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Wife's guns: Bremerton man fighting firearms charge on principle

Discussion in 'Legal & Political Archive' started by Joe Link, Dec 21, 2009.

  1. Joe Link

    Joe Link Portland, OR Well-Known Member Staff Member Lifetime Supporter 2015 Volunteer 2016 Volunteer

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    Original story here: http://www.thenewstribune.com/news/local/story/1002277.html

     
  2. bolen05

    bolen05 Vancouver, WA Member

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    quite a predicament but sometimes in life we have to do things we don't want to for the sake of our children. the greater harm here is this young man allowing the possibility of his baby growing up without its daddy! I understand principle but pull your head out and look what is at stake!!
     
  3. kenr74

    kenr74 Oregon Active Member

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    I'm not sure I understand how he could be guilty of "possessing" a firearm if they were not even his. Just because they were in the same house does not mean that he is possessing them. I'm sure there are a lot of felons living with people that do have guns. Are they all next?
     
  4. Fjolnirsson

    Fjolnirsson Western Oregon Member

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    No, the greater harm is this man's daughter growing up knowing it's appropriate to bow your head and say whatever is needed to keep the government from destroying your life, even if it means lying. There's right and there's wrong, and what the DA is doing is wrong, even if it's the law. To plead guilty would be to go against his moral compass.
     
  5. wichaka

    wichaka Wa State Well-Known Member

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    He can not reside in any residence that has firearms, whether they are his or not.

    Since he and his wife are the only adults in the residence, it falls under constructive possession as he still has control over the guns whether they are his or not.

    If he got a notice that he was not to own/posses firearms, it will be hard to beat. Just depends on how it was worded.
     
  6. ZachS

    ZachS Eugene/PDX Active Member

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    It's called constructive possession - a doctrine needed, for example, to prosecute people with drugs, stolen property, or other contraband in their homes or cars but not in their direct physical possession. It's long-settled law.

    I wouldn't be too upset if the jury acquitted this guy, but he's most likely guilty of the charge - generally, the only legal defense in a situation like this is not knowing that you're a felon.

    His defense is along the lines of "I knew I was a felon, but the government let me handle dangerous chemicals, and so I thought I could have guns, but they weren't mine anyway." The jury will probably have to defy some very specific instructions from the judge in order to buy that argument...
     
  7. Chee-to

    Chee-to Oregon Well-Known Member

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    The guy broke the law, ignorance is no excuse, he receive a "letter from the Department of Corrections that said he could not own guns, but he believed the so-called “firearms notice” covered only the time he was on probation for the burglaries," wrong. Just because you don't know you're breaking the law, doesn't mean you're not guilty of breaking it. "He could say that on one day in 2008, he illegally possessed a firearm. He’d be on the hook for some court fines but he’d be able to go home to his wife, Rebecca, and their 4-year-old daughter, Sophia.

    But he won’t plead.

    He believes doing so would be a lie."


    Excuse me, it's not a lie, he broke the law. Get caught carrying a concealed weapon without a CHL and try using "I didn't know it was against law" as a defense and see what happens. If he's willing to do 10 years, and deprive his daughter of a dad, and his family of a bread winner to satisfy his pride and ego, what lesson is that teaching ?
     
  8. PBinWA

    PBinWA Clark County Well-Known Member

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    From a debate perspective though, his wife who is not a felon is being denied her second amendment rights which are guaranteed under the highest law of the land. It's an interesting "rights" argument. Obviously, it is easy to say that if you can't do the time don't do the crime. But doesn't his wife have a right to guns regardless of what her husband did?

    I think it is an interesting issue.
     
  9. Fjolnirsson

    Fjolnirsson Western Oregon Member

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    Without access to the document he received, neither you nor I can say who is in the right. I have received my fair share of clerical errors from government agencies, some fairly serious.

    As for ignorance of the law being no excuse, I used to believe that B.S., too. There are so many laws on the books now, EVERYONE is guilty of something. Period.

    Plain and simple, whether he knew or not, we now have another kid who won't trust the police. Her father called them for help, and the police took him away. Whether he's telling the truth or lying, we don't know. My point is, if he's in the right, pleading guilty is wrong. Morals mean something.
     
  10. slingshot1943

    slingshot1943 salem or Well-Known Member

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    When you have done your time there should not be any record even. Why does a person do time or probation or what ever if they never let go of him. Making it harder to get a job isn't going to help keep anyone out of trouble.
     
  11. Fjolnirsson

    Fjolnirsson Western Oregon Member

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    Exactly. If a person isn't able to be trusted with a gun, they shouldn't be out on the street. If someone is so dangerous as to never be trusted to defend themselves, they should be rotting in the ground, not running free.

    There should be no second class citizens in a free society.

    Threadjack over.
     
  12. shibbershabber

    shibbershabber Vancouver Well-Known Member

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    So does being a man and accepting responsibility for your actions.

    He made choices that made him a felon. It is his responsibility to understand how that affects his life.

