News Article - October 27, 2009

By Nathan Gorenstein

  Damien Young was on his way to a new job in Phoenix and wanted to make the flight with his 9mm pistol. But he tried to side-step the rules, and today paid for it in federal court. Young, 29, who has since lost the job as a health care business analyst, was ordered to serve eight weekends in a halfway house and spend five years on probation. "It was a serious error of judgment," done to avoid the bothersome requirements to legally transport a weapon, said Catherine Henry, senior litigator with the federal public defender's office. U.S. District Court Judge Mitchell S. Goldberg said Young deserved more than probation, an outcome sought by Henry.

   Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephan A. Miller said Young was a victim of his own "bad judgment" and laziness, and asked for a period of incarceration. Still, there "was much to commend" a probationary sentence for Young, who did not have a criminal record at the time, he added. On June 4, Young tried to sneak the handgun aboard a U.S. Airways flight with the help of a friend, Roshid Milledge, a U.S. Airways customer-service representative, according to court documents. Milledge, who was Young's roommate before the move, allegedly smuggled the handgun into Philadelphia International Airport through an employee entrance. Young then met Milledge at the customer-service counter, where Young took the bag containing the gun.

   The two, however, were seen by a passenger who alerted authorities. The jet was stopped on the runway and police and airline officials ordered Young to take his two pieces of carry-on luggage and leave the airplane. Milledge's case is pending. To transport a gun by plane, it must be carried in checked baggage, locked inside a hard case, and a declaration form must be filed out. Young, who has completed his move to Arizona, said he is still in the market for a job.

Source - Philadelphia Inquirer