Thoughts, essays, and writings on Liberty. Written by the heirs of Patrick Henry.

“It's time we asked ourselves if we still know the freedoms intended for us by the Founding Fathers. James Madison said, "We base all our experiments on the capacity of mankind for self-government." This idea that government was beholden to the people, that it had no other source of power, is still the newest, most unique idea in all the long history of man's relation to man. This is the issue of this election: Whether we believe in our capacity for self-government or whether we abandon the American Revolution and confess that a little intellectual elite in a far-distant capital can plan our lives for us better than we can plan them ourselves.”     Ronald Reagan

December 14, 2010

ACTION ALERT: Call/Write NJ Gov. Christie and Tell him to Pardon Brian Aitken

by Stephen Littau

For those of you who are unfamiliar with this case involving a lawful gun owner being caught in the snare of New Jersey’s strict gun control laws, here’s a summary of what happened:

On January 2, 2009 Brian was arrested for illegal possession of firearms while moving from one residence from another. All of the firearms were legally owned—Brian passed three different FBI background checks to purchase and had even cleared an FBI screening for employment as a data researcher handling confidential information for a banking security software firm. His integrity, character, and right to own was not in question…so what was?

New Jersey statutes make it illegal for anyone without a concealed carry permit to possess a firearm even if it’s otherwise lawfully owned. The only way to lawfully possess firearms in New Jersey is through exemptions to the law like driving to and from a shooting range or moving residences. However, as they are exemptions from the law they must be raised during trial therefore removing the presumption of innocence for the charge of possession.

[…]

Several witnesses, including the arresting officer, testified that not only did Brian have multiple residences but that his car was packed with his personal belongings–so much so that it took the police 2 hours and 39 minutes before they found Brian’s guns locked and unloaded in the trunk of his car, exactly as NJ law dictates. Brian knew this because only days earlier he had found out through the NJ state police how to legally transport his firearms in NJ. The officers, believing Brian had done nothing wrong, then offered to leave the firearms at his parents’ house, but when they wouldn’t fit in his father’s safe the supervising officer decided to arrest him instead.

[…]

During the trial it became clear to everyone in the courtroom that Brian fit the exemptions of the law for moving between residences. However, the judge withheld the law from the jury, thereby ensuring a guilty verdict. Regardless, the jury returned from deliberation three times specifically requesting to be read the exemptions of the law. One can only assume that this was so they could find Brian not guilty. The judge and the prosecutor made it clear that they had no intention of allowing Brian to walk out an innocent man. They were more interested in a guilty verdict than truth and justice.

It seems pretty clear to me that the judge (who was not reappointed by Gov. Christie) and prosecutor want to make an example of Mr. Aitken. By all accounts, Aitken went out of his way to obey New Jersey’s absurd anti-gun laws but somehow finds himself serving 7 years in state prison.

There is a very good possibility that Gov. Christie (R) will pardon Aitken as Christie seems to be sympathetic in this case. He’s already getting quite a flood of messages into his office to do the right thing but I believe we should join in and encourage even more to do the same.

Call Gov. Christie at 609-292-6000 and politely leave a message to set Brian Aitken free so that he can spend his Christmas with his family instead of behind bars.

You can also join “Free Brian Aitken” on Facebook. Go here for additional details.

***UPDATE***

I’m very pleased to announce that this action alert can be cancelled: Gov. Christie has commuted Aitken’s sentence to time served. Go here to read my update on the case.

Thanks to all who participated in this action alert.

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5 Comments

  1. Every time I hear about this, one thing crosses my mind: How the hell did all of the jurors declare him guilty when they knew damn well that sometehing was fishy and that this man’s actions were perfectly reasonable??

    Comment by Jeff Molby — December 15, 2010 @ 10:40 am
  2. Jeff,

    I can imagine that at least some of the jurors felt intimidated by the judge. If you have ever been called to jury duty, one of the things the judge says is that the jury must decide based on the facts and the law. What is one to do when it seems that not all the facts are presented or the law itself is unjust?

    My answer: jury nullification.

    Of course anyone who is considered for a jury who utters those words will most likely be excused from serving. I do however, think there is a good way around this. I believe natural law trumps any law that is contrary to the rights of life, liberty, and property. I could in good conscious argue that the New Jersey law is contrary to both the 2nd Amendment and the natural right of self defense.

    I think in this case, however; the jurors ultimately decided to give the prosecution the benefit of the doubt instead of Mr. Aitken.

    Comment by Stephen Littau — December 15, 2010 @ 11:52 am
  3. Of course. I wouldn’t have been the least bit surprised if most of the jurors voted guilty, but I am surprised that not even one of them said, “F### that.”

    Comment by Jeff Molby — December 15, 2010 @ 1:54 pm
  4. P.S. Yes, I was recently on a jury on a bullshit case and I was prepared to be the lone dissenter. As it turned out, though, we voted “not guilty” unanimously.

    Comment by Jeff Molby — December 15, 2010 @ 1:55 pm
  5. [...] Post: ACTION ALERT: Call/Write NJ Gov. Christie and Tell him to Pardon Brian Aitken Share and [...]

    Pingback by The Liberty Papers »Blog Archive » UPDATE: Gov. Christie Commutes Brian Aitken’s Sentence to Time Served — December 21, 2010 @ 11:50 am

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