ALBANY, Ga. – A convicted felon caught carrying a firearm during a traffic stop in Lowndes County, Georgia, has pleaded guilty to his crime, said Peter D. Leary, the Acting U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia.
James Richard Shivers, 32, of Valdosta, pleaded guilty to one count possession of a firearm by a convicted felon before U.S District Judge Louis Sands in Albany federal court. Shivers faces a maximum sentence of ten years in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine. There is no parole in the federal system.
“Convicted felons are prohibited from possessing guns, and those who do will face the possibility of federal prosecution,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Leary. “I want to thank the Hahira Police Department for their partnership investigating federal gun cases.”
“It was great working with the U.S. Attorney’s Office on this case. The Project Safe Neighborhood program has been a great gateway to prosecute local offenders on the federal level and in the end keeping our neighborhoods safe just as the program is named. We look forward to working with the United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Georgia in the future and would like to thank all those involved,” said Hahira Police Department Cpl. Todd Pitchford.
At midnight on April 13, 2020, a Hahira Police Department officer was on patrol when he saw a pickup truck driven by the defendant that did not have a license plate or any type of temporary tag attached to it and conducted a routine traffic stop. Shivers did not have car insurance and the vehicle registration had been cancelled in 2017. The officer observed an open bottle of Jack Daniels whiskey in plain view. When the officer asked if anything illegal was in the truck, Shivers admitted that he had a firearm in the passenger side door. Shivers had previously been convicted in the Superior Court of Cook County, Georgia, of five counts of forgery and one count of theft by taking. It is illegal for a convicted felon to possess a firearm.
The case was investigated by the Hahira Police Department and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Alex Kalim. Questions can be directed to Pamela Lightsey, Public Information Officer, U.S. Attorney’s Office, at (478) 621-2603 or Melissa Hodges, Public Affairs Officer (Contractor), U.S. Attorney’s Office, at (478) 765-2362.