PDA

View Full Version : North Carolina: innocent of gun charges but still jailed


rabagley
06-14-2012, 6:55 AM
http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/story/2012-06-13/innocent-incarcerated-prisoners/55585176/1

Anyone know anything about this? The Justice Department's position sounds indefensible. If you're innocent, you should be set free. Yesterday, if possible.

SanPedroShooter
06-14-2012, 6:59 AM
The 4th Circuit's decision came in a little-noticed drug case, United States v. Simmons, but its implications could be dramatic. For one thing, tens of thousands of people in North Carolina have criminal records that no longer make having a gun a federal crime. About half of the felony convictions in North Carolina's state courts over the past decade were for offenses that no longer count as felonies under federal law.

No one yet knows precisely how many people were incorrectly convicted for having a gun, but the number could be significant. Rand, the U.S. attorney in Greensboro, estimated that more than a third of the gun cases his office prosecuted might be in question, either because the defendants didn't commit a federal crime at all by possessing a gun or because their sentences were calculated incorrectly.

"We're going to be addressing this for a while," he said.

Oh boy....

SanPedroShooter
06-14-2012, 7:01 AM
"At most," the Justice Department said in an April court filing , McCullum "has become legally innocent of the charge against him." In other words, the law may have changed, but the facts of his case didn't — he did possess the gun, and he had a criminal record — so he isn't entitled to be released.

So he did do what the state alledges, but its not actually a crime. So.....?


Too innocent to be kept in custody, and too guilty to be set free.

"Abraham drew near, and said, "Will you consume the righteous with the wicked? What if there are fifty righteous within the city? Will you consume and not spare the place for the fifty righteous who are in it? ... What if ten are found there?" He [The Lord] said, "I will not destroy it for the ten's sake."

Lulfas
06-14-2012, 7:35 AM
Too innocent to be kept in custody, and too guilty to be set free.


Everyone who fell foul of this issue has already been convicted of something else. Makes for nasty cases where the Courts aren't going to move too quickly to help.

SanPedroShooter
06-14-2012, 7:52 AM
Everyone who fell foul of this issue has already been convicted of something else. Makes for nasty cases where the Courts aren't going to move too quickly to help.

Yes, some of these guys seem to be pretty awful human beings. But if what you have been charged with something that is not, or no longer, or misinterpreted by the court as a crime, on what grounds are you being held?

Do repeals of law work retroactively? Of course that is not what is happening here. The state wrongly assumed what these people did was a crime, when in fact, according to the fourth circuit, there is no crime at all.

Yes, they have records and were in possesion of guns, but that isnt is a crime in these cases. Why are they being held?

speedrrracer
06-14-2012, 8:45 AM
The legal issues underlying their situation are complicated, and are unique to North Carolina. But the bottom line is that each of them went to prison for breaking a law that makes it a federal crime for convicted felons to possess a gun. The problem is that none of them had criminal records serious enough to make them felons under federal law.

So the federal law says felons can't possess guns, fine.

TFA is saying they were only felons on the state level, not on the federal level, so they're not "really" felons according to the what? standard of scrutiny? that should have been applied?

dustoff31
06-14-2012, 9:17 AM
"We can't be outcome driven," said Anne Tompkins, the U.S. attorney in Charlotte.

And clearly she is not outcome driven, it appears. Guilty, innocent, wrong charge, not guilty enough, becomes innocent, none of it matters, everyone goes to/stays in prison.

It's incredible that a US attorney prosecuted these people for a federal crime and locked them up in a federal pen, and they are now trying to blame the state of NC for it.

njineermike
06-14-2012, 9:23 AM
Everyone who fell foul of this issue has already been convicted of something else. Makes for nasty cases where the Courts aren't going to move too quickly to help.

So what? If what they did NOW isn't a crime, they shouldn't be in jail.

dantodd
06-14-2012, 10:08 AM
So what? If what they did NOW isn't a crime, they shouldn't be in jail.

No. What they did THEN was not a crime THEN but they got convicted anyway. Any of the cases that were jury trials should be tossed out. As for anyone who is in on a plea deal I don't know what should happen.

Nick Justice
06-14-2012, 4:50 PM
I'm surprised to see such a story in USA Today. They hate guns. Why do they care?

wurger
06-14-2012, 5:11 PM
This kind of BS won't stop until a few prosecutors or DA's actually get sent up the river for their mistakes/omissions/"it's not my job" excuses.

