Felony Gun Charges Against Drew Peterson Are Dismissed

Felony gun charges against Drew Peterson were dropped today when prosecutors refused to turn over internal files pertaining to their decision to arrest the former police sergeant. Peterson was arrested last May and charged with owning an assault rifle with a barrel shorter than what the state law allows.

Police found the gun when they entered Peterson’s home last November. 11 guns were confiscated from his home, during a search that took place after his wife Stacy went missing on October 28, 2007. Peter, who is a suspect in her disappearance, continues to deny any wrongdoing or involvement in the case.

Since the weapons charges were filed, Peterson’s criminal defense attorney has argued that his client did not break the law by possessing the rifle because the Law Enforcement Officer Safety Act makes him immune to the state’s weapons laws. Peterson used the gun when he worked for a police SWAT team.

Today, Judge Richard Schoenstedt granted a motion filed by Peterson’s legal team to pursue a “vindictive prosecution” defense and ordered prosecutors to give the defense team a limited copy of memos, e-mails and other documents pertaining to the weapons charges against Peterson.

After Assistant State’s Attorney John Connor refused to turn the documents over, the judge dismissed the charges. Prosecutors say the will appeal the case.

Vindictive Prosecution
This term refers to prosecution used to retaliate against a defendant.

Massachusetts Weapons Possession
In Massachusetts, illegal possession of a firearm is grounds for a mandatory minimum eighteen months behind bars if a defendant is convicted. If you have been arrested for weapons possession in Boston or anywhere else in the state, you will need legal help to combat the charges or get them reduced.

Gun charges dismissed against Drew Peterson, Chicago Tribune, November 20, 2008
Judge Drops Gun Charges Against Drew Peterson, Associated Press/Fox News, November 20, 2008

Related Web Resources:

Massachusetts Laws About Weapons

Massachusetts Firearms Law Reference Chart, Goal.org
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