• Category Archives Legal
  • Democrat Federal Judge Rules AR-15′s Are “Dangerous and Unusual,” Not Protected by 2nd Amendment

    Upon review of all the parties’ evidence, the court seriously doubts that the banned assault long guns are commonly possessed for lawful purposes, particularly self-defense in the home, which is at the core of the Second Amendment right, and is inclined to find the weapons fall outside Second Amendment protection as dangerous and unusual.

    First, the court is not persuaded that assault weapons are commonly possessed based on the absolute number of those weapons owned by the public. Even accepting that there are 8.2 million assault weapons in the civilian gun stock, as the plaintiffs claim, assault weapons represent no more than 3% of the current civilian gun stock, and ownership of those weapons is highly concentrated in less than 1% of the U.S. population.

    The court is also not persuaded by the plaintiffs’ claims that assault weapons are used infrequently in mass shootings and murders of law enforcement officers. The available statistics indicate that assault weapons are used disproportionately to their ownership in the general public and, furthermore, cause more injuries and more fatalities when they are used.

    As for their claims that assault weapons are well-suited for self-defense, the plaintiffs proffer no evidence beyond their desire to possess assault weapons for self-defense in the home that they are in fact commonly used, or possessed, for that purpose.

    Finally, despite the plaintiffs’ claims that they would like to use assault weapons for defensive purposes, assault weapons are military-style weapons designed for offensive use, and are equally, or possibly even more effective, in functioning and killing capacity as their fully automatic versions.

    – U.S. District Judge Catherine C. Blake

  • Ginny Simone Reporting “Justice in New Jersey? ” (Shaneen Allen Report)

    Shaneen Allen was arrested and charged with illegally carrying a firearm in New Jersey, even though she legally owned the gun and had a concealed carry permit for it in Pennsylvania. The single mother of two young children spent 46 days behind bars and now, being denied a motion of dismissal or admission to a pre-trial intervention program, she is facing up to three and a half years in prison — all for what she readily admits was a honest mistake.

    Tune in to http://www.NRANews.com/Ginny every week for the latest from Ginny Simone.

  • Gun lobby’s campaign donations drop in NY since passage of SAFE Act

    The National Rifle Association(NRA) logo PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images The National Rifle Association(NRA) logo

    Here is the lead item from my “Albany Insider” column in Monday’s editions:

    National pro-gun groups have largely holstered their checkbooks since the passage of Gov. Cuomo’s tough gun control law early last year.

    The National Rifle Association, the National Shooting Sports Federation, and gun manufacturers have donated just $33,893 to candidates in New York since the beginning of 2013, far less than in previous two-year election cycles, a Daily News review determined.

    By comparison, the groups gave candidates a more robust $110,000 from 2011 through the end of 2012. That was before state lawmakers passed Cuomo’s controversial SAFE Act in January 2013, just a month after the Newtown, Conn. elementary school massacre.

    The state Senate GOP, in particular, has taken the biggest hit — even though most Senate Republicans voted against the gun control law. Insiders say the GOP has taken heat for allowing the measure to come to the floor for a vote.

    The National Shooting Sports Foundation, an industry trade group, hasn’t donated a dime to the state Senate Republican Campaign Committee since the gun law passed. The group gave $32,500 over the previous two years, records show.

    Lawrence Keane, the group’s senior vice president, wouldn’t say whether passage of the gun law was behind the drop in donations.

    “We don’t discuss campaign contributions,” he said.

    Read More…

  • Trayvon Martin lawyer to represent family of unarmed teen shot dead by St Louis officer as looting and riots break out

    Civil rights lawyer Benjamin Crump, pictured, who has been hired by the family of Michael Brown, who was shot dead by a police officer on Saturday

    The family of an unarmed black teenager who was shot dead by a police officer has hired the same civil rights lawyer who represents the family of Trayvon Martin.

    Michael Brown died after being shot multiple times by a police officer in Ferguson, a suburb of St Louis after an altercation involving the officer, Mr Brown and another man on Saturday.

    The killing has drawn criticism from some civil rights leaders, who have referred to the 2012 racially charged shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin by a Florida neighborhood watch organizer who was acquitted of murder charges.

    Now it has emerged that Benjamin Crump, the attorney who represents the family of Trayvon Martin is now to represent Mr Brown’s family.

    According to 10 News, Mr Crump, from Tallahasse, Florida, will join Mr Brown’s family at a press conference later today, which will be held at a church in Jennings, Missouri.

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  • Gay Employees Profiling Blacks at Barney’s Costs Company 500k in Damages

    Barneys has agreed to pay $525,000 to resolve allegations that minorities were singled out as suspected shoplifters at its flagship store, part of a spate of racial profiling complaints against major retailers last year.

