Shipley Appeal Presents Former FBI Agent’s Side of Gun Charges

FBI cap Handgun revolver iStock-ASphotowed 859570532.jpg
FBI cap Handgun revolver iStock-ASphotowed 859570532.jpg

USA –-( A copy of the “Brief of Defendant-Appellant” in the case of United States v. John Thomas Shipley has now been provided to Gun Rights Examiner by a source close to the former FBI agent convicted of dealing firearms without a license in April of last year. The brief raises several points of contention that are made all the more compelling in light of revelations reported in this column last week that a request for a 30-day extension by the defense after the government admitted to losing a full day’s testimony under highly mysterious circumstances.

Among the issues the defense calls to the Fifth Circuit Court’s attention, several stand out to this correspondent, not necessarily as the most legally relevant, but certainly having bearing on the rationale and morality of the prosecution.

“Shipley reinvested every penny back into his gun collection and the government presented not a scintilla of evidence that Shipley’s buying and selling guns for his collection had the principal objective of livelihood and profit,” the brief points out. That would certainly appear relevant to drawing a distinction between an enthusiastic and prolific collector and a professional dealer.

“The district court abused its discretion in excluding Shipley’s sole requested character witness given the Government’s vicious attacks on Shipley’s integrity and given its closing argument references to Shipley’s ‘lies’,” the brief reveals.  “The district court abused its discretion in refusing to instruct the jury that evidence of Shipley’s honesty, integrity, and character as a law-abiding citizen can give rise to reasonable doubt in and of itself.”

Perhaps most troubling and outrageous is the accusation that “the prosecutors fabricated a story that a firearm that Shipley once owned killed a Mexican army captain, and showed the jury photos of weapons and armament in Mexico that had no connection to this case whatsoever, [and] they improperly sought to inflame the jury with emotional appeal…”

A copy of the brief has been posted to this correspondent’s Scribd account for reference. On reading the details, it’s clear there is more to this case than just a slam dunk conviction.  One other more general and illustrative concern is also evident, that if Shipley waits for the “Authorized Journalist” mainstream press to take an interest in his appeal, he’ll be a forgotten man to all but his family and friends.

About David Codrea

David Codrea is a long-time gun rights advocate who defiantly challenges the folly of citizen disarmament. He is a field editor for GUNS Magazine, and a blogger at The War on Guns: Notes from the Resistance. Read more at

David Codrea