“There are gun possession cases, then there are gun possession cases”

Sentence: 5-10 years incarceration

  • 10/5/2016
  • Commonwealth v. Tobin
  • Judge Charles Erlich
  • Philadelphia County
  • No Contest

On October 5th, 2016 the final sentence was handed down to a defendant convicted of a Montgomery County gun show theft.  In 2014 Mr. Tobin had stolen a gun from a gun show and brought it home with him.  Due to his criminal record, Mr. Tobin was prohibited from owning any type of firearm.  Nevertheless, his inability to possess a firearm did not stop him from posting images on social media cited that showed him target shooting with the stolen gun.

Mr. Tobin had a tumultuous relationship with his then-girlfriend.  One evening in 2015 she discovered the stolen firearm in their home and threatened to report it to the police.  Mr. Tobin then hatched a scheme and called the police himself.  He lied and said that he found the gun in his yard.  Per police protocol they confiscated the gun.

Later, Mr. Tobin was recorded speaking to a person about his need to replace that gun.  During that conversation he said he was holding the gun for The Pagans.  He described the gun in perfect detail down to its missing hammer.  His description matched the gun that the police had confiscated.

Mr. Tobin pled no contest to the illegal possession of a firearm and waited in prison for over a year before his sentencing date.  Gun-violence task force prosecutor JT Tartikoff recommended a sentence of 5-10 years in prison.  Mr. Tartikoff cited Mr. Tobin’s riminal history dating back to 1983 as one of the reasons for such a strong sentence.  He also pointed to the troubling information that Mr. Tobin was holding the gun for the alleged crime organization, The Pagans.  Mr. Tartikoff announced the presence of CeaseFirePA in the courtroom and highlighted the work we do on the issue of gun violence prevention.  After hearing fromthe  defense, the government, and Mr. Tobin himself the honorable Charles Erlich considered the defendant’s history, mitigating factors, and the gravity of the crime.  He handed down a sentence of five years’ incarceration.   “There are gun possession cases and then there are gun possession cases,” Judge Erlic said.  He emphasized  that this was not merely a individual who was pulled over and had a gun (who shouldn’t have) but a long-time offender who rejected  every chance he was given.   Judge Erlic recognized the severity and disturbing revelation about who Mr. Tobin was holding the gun for, and the addition of yet another illegal gun into the streets of our city.

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