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9/22/2017 12:11:25 AM
Posted: 8/1/2005 2:56:06 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/1/2005 5:00:06 PM EDT by Phil_A_Steen]
Here's the story, RKBar15 points out this guy faced non_AWB charges.




The Journal News
March 22, 2002
Section: News
Page: 1B

Owner of arsenal given 5 years
Jonathan Bandler

Dobbs Ferry man's hobby got out of control, judge says

WHITE PLAINS - A Dobbs Ferry man who amassed an arsenal of assault weapons, rifles, handguns and bomb-making material was sentenced yesterday to five years in state prison, even though the judge suggested he was being treated too harshly for what was an out-of-control hobby.

State Supreme Court Justice Peter Rosato said James Neff was a "victim of the times" in a society ever more fearful of terrorism and bombings.

"I frankly don't think there's much danger that you'll harm society in the future," Rosato told Neff. "You took this hobby of yours, this interest of yours, to an extreme degree."

Rosato said he was impressed by the letters he received from Neff's supporters. He said the sentence was the minimum required by law but that he would write to state correction officials urging them to release Neff at the earliest possible time. Under state guidelines, if Neff has a good behavior record, he could be eligible for release after about four years and three months. He was also sentenced to a minimum of 2ÿ years of post-release supervision.

Neff pleaded guilty in December to first-degree criminal possession of a dangerous weapon and third-degree criminal possession of a weapon to satisfy a 58-count indictment. He admitted having 29 illegal guns and a homemade bomb consisting of a carbon dioxide cartridge filled with explosive powder, and could have faced up to 25 years in prison if convicted at trial.

"Mr. Neff basically had a hobby that got completely out of hand," said his lawyer, Clinton Calhoun. "He didn't intend to hurt anybody or damage any property."

Calhoun said he was disappointed that prosecutors had not offered Neff the opportunity to plead to a lesser felony.

Assistant District Attorney Timothy Ward had no comment about the sentencing. A spokeswoman for District Attorney Jeanine Pirro said the seizure and the prosecution were justified.

"There was a significant seizure of weapons that could have jeopardized that immediate neighborhood. That was a great concern to law enforcement," said the spokeswoman, Anne Marie Corbalis, who added that Neff could have gone to trial if he were dissatisfied with the plea negotiations. "There was no legitimate purpose for him to keep that type of (weaponry) in a residential neighborhood."

Neff, a machinist at Reveo Inc. in Elmsford, was arrested Sept. 12, 2000, after police investigating a break-in at his parents' Myrtle Drive home discovered two assault rifles. A subsequent search by village police and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms uncovered more than 150 rifles and handguns, as well as ammunition, bomb paraphernalia and explosive chemicals stored throughout the house. Authorities called it one of the largest weapons caches seized in Westchester, but Neff's supporters said he was simply a gun enthusiast who collected and made his own weapons.

Neff, a longtime member and former president of the Northern Westchester Rifle Association, ran the club's high-powered rifle team and frequently traveled to the Midwest for shooting competitions. Following his arrest, the Boy Scouts of America dismissed him as a volunteer rifle instructor for the Venturing Program, a group of high school students interested in marksmanship that met at a Pleasantville shooting range.

Neff apologized to his family, his employer and his "fellow sportsmen" for the embarrassment his arrest caused them. He said he was pleased some of his friends attended his sentencing yesterday, because it proved he wasn't a loner "as the newspapers and media portrayed me."

Three men who were there in support of Neff declined to comment.

The guns remain at Dobbs Ferry police headquarters. How they will be disposed of is undecided. Most of the guns were legal, and while Neff was not expecting to get them back, the gun club and some of its members had legitimate claims to some of the weapons, Calhoun said. The illegal guns and explosives will be destroyed.

Link Posted: 8/1/2005 3:06:04 PM EDT

April 1, 2002
Section: Opinion

Letter
Page: 4B

Judge too lenient with criminal

Readers

When a state Supreme Court justice take sides with a lawbreaker, then that justice should be investigated and removed from the bench.

Peter Rosato, in my opinion, should not be on the judiciary bench.