    I am not a felon, and know that you cannot be in a house with guns if a felon. I am not a felon, but I know that a simple procedure is available that will restore lost rights, including gun rights.

    He's trying to put a noble face on stubbornness, at the expense of his family.


    This guy is a fool who doesnt know how to pick his battles. His kids need a father, period. All he is going to get is a new boyfriend in jail, and his family will be ruined forever.

    GROW UP AND THINK OF YOUR FAMILY!


    That being said, I think he should get off. If I were on the jury, I would acquit him without question.
     
  13. Gunner3456

    Gunner3456 Salem Well-Known Member

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    Ignorance of the law is no excuse. That is long settled law.

    This guy doesn't seem to think the law applies to him. I think he's in deep doo doo due to stupidity and stubbornness.

    Also, this isn't a jury question. A jury is called "the finder of fact." However, here the facts aren't in question. He's a felon. He was living in a house with guns. Those are the facts. This is a question of law. The judge can override the jury. In fact the judge can stop the trial and rule on the law if he finds there is no question of the facts.

    You have a right to a jury only when the facts are in question. "Is it more likely than not" or "is it true beyond a reasonable doubt?" Those are jury questions.

    The facts aren't in question. He's a felon. He was living in a house with guns. There's nothing for a jury to deliberate.
     
  14. Chee-to

    Chee-to Oregon Well-Known Member

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    Guess what, to my knowledge there has been no mass mailings of all the firearms laws on the books, and they very state to state, if you're in possession of one it's your responsibility to know the law.

    When it comes to firearms you had better know the law, and that ain't BS.

    He's a convicted felon in possession of a firearm, what's right about that ? As far as his daughter is concerned, he needs to man up and explain that he screwed up. The court said they would let him off and he can go home to his family, it's his choice to let her possibly grow up with out a father, who do you think she's gonna be pissed at ? As far as I'm concerned kids come before anything else, and to choose otherwise is what's morally wrong.
     
  15. keitha300wsm

    keitha300wsm Lebanon, OR Member

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    The prosecuter is being an ***. With his view anyone that goes 56 in a 55 is guilty of breaking the law. The laws are written so if someone is doing 80 in a 55 the police have the authority to write a ticket for going over 55, without the law the police could do nothing. The felon in possession law gives police a tool to use if they need it. In this case its 56 in a 55 "you broke our law". This is the problem with all these laws, they're enforced to the letter on citizens, but the scum that don't care and break all the laws know they'll be out in a week because the jails are full of people doing 56 in a 55.
     
  16. bolen05

    bolen05 Vancouver, WA Member

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    we track people's crimes so we can determine who are habitual offenders and escalate the penalties for people who continually disregard the law. If you disregard the law you are wrong- if you disagree with a law work to change it. This guy's argument of ingorance is retarded and he deserves to be punished. He is lucky the DA is willing to deal and he should take the deal. I agree we have a huge number of laws and most everyone is technically breaking the law somehow but felon in posession of a firearm is not one of those obscure laws. this guy is 100% wrong and allowing access to flammable chemicals does not mean he is allowed to carry a firearm and is not a logical deduction.
     
  17. MarkAd

    MarkAd Port Orchard Well-Known Member

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    The guy broke the law, true, but did the legal system clearly in understandable language detail his revised rights as a felon on his release from custody and did they inform him of the process to regain those rights. Annd are they "legal system required to do so?
     
  18. Gunner3456

    Gunner3456 Salem Well-Known Member

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    Sorry, again ignorance is no excuse. No, they are not required to tell him about it. Who on this board didn't know a felon can't have guns? He's had all this time to hear that from someone, I suppose. I can't believe he didn't know it. But even if he didn't...

    I'm wondering if he has an attorney or if he's just tilting at windmills? I can't imagine an attorney letting him talk that much. He's hanged himself already.

    Never talk to the police and never let them in your house. We have another thread going on not talking to them.

    If that article has the facts right, here's what would normally happen. It would go to trial. The prosecution would present its case proving that he's a felon, that he was living with guns, and that not only did the police see the guns, but that he admitted they had been there since he got married.

    He would then present his "defense." He'd get a rash of "irrelevant" and "immaterial" objections every time he said something such as he is saying in that article. The objections would be sustained. He has no defense under the law in those statements.

    After he rests his case, the prosecution will make a motion to the judge that there are no relevant facts in dispute. He's a felon in possession and admits it.

    During the trial the judge makes all rulings on the law. The jury only makes findings of fact. The jury will be dismissed if no relevant facts are in dispute for a jury to decide. The judge then rules that the law finds him guilty.

    If he's lucky the judge still gives him probation and a fine. If he's not lucky (and judges don't like it when people don't respect the law and tend to want to teach them a lesson) he gets time.

    The guys an idiot from start to finish.
     
  19. tionico

    tionico Thurston County Well-Known Member

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    you guys calling him an idiot and stupid are cruel, hearless, and vindictive. I've known most of my life a convicted felon can't own a firearm unless he's had his rights restored. But I never would have guessed he could not even live in a house with someone else's arms. That deprives TWO people of their rights.

