But U.S. Magistrate Judge Cheryl Pollak said Friday the court had found "that the city's actions do not constitute a crime or fraud."
This is not a final decision unless both parties agreed to allow a magistrate make a filal ruling. This is usually never done. The decision, though called that, is not a decision, it's a Report and Recomendation. The chief must sign off on it. Though both sides may like it in part and say they like it, both parties can write an objection to the parts they don't like. The chief judge takes it under advisement and makes a final ruling.
Pollak agreed with the city's argument that the buyer's intent is the critical factor in a straw purchase. And in the purchases made by the city's investigators, the buyer did not hand over the purchased gun later.
"No 'straw' sale took place because ownership was never transferred," the judge wrote.
Bloomberg's criminal justice coordinator, John Feinblatt, applauded the decision.
"What the court has said today is exactly what we've said — the only people who broke the law here were dealers who engaged in straw purchases," he said.
Legally, dead wrong. The ATF form is signed under penalty of perjury, the dealer must accept it. The FBI approved the sale. If the purchaser then transfers the airearm to another, then the purchaser committed the crime, not the dealer.
Now, if the goverment can prove that the dealer and purchaser were in cahootes with each other then that is a different story.