It was in response to the asserted Government threat that Ares sought a temporary restraining order (TRO) prohibiting the ATF from carrying out the threat. A U.S. District Judge for the Southern District of California granted the order requested by Ares. The TRO will remain in place to protect Ares until a forthcoming hearing on whether that protection will be made more permanent.
Seeking to restrain the threatened raid by the federal agency means of a preemptive TRO is a creative, and so far here, effective, method of preemptively protecting one’s Constitutional rights against an imminent threat to them by Government authorities in the course of a purported criminal investigation. The legal standards for extending that protection to a longer-term basis (in the form of a temporary or permanent injunction) are greater than those for obtaining the TRO, and thus the extension likely will be more difficult to obtain. But for persons facing a threatened destruction of their business in retaliation for their assertion of Constitutional privacy rights, as purportedly is Ares here, the proactive move certainly seems to be at least a worthwhile strategy. Experience suggests that the threat from ATF will be no greater because the owner chose this route than it would have been had he not.
Roger C. Wilson has represented a number of clients in connection with pending or threatened federal weapons- or firearms-related criminal charges. He has obtained resolution of some of those cases after indictment; and in others, by becoming involved at an early stage, prior to indictment, he has succeeded in avoiding the bringing of such charges at all. That these instances have involved consultations with and agreement by ATF agents does not mean that such a resolution always can be obtained in this way. The California case well illustrates how other means can be used when necessary.