    I've also been amazed, many times, at the number of crimes listed as felonies, thus depriving a man of his right to arms, that have no bearing on whether the man can be trusted with them. Breaking into a school is grounds for denying him his rights under the Second ammendment? And his right to vote? How about of assembly, free speech, etc? No, the real crime here is branding someone a criminal for liand fe for being a stupid kid. I thought such records could be expunged when he turned 21?

    and WHY does a man who has paid his dues for his misdoings not have his forfeited rights restored without the expense of another court hearing? Seems if all he'd been required to do was take care of that legal bit of foolery, a court could easily find he should have had the right to arms once more.

    Further, it has been my understanding that a jury has the responsibility to do far more than find facts. A computer can do that, so why seat a jury? Juries used to be instructed they have full discretion to decide on the facts, whether true or false, ANd whether the law in question is right law, is properly being applied in this instance, and even make calls as to the justice of the matter at hand. In this case, the man has been a productive citizen, has served his time for his adolescent stupidity, was unaware of his rights still being forfeit, has reasonable cause to believe whatever rights were forfeit have since been restored, knew the arms in question were not his but someone else's. Now, add in the fact that breaking into a school is not the sort of thing that would render one untrustworthy with arms, that his lost rights were, or should have been, or could have been, restored long ago upon completion of his required sentence, and that the arms found in his residence were not his. Further, this case, and the possible sentence, could easily be considered "cruel and unusual" punishment, far beyond anything commensurate with his actions. Add to that the concept of double jeopardy, as it does seem he is again on trial for his actions when he was a stupid 19 year old. And I'd be curious to know one more detail: has he been registered to vote, and has he voted in any election since his probation/sentence were completeed? One's right to vote goes right along with one's right to arms, when it comes to felony convictions.

    Further, the jury has the right to decide whether the law is being fairly applied in this case, as it seems this man has demonstrated his responsibililty and uprightness in the time since his youth, that he poses no danger to society and therefore should not be debarred the use of arms. The jury should also be able to determine that, at least in this case, his action in breaking into a school does not constitute such an heinous crime as to render him untrustworthy for life in regards voting and arms.

    Judges these days seem to be overzealous in jury instructions, failing to instruct them in the latitude thay have, and their responsibility to judge on more than facts alone. Sure, the practice seems to be to limit the jury to finding facts alone, removing their ability to determine what is right and just. I know if I were on that jury I would, on the basis of what we now know, acquit, even in the face of a judges clear, but illegal, instructions to limit myself to a simple determination of facts.

    What we have here is a stupid and overzealous cop, who never should have written him up, and a very stupid and vindictive prosecutor, bent upon inflicting the greatest punishment possible on an otherwise law-abiding and upright citizen. He should dismiss this case entirely in the interests of justice, and even move for the court to immediately and fully restore this man's right to arms, and to vote. I happen to know there are plenty of REAL crimes being committed on a regular basis in that area, and the sheriff's officers do little enough to prevent or solve them. I happen to know, personally, another man who allowed himself to get into a stupid situation at 18, was charged with an insanely serious crime and severly punished, and will be for the rest of his life, by an overzealous cop and (likely the same) stupid prosecutor. He opted for a plea bargain, because a heavy prison sentence loomed. I rather suspect that, had he gone to trial with a good lawyer and proper jury instrictions he'd have been acquitted. His "victim" was the aggressor in this situation, violated some serious laws, yet was never charged. let alone prosecuted. Kitsap County seem to have some rather perverse law enforcement personnel.

    Whoever suggested that the aspect of this which is out of line with reality is a legal system that makes a criminal of such a man has it right. There needs to be a serious re-evaluation of what sorts of crimes result in a man's forfeiture of his constitutional rights. Crimes against simple property should not qualify, only crimes against persons inflicting (or likely to do) harm to one's person. Even a DUI, which clearly shows one's lack of care for the safety of others on the road, does not debar one the use of arms, nor the right to vote. Yet breaking into a building does? I hope this guy gets a jury who will uphold their FULL responsibility to serving justice. Unless there are serious elements missing from this story, this man should be fully acquitted, AND have any remaining restrictions removed.
     
  20. Gunner3456

    Gunner3456 Salem Well-Known Member

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    Don't ever represent yourself in court. A jury doesn't have the right to decide if the law is being applied fairly. It can decide only guilt or innocence. If guilt is already established which it appears to be here, then it's the judge's place to decide if the law is being applied fairly.

    I think you are confusing cases where a jury found someone innocent just because they felt like it, which they can do if facts are in dispute. The defendant must have plead not guilty on the facts.

    This guy appears to have already stated he's guilty under the law on the facts. Felon in possession. Now the idiot just wants to argue irrelevant and immaterial matters.

    He's an idiot for not taking the plea deal. The judge and the prosecutors are trying to give him a break and he won't take it. If he pushes it like this, the judge will probably hammer him down to show him some respect for the law.

    If the facts in that story are correct, he's an idiot and a loser.