2006, LANEY was convicted of felony robbery and thereby prohibited from possessing firearms. When released from prison, LANEY was placed under the supervision of the Montana Department of Corrections.

In the early morning hours of July 23, 2011, Billings Police officers were looking for two federal fugitives wanted for tampering with federal witnesses. Officers went to a location where they were told the fugitive may be and attempted to make contact with the group of people they observed next to a vehicle. LANEY ran on foot from the vehicle and officers chased him. As one of the officer was chasing LANEY and gaining on him, the officer saw LANEY reaching into his waistband area.

Suddenly, LANEY tripped and fell to the ground. As he did so, the officer heard the distinctive sound of a gun hitting the ground. The officer told LANEY to stay on the ground, but LANEY tried to get up and the officer tazed him. After a struggle, the officer placed handcuffs on LANEY and secured him. The officer then recovered the firearm LANEY had tossed. It was a Magnum Research Desert Eagle .45. It was loaded with one round in the chamber and eight more in the magazine.

Further investigation revealed that this firearm was stolen only a few hours before LANEY was caught with it.

Because there is no parole in the federal system, the “truth in sentencing” guidelines mandate that LANEY will likely serve all of the time imposed by the court. In the federal system, LANEY does have the opportunity to earn a sentence reduction for good behavior. However, this reduction will not exceed 15% of the overall sentence.

The investigation was a cooperative effort between the Billings Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.