Drivedabizness
06-14-2012, 7:40 PM
"We are not outcome driven"

Is it NOT called the Dept of JUSTICE???

Every swingin' dick who knew about this and did not move to correct the error should be a) fired, b) pension/benefit stripped, c) open for litigation & punitive damages.

That'd fix their attitudes, in a hurry!

Drivedabizness
06-14-2012, 7:41 PM
"We are not outcome driven"

Is it NOT called the Dept of JUSTICE???

Every swingin' dick who knew about this and did not move to correct the error should be a) fired, b) pension/benefit stripped, c) open for litigation & punitive damages.

That'd fix their attitudes, in a hurry!

penguinofsleep
06-14-2012, 7:47 PM
government competence at its best.

Meplat
06-14-2012, 8:29 PM
So what? If what they did NOW isn't a crime, they shouldn't be in jail.

It wasn't a crime THEN!

EM2
06-14-2012, 8:30 PM
These cases are largely unknown outside the courthouses here, but they have raised difficult questions about what, if anything, the government owes to innocent people locked in prisons.


The government owes them the right to be released.
For christ sake they are talking about turning their back on these people!

Meplat
06-14-2012, 8:55 PM
No. What they did THEN was not a crime THEN but they got convicted anyway. Any of the cases that were jury trials should be tossed out. As for anyone who is in on a plea deal I don't know what should happen.

I thought that one viable basis for an appeal was incompetence of council. If someone tells you to plead guilty to a non-crime, I think that calls into question their competence.

Doctor’s mistakes end up in the cemetery; lawyer’s mistakes end up in prison; teacher’s mistakes end up in voting booths. We have all heard that one. Seeing as how the poster boy they picked for this whole sordid mess committed robbery as soon as he got out again, it would seem that the world would be better off if these folks slipped from the lawyer’s category to the doctor’s category, rather than the teacher’s. But we don’t do things that way; that would be outcome based.

The fellow with the high speed chase, vehicular ADW, pregnant 15 year old, and a sawed off shotgun could have been put away for a good long time on state busts, but none were charged. Why? Obviously because they would rather the feds burned federal court time and money, than to do things right themselves! What a Charley Foxtrot our “justice” system has become!

Meplat
06-14-2012, 9:10 PM
"We are not outcome driven"

Is it NOT called the Dept of JUSTICE???

Every swingin' dick who knew about this and did not move to correct the error should be a) fired, b) pension/benefit stripped, c) open for litigation & punitive damages.

That'd fix their attitudes, in a hurry!

Better yet. For every day, after becoming aware of compelling evidence of factual innocence of a defendant, that any Judge or prosecutor associated with a case, delays notifying the defendant or his council, that Judge or prosecutor should be liable for two days detention, in the same facility, under the same circumstances.

huntercf
06-15-2012, 12:09 AM
Better yet. For every day, after becoming aware of compelling evidence of factual innocence of a defendant, that any Judge or prosecutor associated with a case, delays notifying the defendant or his council, that Judge or prosecutor should be liable for two days detention, in the same facility, under the same circumstances.

^^^THIS
Most of them are not saints BUT our system is suppose to be set up so people are not wrongfully convicted even though it happens. If they are innocent of the charges they are in for then they need to be let go today, NOT tomorrow. It burns me up that prosecutors know people are innocent but they still want to keep them in jail/prison. IMO any prosecutor who refuses to free innocent people should be immediately taken to jail.

Mulay El Raisuli
06-15-2012, 4:41 AM
I'm surprised to see such a story in USA Today. They hate guns. Why do they care?


The pendulum is swinging. Looks like even USA Today is seeing the injustice inherent in "gun laws."

This is a good thing.


The Raisuli

randian
06-15-2012, 8:26 AM
"because their sentences were calculated incorrectly"

That seems like an easier appeal avenue. If you're in prison for five years for a crime that has a max sentence under the law of 3 years, and you've actually been in prison more than 3 years, it would seem a slam-dunk case for gaining freedom. I don't see how a DA could argue against that, even in plea bargain cases.

I don't understand why the DAs think "he actually carried the gun" has any legal weight. Since that conduct wasn't illegal, they might as well be saying "he was eating an ice cream cone".