    Barneys shoppers and ex-employees complained that detectives followed minority customers around — even after staffers identified them as frequent patrons — and disproportionately investigated their credit-card use, so much so that some salespeople even avoided serving minority shoppers so as to avoid getting calls from store investigators, state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said in announcing the settlement Monday.

    Besides the $525,000 in fines and expenses, Barneys will hire an “anti-profiling consultant” for two years, update its policy and record-keeping on detaining customers suspected of theft, and improve training of security and sales personnel.

    “This agreement will correct a number of wrongs, both by fixing past policies and by monitoring the actions of Barneys and its employees to make sure that past mistakes are not repeated,” Schneiderman said in a release.

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  • Libs at Politico: CuHomo’s Slow-Mo Disaster (He’s in Deeper Legal Trouble Than He Knows)

    Andrew Cuomo is in serious trouble. Preet Bharara, the hard-charging U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, has turned up the heat on his administration’s alleged interference with an anti-corruption commission he appointed, and for the first time in the New York governor’s four-year tenure, he’s lost control of a situation. That’s an awful feeling for any politician, but especially for one who so prizes control, and who prides himself on playing political chess while his opponents play checkers. It’s the classic tale of a pol so consumed with avoiding a short-term image hit that he risked his long-term freedom. (I know the story well, because five years ago this week I lost control of a similar situation and ended up in prison for obstruction of justice.)

    Let’s examine the peril of Cuomo’s predicament, which is far more serious than some believe. Few U.S. attorneys – particularly not the pugnacious Bharara – get into public pissing matches they intend to lose. And the stakes are high: Cuomo is one of the nation’s most powerful governors and heir to the national liberal mantle that his father, former governor Mario Cuomo, assumed with his poetic 1984 “Tale of Two Cities” Democratic National Convention speech. Decades later, leading Democrats continue to appropriate the elder Cuomo’s rhetoric; it was the basis for John Edwards 2008 presidential campaign as well as New York Mayor Bill de Blasio’s triumphant 2013 mayoral bid – not to mention Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s current stump speech. Based on that lineage and his “taming” of a formerly chaotic state capital by producing four on-time budgets, Cuomo the younger has been mentioned as a possible presidential candidate in 2016 (if Hillary Clinton doesn’t run) or 2020 (if Hillary runs and loses).

    But despite the passage of timely balanced budgets, New York State government isn’t in great shape. Lately, more Albany politicians have gone on to prison than to higher office. Most of the cases involved bribery. In an attempt to reduce the influence of money in the New York capital – or, in the eyes of skeptics eying his $35 million war chest, appear as if he wanted to reduce said influence – Cuomo appointed the Moreland Commission to investigate politicians’ unethical and illegal behavior. To demonstrate the gravity of his endeavor, he had state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman officially designate commissioners as deputy attorneys general, thereby granting them law-enforcement powers. But once the commission got started, the trail led to some of Cuomo’s biggest funders.


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  • The ‘Central Park Five’: Still Guilty


    Twenty-five years ago, Trisha Meili—“the Central Park jogger”—was a 28 year-old employee for a prestigious Manhattan investment banker when she was mercilessly beaten, raped, and left for dead by thugs.

    Meili lost approximately 80 percent of her blood. Her skull was fractured to the point that her one eye had popped out of its socket. On the scale of 3 to 15 that neurologists use to gauge brain functioning, Meili’s was assigned a rating of 4. She spent nearly the next two weeks in a coma, with experts expecting her to die.

    This crime became a racially explosive issue, for Meili was white and her assailants were not: Of the 30 or so minority youths that had been randomly terrorizing park dwellers, four blacks and one Hispanic confessed to having engaged in the attack on Meili. Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Raymond Santana, Kharey Wise, and Yusef Salaam were arrested, tried, convicted, and issued prison sentences.

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  • Friends Indeed: 22 State Attorneys General Join Pro-Second Amendment Brief in SAFE Act Appeal!


    Amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) briefs have been filed in Nojay v. Cuomo, the appeal from the decision of Judge William Skretny last year that largely upheld New York’s Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement (“SAFE”) Act. The plaintiffs challenged bans on large-capacity magazines and “assault weapons” (as redefined), the requirement that magazines contain no more than seven rounds, and new rules on ammunition sales, as unconstitutional. After Judge Skretnty denied most of these claims, the case (decided as New York State Rifle and Pistol Association, Inc. v. Cuomo) was appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

    Attorneys General for 22 states – Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming – have filed an amicus brief in support of the plaintiffs.