James Neff has clearly broken the law by having illegal firearms, and this judge has the gall to say this man has an "out-of-control hobby." ("Owner of arsenal given 5 years," March 22 story.) Peter Rosato obviously has no idea of the magnitude of his words, or maybe he has a propensity to shoot from the hip. What kind of message is he sending?

It's very clear to me that Peter Rosato does not fully understand the gravity of the position he holds by being a judge.

This judge has mollycoddled a criminal of the worst sort. The law clearly states that no one should own an illegal weapon. This judge does not seem to agree with this law.

James Neff received a measly five-year sentence for possessing guns and bombs and materials to make more bombs, and this judge says the sentence was too harsh for his hobby.

It's scary to think that this is the kind of person we have for a Supreme Court justice.

Eddie Sauls

Mount Vernon


Link Posted: 8/1/2005 3:08:07 PM EDT

September 16, 2000
Section: News
Page: 1A


Search uncovers more guns
Jonathan Bandler

Richard Liebson
Staff

Dobbs Ferry man's motives, history still unclear, police say

Jonathan Bandler and Richard Liebson

The Journal News

DOBBS FERRY - Investigators found another pipe bomb, four more machine guns and thousands of rounds of ammunition yesterday in the Dobbs Ferry home where a machinist had spent several years amassing an arsenal, authorities said.

It was the second major search of the 85 Myrtle Ave. home of James Neff this week. The bulk of the weapons - more than 150 rifles, handguns, grenades and bomb-making materials - were seized Tuesday after village police became suspicious while investigating a burglary at the house, which the 38-year-old Neff shared with his parents and brother.

"He had enough to do quite a bit of damage," said Joseph Green, a special agent with the federal bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. "I don't think any of the bombs would have taken down the house, but they certainly would have killed or maimed anyone in close proximity had they been detonated."

Green said the ATF will trace the history of the seized weapons to determine where they came from and how they ended up in Neff's house. The origin of some of the firearms may never be found because their serial numbers have been removed, he said.

Meanwhile, authorities were still trying to piece together Neff's background to find out why he had the arsenal. Dobbs Ferry police are being assisted by investigators from the Westchester County District Attorney's office, the county bomb squad, the ATF and the FBI.

"We need to get a sense of who this defendant is," said District Attorney Jeanine Pirro, who spent about two hours at the scene yesterday. "We want to find out more about who James Neff is and what organizations he belonged to."

Police do know that Neff was a former president of the Northern Westchester Rifle Association and headed the club's high-powered weapons team. Several members of the association would not comment yesterday, but club president James Burkhardt said Neff was a gun enthusiast who took competitive shooting seriously.

"I've seen him with lots of guns, but I never saw anything illegal," said Burkhardt, of Croton-on-Hudson. "They're drawing a picture of a subversive here, but he's not that. He's a machinist, he reloads his own ammunition and he probably uses thousands of rounds when he practices for competitions."

Burkhardt said he had no idea what Neff was doing with some of the other items that were seized, including grenades and bombs.

"I've never seen him hurt a fly," he said.

In addition to the weapons and explosives, authorities also seized numerous documents related to Neff's guns and said they were looking into trips he took to out-of-state gun ranges and shooting expeditions. Also removed from the house were gun cabinets, computer equipment, lathes and a drill press.

For hours yesterday, the sound of clinking metal could be heard as detectives dumped boxes of live ammunition and bullet shells into large metal garbage cans. In the early afternoon, the bomb squad fanned out over the yard with metal detectors, digging in several locations, but finding nothing.

Neff's parents and brother were evacuated from the house after a pipe bomb was found in a crawlspace off the basement.

Four machine guns and several handguns were also found in a similar area.

Later, a wine cellar beneath a backyard patio was also searched, but produced no additional arms.

Investigators from the Medical Examiner's Office even arrived to check a pile of debris in the wooded area behind the Neff house. The debris appeared to be decomposed diapers. The investigators took no samples and spent only a few minutes in the yard.

Neff's family members were allowed to return to their home yesterday evening.

Neff is being held without bail on felony weapons charges at the Westchester County Jail in Valhalla. His lawyer appeared in county court in White Plains yesterday to ask that bail be set, but state Supreme Court Judge John Perone refused the request.


