How did you begin your weekend? I began mine by driving to court in Boston, doing other lawyer-like things at the office and then running home to “hunker down”, as the radio told me to do, because of the impending snow. I also dug out my car a couple dozen times.
I felt alittle put-upon by all that nasty snow.
In retrospect, though, I feel luckier. After all, 31-year-old Jason R. of Pelham, Massachusetts (hereinafter, the “Defendant”)did not have to shovel any snow on Friday, or Saturday or even Sunday. That was done for him.
In federal custody.
Well, it was not just the fact that he was in possession of the guns…it was that he was a felon in possession of the guns.
The Defendant and law enforcement have had a bit of a stormy relationship over the past years.
For example, he and another man were indicted last February on assault and battery charges for following a husband and wife out of a Haverhill, Mass., cemetery and beating the husband with a baseball bat and a pool cue.
He also has prior felony convictions in Woburn (Mass.) District Court in 1995 for assault and battery with a shod foot and assault and battery with a baseball bat, according to police.
I guess it is kind of easy to see why law enforcement might not want him to have firearms, huh?
Anyway, the police and the Southern New Hampshire Regional Special Operations Unit searched the Defendant’s home and recovered firearms, ammunition, drugs and drug packaging material inside his home, police said. However, the Defendant had not been in the home at the time of the search.
The search stemmed from an arrest several days earlier in Lawrence, Mass., where he had been charged with assault by means of a dangerous weapon, possessing a firearm without proper identification, impersonating a police officer, disorderly conduct, operating under the influence of alcohol and cocaine possession.
As a result of that arrest, police said they learned that the Defendant had more weapons in his home.
Working with authorities from the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agency, police seized the Defendant’s home. A federal arrest warrant for him was issued Thursday, but his whereabouts at the time were unknown. Working with other police departments, Pelham detectives found a possible address for him in Framingham, where he was arrested on Friday night.
He is charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm, a felon in possession of ammunition, and misrepresenting himself in attempting to acquire a firearm.
He was being held by Framingham police yesterday awaiting transport to the U.S. Marshal’s Office on the federal charges, police said.
“Oh, you mean you were serious when you said I could not continue my gun and ammo collection?”
Yes, law enforcement does tend to take these little things quite seriously. This is especially true when the drug and gun combination rears its head.
By the way, the courts take it seriously as well.
Before you argue about the Constitutional right to bear arms, I must remind you that those rights are not without limit. Convicted felons lose a number of their rights, such as the right to vote and the right to bear arms. It is a crime in and of itself to violate that last one and, as the Defendant now knows, such a violation can put you into federal custody.
The thought of the Defendant running around armed should probably bother most intelligent people. After all, things such as the outdoor sports in which he has apparently been engaging, such as baseball using live humans as the ball, tend to be frowned upon in a civilized society.
But what about “One-Time Charlie” down the road who is a pretty nice guy but he got caught up in a raw deal and ended up with a felony conviction. Do I mean that he can lose his right to carry weapons?
Seem unfair? Maybe. But it is the law. And it is because of laws like this one that you have to be careful. If you remember hearing something about being limited in what you allowed to do because of being convicted, arrested, indicted or placed on probation or parole, but you are not quite sure what it was…do not guess. Do not call your insurance broker, your dentist or even Uncle Stevie’s real estate attorney.
You want to call an experienced criminal defense attorney who will have the information you seek, as well as advice as to the best way to proceed if you believe you are about to be charged with perceived wrongdoing…even if you did not know it was wrong at the time.
As you already know, ignorance of the law is not a valid defense…and, after all…I am told that state or federal custody is not the best of places to celebrate the holidays.
Samuel Goldberg is the senior criminal defense attorney at the firm of Altman & Altman, LLP. A former prosecutor in New York, he has worked as a Boston defense attorney over 18 years. He has published various articles regarding the practice of criminal law and frequently provides legal analysis on radio and television, appearing on outlets such as the Fox News Channel, Court TV, MSNBC and The BBC Network. To speak to Sam about a criminal matter call 617-492 3000
The full articles of this story can be found at http://www.eagletribune.com/punewsnh/local_story_356001333.html?keyword=secondarystory