    In contrast, the chief legal officers for only nine states (plus D.C.) – Maryland, California, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, and Oregon – have opted to support the SAFE Act through their own amicus filing. Predictably, many of these jurisdictions have gun laws that similarly restrict or ban “assault weapons” and “large capacity” magazines. The ends-driven argument in support of the SAFE Act is that the “absolutist reading of the Second Amendment advanced by the plaintiffs” threatens to “tie the hands of states in responding” to threats to public safety. Yet the plaintiffs simply assert that the outright ban of firearms commonly used for lawful purposes by law-abiding citizens burdens the fundamental right to keep and bear arms and should be subject to the highest level of court review in accordance with constitutional law.

    Amicus briefs supporting the plaintiffs’ arguments have also been filed by the National Rifle Association, the National Shooting Sports Foundation, Inc., the New York State Sheriffs’ Association, the Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund, the Law Enforcement Action Network, and the International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association, among others.

    The NRA brief argues that laws like the SAFE Act, that prohibit the possession of firearms in the homes of law-abiding citizens where “Second Amendment guarantees are at their zenith,” must be subject to the highest standard of constitutional review: strict scrutiny. It adds that the “social science” evidence regarding the SAFE Act’s supposed public safety benefits, which was heavily relied on in Judge Skretny’s opinion, is clearly an insufficient foundation for the court’s conclusions when analyzed critically and carefully. For example, one expert in the case admitted that state-level restrictions on firearms and magazines did not have an impact on crime, contrary to the “links” the court drew between the evidentiary record, the SAFE Act prohibitions, and the impact on public safety.

    The appellate case has yet to be heard, but among those states that have weighed in on it, the clear weight of opinion is against the constitutionality of the SAFE Act. Upon a fair and impartial hearing, that view should also prevail in the Second Circuit.

  • N.J. Cop Who Claimed He Did Not Have to Follow the Constitution Speaks Out and Resigns


    Richard Recine’s 36-year career as a police officer came crashing down this week after he was caught on camera saying police do not have to follow the Constitution because President Barack Obama doesn’t either.

    On Thursday, Recine — who had retired from the Franklin police force in 2006 and was working part time here as a special police officer — submitted his resignation.

    “I don’t want to give a black eye to law enforcement,” Recine, 59, said Thursday in an exclusive interview with MyCentralJersey.com. “People are saying some really nasty stuff about cops. I don’t want all officers painted with the same brush.”

    Read More…

  • MO RKBA Amendment Could Lead to Constitutional Carry

    Missouri Capitol gun

    Missouri’s Constitutional Amendment 5 passed yesterday with 62% of the vote and 3712 of 3898 precincts reported. It’s a clear statement of support for the right to keep and bear arms, clarifying that it’s a fundamental right; that it protects ammunition and accessories as well as firearms, and that the state is obligated to protect that right. The amendment could lead to the Show Me State becoming a constitutional carry (no permit or license required to keep or bear arms) state like Vermont and Arizona . . .

  • Dear Dartmouth, I am one of your students, I am being stalked, please let me carry a gun!


    Over the last four years, I have lived with the constant threat from a stalker – a stalker who is now in jail for the third time for violating a restraining order.

    Every day I live with these questions: What if today is the day that my stalker posts bail? What if today is the day that he discovers my parents’ new address? What if I go to a lecture on campus and he shows up there?

    I feel that I have no control over my life. My family was forced to move. I have had stay indoors, keep drapes closed, avoid posting on social media sites, and even change my car. It’s almost like being held hostage.

    If schools and society can’t guarantee my safety and the safety of victims like me, it’s time we have the chance to defend ourselves so we can stop living in fear.

    Should myself and other female victims just have to put up with this? The answer, hopefully, is “no.” Women must be able to defend themselves. The most effective way of doing this is by using a gun. When police arrive to enforce a restraining order, it is usually too late.

    I have been living such a nightmare for over four years. I was 16 and working a café in San Diego when a 67-year-old man, Richard Bennett, came in the store for coffee. He kept coming back, staring at me for long periods of time, and trying to flirt. He then would sit outside the store for the entire day.

    The nightmare soon got much worse. He followed me around outside of work, demanding to talk and saying that he was “trying to protect [me],” then he began bothering my friends, security had to remove him from scholarship pageants that I participated in, and he attempted to attack my then boyfriend in high school. I was forced to take out a restraining order.

    Today, Richard Bennett is facing trial for yet another restraining order violation. In June of this year, I returned home to San Diego from Dartmouth College and early the very next morning, Bennett was at my door, wanting to talk.

    Read More…

  • A gay perspective on D.C. gun rights (Gays Want Concealed Carry)

    I spent most of my young life opposed to gun rights, as many urban folks do. I grew up in a dangerous city in the 1970s and guns were scary things that got pointed at you when a bad guy asked, “Can I ride your bike?”

