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Food Thread: I'll Drink Ripple Or Mad Dog, Thank You Very Much! | Main | Sunday Overnight Open Thread (1/13/19)
January 13, 2019

Gun Thread: Guilty or Not Guilty? [Weasel]

scales of justice scaled.png


It's that time again, amigas and amigos, and this week I'd like to do something a wee teensy bit differently in terms of content. Who says we have to limit our discussions to BB guns or Pop-Tarts or safety glasses?


What I'd like to do this week is to relate to you the experience I had as a juror a few years ago, in of all things, a firearms case. I'd like to see how you fine upstanding Morons would decide the case based on the facts and circumstances I heard. So without further adieu, let's head to court, shall we?

***

Periodically I receive a petit juror summons, but never had to report for duty until a few years ago when my number was finally called, so to the courthouse I went on the appointed day. Not having any previous experience as a juror I wasn't certain what to expect, and was a little surprised when probably 50 people showed up as potential jurors. That seemed like a lot of people to me but I figured perhaps there were multiple trials starting at the same time. After some introductory remarks by the jury coordinator, about half of the pool was called and I was among those in the first batch. We shuffled into the courtroom where the judge, attorneys, the Perp, and various court support staff were waiting.

Voir Dire
We've all seen the process of jury selection in the movies and on TV, and it's called voir dire. The attorneys ask questions of prospective jurors and then huddle with the judge to select or strike individuals from among the pool. One key question posed by the public defender to the group regarded firearm ownership and I was among a very few who raised their hand indicating I owned a gun. When questioned for details I explained that I owned firearms for self defense and for recreational shooting purposes. The public defender spent a lot of time asking me follow-up questions related to the 2nd Amendment specifically, to which I responded I was a vigorous supporter, and on gun ownership in general. On a side note, it was interesting how many people responded to questions in a way to make themselves as unattractive a jury candidate as possible. Ultimately, I was one of twelve picked for the jury and the rest were released. I later learned the entire group of 50 or so were summoned for this one case because it involved firearms, and the area in which I live consists predominately of liberal retards who might faint at the very mention of guns so a large group was deemed necessary. I am also absolutely convinced I was selected based on my stated 2nd Amendment views.

The Trial
The defendant, a convicted felon was charged with possession of a firearm. Several firearms in fact; two muzzleloading rifles and a .38 caliber revolver. The jury was not told the specifics of the defendant's prior felony conviction. Of the many irrelevant facts presented during the trial by both the prosecution and defense, here are the salient points of the case:

- the police department, responding to a domestic disturbance call, observe two modern sporting muzzle loading rifles stored in cases under the couch in the defendant's living room. The defendant is ultimately arrested in the disturbance call.

- the police do not closely inspect or seize the rifles at the time, thinking possession of muzzleloaders by a felon is allowed. NOTE: Wrong!!

- gun cleaning supplies are also found in the apartment in a manner suggesting recent use.

- a week after the initial incident, and without prompting, the defendant and counsel voluntarily surrender the rifles to the Commonwealth Attorney's office.

- when surrendered, both rifles have their barrels plugged with lead slugs rendering them incapable of being fired, but it is not known if they were plugged a week earlier at the time of the original police call.

- by now the cops have figured out the muzzleloaders are a big problemo, and have also received information indicating the defendant may have other weapons. They and go back to the defendant's apartment and conduct a search including a padlocked basement storage cage assigned to the apartment unit.

- a fully functional .38 caliber revolver and ammunition is found in the storage cage among various paperwork and other items clearly belonging to the defendant.

The defense argues the revolver may have been the property of a previous occupant, or been dumped by someone else through the small gap between the cage door and ceiling. The handgun is found in a zippered case inside a box with an open top. While the defendant does not testify, ownership and any knowledge of the revolver is completely denied. The defense also asserts the muzzleloaders have had plugged barrels since the time of the defendant's previous felony conviction and they now, in fact, no longer qualify as firearms as defined by statute. The muzzleloaders are not antiques or collector's items, and no reason is given for the defendant keeping rifles of modern manufacture with permanently plugged barrels. Testimony continued well into the next day with both the defense and prosecution offering increasingly improbable theories supporting their cases. Truthfully, I was amazed by how poorly prepared the prosecution's case was in failing to call even remotely qualified subject matter experts as witnesses, or to exploit inconsistencies in the case offered by the defense. Although vigorous in effort, counsel for the defense seemed unable to capitalize on glaring holes in the prosecution's case or adequately cross examine witnesses. At the time I made a mental note to hire a very good attorney should I ever find myself in deep shit. Or even shallow shit.

The Jury and Deliberation
Part way through the second day, the jury retired to deliberate. The composition of the jury itself was varied and well balanced, representing a good cross section of the diverse community. The first vote in the jury room is 8 to 4...

What Would You Do?
So imagine you're there in my place. How do you vote, guilty or not guilty? Do you believe the muzzleloaders are still firearms even with plugged barrels? Do you find the fact they were surrendered with plugged barrels problematic? If the barrels have been plugged all along and the defendant doesn't own the handgun, why have the cleaning supplies? Are the defense theories regarding the handgun's presence in the storage cage convincing? Does the unknown nature of the defendant's felony conviction influence your decision in any way?

Finally, do you think a felony conviction should preclude gun ownership, and does your opinion influence your vote as a juror in the case?

Stop by next week for the exciting conclusion!!

*******

***Mail Bag***

Well I suppose we still need some firearms to discuss, and this week we have something interesting courtesy of Bert G.

chiappa 92 9mm Shotgun Bert G Scaled.jpg

A 9mm shotgun? What the heck? I've never heard of such a thing. Thanks BertG!

Want one? Order One!!

***

And from the Great Moments in German Advertising Department, we have this awesome video thanks to Bilwis Devourer of Low Glycemic Souls. Link HERE if the embedded video doesn't work on your device.

*************

NoVaMoMe 2019 Update!

The magic number of attendees for NoVaMoMe 2019 has been reached and even exceeded by a little. No worries if you have registered and received a confirmation email - you're all set! If you haven't registered and are still interested in attending, we will be happy to place your name on a waitlist should a space open up, so just send us an email. If you have registered but find you cannot make it, please let us know that too so we may offer the spot to someone else. A big THANKS to all those who have registered and we look forward to seeing you on February 9th!

*************

Please note the new and improved gmail account MoronGunThread for sending in stories and pictures. Again, that's morongunthread at gmail dot com. If you have a question you would like to ask Gun Thread Staff offline, just send us a note and we'll do our best to answer. If you care to share the story of your favorite firearm, send a picture with your nic and tell us what you sadly lost in the tragic canoe accident. If you would like to remain completely anonymous, just say so. Lurkers are always welcome!

That's it for this week - have you been to the range?

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posted by Open Blogger at 07:05 PM

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