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Old August 8, 2014, 07:25 AM   #1
Cnon
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Judge denies motion to dismiss case against Philly mom arrested for legal gun in NJ

A New Jersey judge denied a motion to dismiss charges Tuesday against a Philadelphia mother who mistakenly entered New Jersey, where she was stopped for a traffic violation and found in possession of a handgun loaded with hollow-point bullets.


And according to the article:
Quote:
Superior Court Judge Michael Donio also denied a motion to overturn a decision not to allow Allen to participate in a pretrial intervention program to avoid jail time


More here: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2014/08/05...for-legal-gun/


For discussion, Was the judge right not to dismiss the charges? I say no.


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Old August 8, 2014, 08:23 AM   #2
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First of all, Allen didn't mistakenly enter NJ. She was headed to Atlantic City for her son's birthday. Atlantic County (where she was stopped) and Atlantic City are on the EAST side of the state. Philly is WEST of the state. Allen did not mistakenly enter the state and drive more than 20 miles east. From the article you cited...

Quote:
She was headed to Atlantic City, N.J., in the early-morning hours to prepare for her son’s birthday party, which was being held three days later.
The laws in question have been in place for a lot of years. Allen had her permit for several months and had gun training before all this happen and as a Philly resident certainly should have known or been warned about venturing into NJ. As a licensee, it was her responsibility to know carry laws where she would be if she was carrying.
http://www.ammoland.com/2014/07/njs-...#axzz37mQ4rlEH

So should the case have been dismissed? Given that she admitted to the cop that she was in possession of contraband (a gun she did not have a permit to carry in NJ) and also had banned ammo, NO. The case is valid. She intentionally and knowingly brought her gun and ammo into New Jersey where she planned to be for multiple days with it.

Do you know the specific argument for why the case was argued to be dismissed?
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Old August 8, 2014, 08:30 AM   #3
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This is a local case for me, and I've checked out the facts.

It's actually out of the judge's hands. She is charged with illegally carrying a concealed handgun (because NJ doesn't recognize any other state's permits. Nor does NJ issue CCP's.) NJ law mandates 3 1/2 to 5 years prison for that. As long as the prosecutor sustains this charge, there's nothing the judge can do. It sucks for this girl...in this case.

Note: I believe part of what happened is when she got pulled over for whatever infraction, she offered up to the polizei that she was carrying a handgun. (In accordance with PA law? because that's where her permit was issued.) Had she just kept to herself, she wouldn't have this problem. Not to mention, familiarizing herself with CC laws of other states she's traveling through. Especially this draconian neighboring state.
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Old August 8, 2014, 09:09 AM   #4
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From the linked article:
"According to Nappen, potential jurors could invoke jury nullification, a constitutional doctrine allowing juries to acquit defendants who are technically guilty, but don't deserve to be punished. It can apply in all states, but attorneys are generally not permitted to introduce the concept to jurors."

Well, if the case gets enough news coverage with that statement, the attorney won't have to introduce it.
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Old August 8, 2014, 09:36 AM   #5
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Wouldn't matter in NJ anyway as you'd never get enough people on the jury to agree to it. This is a very unfriendly state for gun owners.
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Old August 8, 2014, 09:44 AM   #6
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True, but it only takes one to have a hung jury. And jury pools in South Jersey are a totally different makeup than in other parts. But I still wouldn't put any money on her getting off.
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Old August 8, 2014, 10:25 AM   #7
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I don't know anything specifically about New Jersey law but most states do not allow judges to dismiss charges over objection except under limited circumstances. Some examples: (1) a serious defect in the charge itself (it fails to charge an offense), (2) serious proprietorial misconduct, (3) certain serious defects in grand jury proceedings, (4) immunity, and (5) charges which violate certain types of constitutional protections. This latter category would include charges that violate the first amendment or double jeopardy.

Also, at the preliminary level a judge may dismiss a charge where there is no probable cause, a fairly low level for the government to meet. In many (most?) jurisdictions, a grand jury indictment provides probable cause and trumps a judge's earlier determination.

Here, the charges seem to be based on adequate facts. The only question at issue in my mind is the prosecutor's discretion in handing them.
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Old August 8, 2014, 10:30 AM   #8
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I would like to see Christy take a stand on one side or the other
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Old August 8, 2014, 10:32 AM   #9
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Quote:
Do you know the specific argument for why the case was argued to be dismissed?
The argument was that she did not intend to break the law and it's obvious that she didn't intend to do so. Intent is a good reason to dismiss the case but the Judge, with staunch influence from the prosecutor, chose not to.