    But my view has changed since I have encountered many gays and lesbians who have or carry arms for self-defense against hate crimes or for home defense. Some lesbians, in particular, view their arms as critical to home defense, especially if they live alone. I imagine that many straight single women have a similar view.

    Since I started writing this column many of my lesbian friends have come out to me as Second Amendment fans and confessed that they own guns: rifles, shotguns and hand guns that are not quite legal. Interesting!

    The difference between my friends who own guns and the criminals who commit crimes with guns is that my friends are using guns for defense and would never instigate a crime; rather, they are protecting themselves from one.

    The Supreme Court has ruled that individuals have a right to bear arms. But even if you disagree with that it is hard to make a case that gun restrictions reduce crime.

    The District has had one of the most restrictive laws against gun ownership in the nation, yet that did not prevent it from being, in the 1990s, the “Murder Capital” or cause the NBA Washington team to be renamed from the Bullets to the Wizards, as there were so many bullets flying around the District in a bad way. Nor did the District’s gun laws prevent the tragedy of a 14-year-old shooting 10 people and killing four this past March through the open door of a minivan.

    Read More…

  • Philly mom will stand trial for bringing gun to N.J.

    Shaneen Allen was arrested in New Jersey for allegedly telling a police officer she had a handgun. ( ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER )

    Shaneen Allen was arrested in New Jersey for allegedly telling a police officer she had a handgun. (ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER)

    The words common sense were mentioned quite a bit during Shaneen Allen’s hearing yesterday in Atlantic County Superior Court.

    Allen, 27, cried for a moment in the hallway with her son Naiare and his father after a judge denied her motion to dismiss weapons charges filed against her in October and refused to overturn a prosecutor’s decision to deny her entry into a first-time-offender diversion program.

    So Allen walked back into court, turned down a plea deal that would have given her a 3 1/2-year sentence and decided to go to trial in October, hoping a jury would use some common sense and not send a working mother of two to prison for not knowing New Jersey’s gun laws.

    “There is no public need to prosecute Shaneen Allen. I’m sure the public is just begging for Shaneen Allen to go to jail,” her attorney, Evan Nappen, argued sarcastically to Judge Michael Donio.

    Allen, who has no criminal record, was pulled over by New Jersey State Police on Oct. 1 while driving to Atlantic City with the father of her sons. She told the officer that she had a license-to-carry permit in Pennsylvania and had her .380 Bersa Thunder in her pocketbook.

    Read More…

  • It’s Time for Cops to Stop Shooting Dogs

    The sheriff’s department in Prince Edward Co., Virginia, isn’t returning phone calls about Party. No great surprise. A deputy shot the dog in late June, killing it. The department issued a CYA press release, then dummied up—perhaps in the hope the whole thing would blow over.

    No wonder: According to a news account, the deputy went to the home of Stephen Carwile to serve a paper in a non-criminal matter. The family wasn’t home. The department’s press release says the deputy “was charged by a vicious dog.” That would be Party—a Golden Retriever. We all know how vicious that breed is. The release says the dog “lunged at [the deputy] so he fired his weapon as required by training.”

    Golden retrievers aren’t the only vicious breed, apparently. Just ask Craig Jones, the owner of Arfee. Jones, a Colorado resident, had gone to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, last month upon the death of his mother. One morning he went to a coffee shop and left Arfee, a 2-year-old black Labrador, in his van with the window open halfway. Someone thought the van was suspicious and called the police. An officer arrived. The dog barked, so the officer shot him through the window. The department then labeled Arfee a “vicious pit bull.”

    Maybe we need a new dictionary entry: “Vicious dog, n.: Any dog shot by a law-enforcement officer.”

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  • Liberal NY Daily News: NYPD vs. Black and Brown Americans

    He said he couldn’t breathe.

    The tragic death of Eric Garner, an African-American man who died after a New York Police Department officer put him in a chokehold, is a grim reminder of our country’s broken, ineffective and unjust system of policing.

    Garner’s death is not a symbol. His death is a heartbreaking symptom of the untested and overaggressive policing culture that has become commonplace from New York to California. In streets and avenues across this country, “broken windows” policing and police violence are distressing our communities.

    We at the NAACP know all too well that the violence that led to Garner’s death and the prevalence of racial profiling in New York does not occur in a vacuum, but is part of a sequence of tragedies that have seared the names of Rodney King, Amadou Diallo, Abner Louima, Anthony Baez, Oscar Grant, Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis, Miriam Carey and Rekia Boyd into our collective memory.

    Too often, the indefensible fear of black and brown bodies and the abuse of power by those unlawful few in blue uniforms have produced fatal results.

    Read More…