Another step closer

We don’t have anti-gun bigots being prosecuted for violations of 18 USC 241 and 242 but this is another step closer:

Judge Black concluded as a matter of law that the police violated Matthew St. John’s constitutional rights under the Fourth Amendment because they seized and disarmed him even though there was not “any reason to believe that a crime was afoot.”  Judge Black’s opinion is consistent with numerous high state and federal appellate courts, e.g., the United States Supreme Court in Florida v. J.L. (2000) (detaining man on mere report that he has a gun violates the Fourth Amendment) and the Washington Appeals Court in State v. Casad (2004) (detaining man observed by police as openly carrying rifles on a public street violates the Fourth Amendment).

Mr. St. John’s attorney, Miguel Garcia, of Alamogordo, NM was pleased with the ruling and look forward to the next phase of the litigation which is a jury trial to establish the amount of damages, and possibly punitive damages.  Garcia said that 

“[i]t was great to see the Court carefully consider the issues presented by both sides and conclude that the U.S. Constitution prohibits the government from detaining and searching individuals solely for exercising their rights to possess a firearm as guaranteed by our state and federal constitutions.”

Notably, Judge Black denied the police officers’ requested “qualified immunity,” a judicially created doctrine allowing government officials acting in good faith to avoid liability for violating the law where the law was not “clearly established.”

I think its actually a big step closer to where we want to be.

H/T to Ride Fast.

3 thoughts on “Another step closer

  1. Baby steps. We’ll get there. We just have to keep in mind that some of the current antis might end up deserving our sympathy and a light sentence if they change their ways and cooperate in future prosecutions. We do not need to get vengeful (yet). All we need is basic justice and old-fashioned respect, though there will be some compensation due to their immediate victims.

  2. So it appears it is not actually a crime to violate a constitutional right.

    I would have though that if you had identified a crme then the perpetrator could be prosecuted in a court. Noneof that seems to result from court cases where a right has been violated from what I can see.

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