Link Posted: 8/1/2005 3:09:31 PM EDT

Press Release

New York's Senator
CHARLES E. SCHUMER


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE September 19, 2000


SCHUMER ASKS US ATTORNEY TO TRACE GUNS SEIZED IN DOBBS FERRY ARREST

Senator: Traces May Stem the Flow of Illegal Guns into the Area

US Senator Charles E. Schumer today wrote to US Attorney Mary Jo White to ask that her office trace the guns that were seized in last week's arrest of Dobbs Ferry resident James Neff. Police recovered 160 guns, 150 pounds of gunpowder, and bomb-making materials in their raid on Neff's home.

In his letter, Schumer wrote that he believes that "this arrest may provide important clues into the local gun trafficking market and through a thorough investigation may make it possible to stem the flow of illegal guns into the area. We may also be able to identify dirty gun stores and gun runners."

Specifically, Schumer asked the US Attorney to request that authorities from the Bureau of

Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) trace each of the 160 guns to identify the original gun dealers and their respective bases of operations. In addition, he asked the US Attorney to determine whether James Neff was the original purchaser of the guns or if others bought them first and then resold them to him. Finally, he asked whether any of the weapons were bought at gun shows or over the internet.

"The number of weapons found in the home of James Neff suggests the possibility of massive gun trafficking. As you may know, 80% of the guns traced to crime in the New York metropolitan area originally came from other states. That is because New York State's gun laws are strict compared to other states and criminals need to obtain their guns through an underground, illegal market that is tough for law enforcement to penetrate," Schumer wrote.

A report written by Schumer entitled "War Between the States" analyzed 1999 gun trafficking patterns and found that New York was one of the nation's leading victims states as 1,685 guns from local crimes originated from Florida, Georgia, the Carolinas and Virginia. Only 61 guns used by criminals in those 5 Southeastern states were originally sold in New York.

"It is rare that law enforcement is able to make an arrest where 160 weapons are recovered. We should treat each of these guns as a separate clue to a possibly much larger set of crimes," Schumer wrote. Schumer is the author of legislation that increases funding for ATF agents and gives law enforcement greater authority to investigate high crime gun dealers. The bill, called

ENFORCE, also requires all guns to file ballistics DNA with law enforcement. Schumer also supports legislation to license and register handguns and limit handgun purchases to one per month. He also helped launch Project Exile, the federal program that imposes tougher federal sentencing guidelines for criminals who use guns in the commission of their crimes.

A copy of Schumer's letter is available upon request.

# # #




Link Posted: 8/1/2005 3:12:53 PM EDT
There are a few more articles at the Journal News but none really add any detail and I don't feel like paying any more $$$ to get them.
Link Posted: 8/1/2005 3:41:09 PM EDT
Yeah that was the idiot from Dobbs Ferry who had bombs and machine guns in his house. When he was arrested the NY AWB wasn't in effect yet so he couldn't have been convicted for violating it.
Link Posted: 8/1/2005 4:42:05 PM EDT
Well maybe you're correct. My memory was fuzzier than I thought.

So dies an urban legend.
Link Posted: 8/1/2005 5:32:13 PM EDT
He had machine guns? Is that why the BATFE was involved?
Link Posted: 8/1/2005 7:55:39 PM EDT

Originally Posted By rkbar15:
Yeah that was the idiot from Dobbs Ferry who had bombs and machine guns in his house. When he was arrested the NY AWB wasn't in effect yet so he couldn't have been convicted for violating it.



It says


Neff, a machinist at Reveo Inc. in Elmsford, was arrested Sept. 12, 2000, after police investigating a break-in at his parents' Myrtle Drive home discovered two assault rifles


The AWB went into effect in 1994 right?
Link Posted: 8/1/2005 9:36:52 PM EDT

Originally Posted By BigB1129:

Originally Posted By rkbar15:
Yeah that was the idiot from Dobbs Ferry who had bombs and machine guns in his house. When he was arrested the NY AWB wasn't in effect yet so he couldn't have been convicted for violating it.



It says


Neff, a machinist at Reveo Inc. in Elmsford, was arrested Sept. 12, 2000, after police investigating a break-in at his parents' Myrtle Drive home discovered two assault rifles


The AWB went into effect in 1994 right?




