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Felon may have right to compensation for seized guns.

Wednesday December 15, 2004

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) A felon, whose gun collection was seized by police,A fmay be entitled to compensation for the property, the state's highest court has ruled.

Even though convicted felons are not allowed to own firearms, Robert Serio retains his property rights because he has not been convicted of illegally possessing the weapons, the Maryland Court of Appeals said Tuesday.

And while he isn't supposed to have the guns, Baltimore County police have no right to them.

"The county cannot retain the firearms just because Serio cannot possess them," Judge Lynne A. Battaglia wrote for the court.

The decision sends the case back to lower court for a decision on what to do with the guns.

Police seized seven handguns, five rifles, a shotgun, a silencer and ammunition from Serio's home in 1999 when he pleaded guilty to auto manslaughter, involving a passenger thrown from his car in a crash. Serio was sentenced to six months in jail.

At the time of the seizure, he had lined up a buyer for the guns, one of which is worth at least $30,000, said his lawyer, William N. Butler.

Is there hope for NUTTY JOHN?
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