The prosecutor's main reason for ignoring intent, and not allowing leniency, is to use her as an example for others who might do the same thing. I doubt that making someone, who did not intend to break the law, an example is a legitimate reason for furthering prosecution.

Should she have known better? Yes. Did she intend to break the law? No.

I've lost track of how many times I've brought a case for a criminal charge with plenty of evidence before a county/city commissioner's office and they refused to do anything stating lack of intent, unless....... there was a gun involved.

This NJ prosecutor is playing politics and his target is PA's gun carry laws.

Judges and prosecutor's are allowed to use discretion but too often politics are put above common sense. There's a big problem when the law is deemed to be more important than the people it's intended to protect.
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Old August 8, 2014, 11:30 AM   #10
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I'm curious why her PTI was denied, it would have saved her jail time and the prosecutor now looks like he's on a power trip.
The real travesty is that she'll be looking at more time than your common NJ gangbanger for even worse crimes. Remember the guy shot at the NJ mall not long ago? The bangers who did it basically were in and out of prison in short stints for years, only to re-offend and kill someone this time.
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Old August 8, 2014, 12:29 PM   #11
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First of all, I don't like the laws in question. Whether I like them or not does not matter.

Quote:
The argument was that she did not intend to break the law and it's obvious that she didn't intend to do so. Intent is a good reason to dismiss the case but the Judge, with staunch influence from the prosecutor, chose not to.
Intent to break the law isn't a condition of being in violation of this law. However, she apparently knowingly did intend to travel with her gun for protection and she intended to take it into NJ and did so. So "intent" appears satisfied and is not being ignored, at least in regard to Shaneen Allen getting due process.
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Old August 8, 2014, 12:43 PM   #12
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Quote:
Intent to break the law isn't a condition of being in violation of this law. However, she apparently knowingly did intend to travel with her gun for protection and she intended to take it into NJ and did so. So "intent" appears satisfied and is not being ignored, at least in regard to Shaneen Allen getting due process.
Intending to travel with her gun to NJ is different from intent to break NJ's gun law. Intent means that she was aware of the law and ignored it. She showed the officer her PA permit and told him that she had the gun. She wasn't trying to hide anything, thinking that it was ok to carry there.

You can claim that she should have researched the law but you can't claim that she intentionally broke the law.
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Old August 8, 2014, 01:03 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jbrown50
...Intent means that she was aware of the law and ignored it...
Cite competent legal authority to support that claim. Different crimes can in fact require different types or levels of "intent." Some crimes require that the actor know that his act is illegal.

But for other crimes, perhaps entering New Jersey with a loaded gun, the intent required is merely that the actor knew he had a loaded gun and knew he was bringing it into New Jersey. That might well be the case when one's mistake is an error of law, i. e., not being aware that entering New Jersey under such circumstances is against the law, rather than a mistake of fact, i. e., not knowing he had a loaded gun with him.
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Old August 8, 2014, 01:04 PM   #14
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Quote:
Quote:
Quote:
Intent to break the law isn't a condition of being in violation of this law. However, she apparently knowingly did intend to travel with her gun for protection and she intended to take it into NJ and did so. So "intent" appears satisfied and is not being ignored, at least in regard to Shaneen Allen getting due process.
Intending to travel with her gun to NJ is different from intent to break NJ's gun law. Intent means that she was aware of the law and ignored it. She showed the officer her PA permit and told him that she had the gun. She wasn't trying to hide anything, thinking that it was ok to carry there.
You can claim that she should have researched the law but you can't claim that she intentionally broke the law.
This is a perfect example of the old adage "Ignorance of the law is no defense." Ignorance of the facts, on the other hand, can be a defense.

For example, if unbeknownst to her, someone put a handgun in her trunk. She drove into NJ with that handgun, but did not know she was doing so. If that handgun is discovered in he "possession" and she is charged, she may have a defense that she didn't know she was breaking the law. That is, she didn't know that there was a handgun in her trunk. Another example could be that she didn't know she had crossed into NJ.

But if you knowingly do what you do, even if you don't know that it is against the law, you lack of knowledge of the law (or mistaken belief that the law is different than it is) is no defense. As noted above, intent is not an element of the law she is charged with breaking.
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Old August 8, 2014, 01:07 PM   #15
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I should have added that sometimes a "knowledge" requirement is satisfied if one either knew or upon reasonable inquiry would know.