BigB ... the Federal AWB went into effect in 1994, but the NY AWB was not in effect at the time of his arrest. For him to be charged with violating the federal AWB, he would have had to have been tried in Federal Court, not in NYS Supreme Court.
Link Posted: 8/2/2005 3:44:40 AM EDT
Wait a minute RBBar15, that jogs my memory a bit - when his home was originally looked in they found two postban AWs and that's what led to the second search. Although you are correct, that would have been a federal violation at the time.
Link Posted: 8/2/2005 4:16:33 AM EDT
Why did NYS come up with their own AWB during the Federal ban. Did NY know that the Federal ban was going to expire in 2004.
Link Posted: 8/2/2005 4:41:22 AM EDT

Originally Posted By ThePrisoner72:
Why did NYS come up with their own AWB during the Federal ban. Did NY know that the Federal ban was going to expire in 2004.


From Pataki's Press release from 2000 :

"As a result of this legislation, State prosecutors will now be able to prosecute the possession and sale of assault weapons."

Since before the passage of the NY law it was only a federal crime, NY prosecutors could not prosecute charges.

Re-reading this old press release reminded again of all the BS five years ago and how it was flowing again this past year It is amazing how "wonderful" all this legislation was five years ago and how it is now a terrible bill and needs to be strengthed. I have to go puke now...
Link Posted: 8/2/2005 6:54:49 AM EDT

Originally Posted By ThePrisoner72:
Why did NYS come up with their own AWB during the Federal ban. Did NY know that the Federal ban was going to expire in 2004.



The original AWB that was passed by the NYS Assembly was an outright ban on AW's and the Senate with Pataki's support came up with the current AWB which the Assembly accepted and the rest is history.
Link Posted: 8/2/2005 7:03:45 AM EDT

Originally Posted By ThePrisoner72:
Why did NYS come up with their own AWB during the Federal ban. Did NY know that the Federal ban was going to expire in 2004.



Nobody at that time expected the Federal Assault Weapon Ban to sunset on its 10 year anniversary in 2004.

But in an effort to allow New York State to prosecute its own citizens and make them Class E Felons, they ennacted the New York State AWB. That way, if the Federal prosecutores declined to press charges against a New York resident who violated the Federal AWB or allowed the charges to be plea bargained away, then the New York prosecutors could go after them for violating a NY State law.



Link Posted: 8/2/2005 7:05:24 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Aardvark:
Re-reading this old press release reminded again of all the BS five years ago and how it was flowing again this past year It is amazing how "wonderful" all this legislation was five years ago and how it is now a terrible bill and needs to be strengthed. I have to go puke now...



Yes that's exactly how the anti-gun agenda works. They knew very well when they passed the current AWB that it was nothing more then a foot in the door. First to be banned outright will semi-autos next will be pumps until all firearms in NY are banned. It won't happen overnight but it will happen eventually if we don't get more pro-gun politicians in the NYS Legislature.
Link Posted: 8/2/2005 6:49:51 PM EDT

Originally Posted By JayJay4735:

Originally Posted By BigB1129:

Originally Posted By rkbar15:
Yeah that was the idiot from Dobbs Ferry who had bombs and machine guns in his house. When he was arrested the NY AWB wasn't in effect yet so he couldn't have been convicted for violating it.



It says


Neff, a machinist at Reveo Inc. in Elmsford, was arrested Sept. 12, 2000, after police investigating a break-in at his parents' Myrtle Drive home discovered two assault rifles


The AWB went into effect in 1994 right?




BigB ... the Federal AWB went into effect in 1994, but the NY AWB was not in effect at the time of his arrest. For him to be charged with violating the federal AWB, he would have had to have been tried in Federal Court, not in NYS Supreme Court.




I see, so he did have rifles that violate the AWB but was not charged? I dont understand that. WHy does the federal law not matter?
Link Posted: 8/3/2005 7:32:13 AM EDT
I don't know if he had any firearms that violated the Federal AWB. If he did violate the AWB the ATF or AUSA chose not to pursue the matter. I don't believe that action would have been unusual for standalone AWB violations.

He plead guilty to possession of an explosive substance with intent to use the same unlawfully against the person or property of another. He also plead guilty to one other dangerous weapons charge of the indictment but I'm not sure of the specifics. He was released from prison in 2004 and is currently on parole.

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