In general one can not properly discuss the type or level of "intent" required for a particular crime without reference to the actual law, especially case law.
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Old August 8, 2014, 01:36 PM   #16
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What kind of person would do this to a peaceable citizen who made a simple mistake with no criminal intent??? There used to be a concept that you had to have Criminal Intent to be charged with a crime. We have developed an ENFORCER CASTE that seems more interested in destroying the lives of decent people than dealing with the criminals. There are murderers who serve less than she is facing. Any human would have offered her the opportunity to unload and lock it in the trunk and sent her on her way. This is what Ayne Rand warned us about. It is sad that the police have become a bigger threat than the criminals ever could be.
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Old August 8, 2014, 01:50 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hvymax
...There used to be a concept that you had to have Criminal Intent to be charged with a crime....
Again, that is not accurate. As I, Armorer-at-Law and Double Naught Spy have been explaining, it is not, nor has it ever been, nearly that simplistic.

Many people think that many laws are excessive or bad policy or just plain wrong. Those are complaints which need to be addressed to legislatures.

But it's desirable to have a better understanding of basic principles of the law and not perpetuate fallacious beliefs.
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Old August 8, 2014, 02:10 PM   #18
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This is the one that will break the camals back.
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Old August 8, 2014, 02:43 PM   #19
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One of these days the Supreme Court is going to get a case involving recognition of state permits and licenses across state lines. Could be another homosexual marriage case, could be concealed carry. Either one, there will be a national recognition decision coming our way.
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Old August 8, 2014, 02:50 PM   #20
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Marriage variants are not part of our discussion.

As far as one state ignoring its law because of another state - don't hold your breath. Nor will the Scotus one day make all gun laws go away.
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Old August 8, 2014, 03:07 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by kilimanjaro
One of these days the Supreme Court is going to get a case involving recognition of state permits and licenses across state lines....
You need to distinguish between a license issued in a State, and an act performed in a State pursuant to the laws of that State.

If two people enter into a marriage in State A, in accordance to the laws of State A, those two people will almost always be recognized as legally married to each other in State B. That is very well settled law, but that is not the same as recognizing a marriage license issued by State B.

If two unmarried people secure a marriage license in State B, they could not take that license into State A and use it to enter into a marriage in State A. And that is pretty much universal with regard to licenses. A license to do something in State A is in general not recognized as a license to do that thing in State B. That is also very well settled. So if you are licensed in State A as a physician, a lawyer, a contractor, or anything else for which a license is required, you can't expect to be able to go to State B and be a physician, lawyer, contractor or anything else for which a license is required.

One exception is a drivers' license, but only because States have agreed among themselves to recognize other States' drivers' licenses. And in some cases a State has made the affirmative decision to recognize another State's CCW.
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Old August 8, 2014, 03:13 PM   #22
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Well...At least one NJ legislator has introduced a bill.

http://www.ammoland.com/2014/08/nj-a...#axzz39pToa7Tc

Quote:
Manasquan, NJ --(Ammoland.com)- New Jersey Republican Assemblyman Dancer has just filed “Shaneen’s Law” which gives Judges full discretion to avoid mandatory jail time and/or give PTI to folks like Shaneen Allen.

Named after Shaneen Allen who has fallen victim to New Jersey insane gun laws that targets law full gun owners, with mandatory minimum sentences for things that are perfectly legal in the rest of free america.

New Jersey residents, please contact your state representatives and ask them to cosponsor this much needed legislation.

The bill is A3608.
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Old August 8, 2014, 03:20 PM   #23
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Quote:
One exception is a drivers' license, but only because States have agreed among themselves to recognize other States' drivers' licenses. And in some cases a State has made the affirmative decision to recognize another State's CCW.
Truth. So many people misunderstand this and think it is because of the "full faith and credit" clause in the Constitution.
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Old August 8, 2014, 03:51 PM   #24
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"Well...At least one NJ legislator has introduced a bill."

I'm sure you know, unless by some miracle it's retroactive, it's not going to help her. And further, since it's gun related, it ain't gonna pass. Not here in NJ. Although it may be a good law, it's not going to pass.
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Old August 8, 2014, 04:28 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DNS
So should the case have been dismissed? Given that she admitted to the cop that she was in possession of contraband (a gun she did not have a permit to carry in NJ) and also had banned ammo, NO. The case is valid. She intentionally and knowingly brought her gun and ammo into New Jersey where she planned to be for multiple days with it.

Do you know the specific argument for why the case was argued to be dismissed?
Two words: Mens Rea. More specifically, lack thereof.

I agree that she should have known that her PA license wasn't valid in NJ ... but she didn't. She broke the law without knowing it. Of course, that calls into question not just her case but the traditional view that "Ignorance of the law is not an excuse."

IMHO, her case should have been dismissed. She's not a career criminal (or she wouldn't have gotten a PA carry license), and it's not as if she's likely to do it again soon. At the least, if the judge wasn't willing to flat-out dismiss he should have allowed the pre-trial diversion.
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