On September 20 I am assisting in the presentation of the “Handling the Police Liability Claim” seminar in Charleston, WV at The Summit. This is being put on by the National Business Institute. Here is a link to the website if you are interested in attending. I can tell you that the other attorneys who are presenting are some of the best in the business and it will be worth the time and money. This is the fourth time that I have assisted in putting on a similar seminar, and some of the past attendees I have gone on to have civil rights cases with, and civil rights cases against. It is truly a mixture of plaintiff’s lawyers, defense lawyers, and others. I’ve met county commissioners, city attorneys, prosecutors, etc. I always come away with new ideas, new contacts, and of course continuing education hours.
This week we filed yet another federal excessive force and civil rights lawsuit in Parkersburg, West Virginia. This one is a little bit different though, because city officials, as well as the City of Parkersburg, are included as defendants. See exhibit “1″ below for more information.
It wasn’t a week ago that I mentioned the newspaper article regarding the indictment of a Parkersburg Police officer. Obviously I have some experience with Parkersburg. I settled a case against the Parkersburg Police Department about a month ago, and I also have one other case pending there in federal court against the county. In my last post I inquired as to when we would hear from the Parkersburg Mayor Bob Newell. Well we did hear from him. According to the latest news reports, he has now called the FBI on his own police department.
As the old saying goes, be careful what you wish for.
There was an article in the Charleston Gazette, a few days ago, “Lawsuit challenges W.Va. city gun laws” which explained that “a pro-gun lobbying group” filed a lawsuit (or lawsuits rather?) to overturn gun control laws in four West Virginia “cities”: Charleston, South Charleston, Dunbar and Martinsburg. The lawsuit was filed by the West Virginia Citizens Defense League and challenges Charleston’s limits on the number of handguns a person can buy in a month, as well as the city’s prohibition on possessing firearms on city property, such as in city parking garages.
Charleston, WV Mayor, Danny Jones, was quoted in the story:
Charleston Mayor Danny Jones promised to fight the lawsuit.
. . .
Jones noted the lawsuit was filed in the Charleston federal courthouse where firearms are prohibited.
“All we want is what they have. We want to be able to control our own property,” Jones said. “I don’t know how far these people want to go.”
Jones is one of these know-it-all hypocrite slum lords, who has a police force to protect him, and who denies his subjects, or anyone else venturing into his slum-dom, who are actually law abiding citizens, from possessing legally owned and carried concealed weapons. So if you go into a city-owned parking garage in Charleston, WV, by law you are not allowed to have the ability to protect yourself. Of course in a decaying city full of drug addicts, who would need a gun to protect themselves in a darkly-lit parking garage? Jones doesn’t trust us law abiding citizens to abide by the law.
Interestingly, there was an article in the Charleston Gazette today, that Mayor Danny Jones’ son was arrested for possession of heroin within the slum-dom. This was the statement from Jones’ “mayoral assistant”:
Mayor Jones had no comment about his son’s arrest. Rob Blackstone, mayoral assistant, said, “It is what it is. He’s 21 years old.”
There you have it. Law abiding gun owners just need to stay out of Charleston. Because we all know there is nothing stopping the criminals and drug addicts from obtaining and possessing guns on “city property”. Probably the first place they go to rob somebody will be the city parking garages.
I don’t think these mayors are stupid. They don’t actually believe that their gun control laws will protect people. They have a liberal and/or ignorant majority of voters, who have an ideological hatred towards guns and law-abiding gun owners, whom they see as right-wing fanatics. This fits their agenda. Moreover, the more freedom they take away from their subjects, the more power they gain. Their subjects are made to depend on their protection.
Maybe Danny Jones should worry about the crime/slum/drug problem in his city, instead of wasting taxpayer money promising to fight lawsuits and trying to “control [taxpayer] property”. He obviously has no control, including over his own son.
You should refuse to talk with police because just about every darn thing you could ever do or think is illegal somewhere at some place and time. And if it isn’t, the police may say you do something else that is illegal.
Estimates of the current size of the body of federal criminal law vary, but it has been reported that the Congressional Research Service cannot even count the current number of federal crimes. And these laws are scattered in over the 50 titles of the United States Code, encompassing roughly 27,000 pages. Worse yet, the statutory code sections often incorporate by reference the provisions and sanctions of administrative regulations promulgated by various regulatory agencies. Estimates of how many such regulations exist are even well less settled, but the American Bar Association believes there are nearly 10,000.
For instance, 16 U.S.C. Section 3370 makes it a federal offense for any person to “import, export, transport, sell, receive, acquire, or purchase any fish or wildlife or plant taken, possessed, transported, or sold in violation of any law, treaty, or regulation of the United States or in violation of any Indian tribal law or regulation of any state or any foreign law.
Many people have been prosecuted federally under this statute, which can make it a federal crime to possess a lobster which is too short under some state’s law, or to possess a bony fish from Honduras, which is prohibited in Honduras (though not in the U.S.) – and so on and so forth. And this is only 1 out of approximately 10,000. And this doesn’t even include West Virginia’s lengthy list of state crimes.
Yesterday I attended a hearing in a high profile case. It’s one of those cases where there is public outrage at what happened – one of those cases where the public gets a lynch-mob mentality and the prosecutor and law enforcement press hard for the toughest conviction(s) which they believe they can get (regardless of whether they are justified). There was a news camera in the courtroom. This was not my first case to be followed by local news cameras.
Every single time I have a high profile criminal case, I am awed by the lack of neutrality by the press. They completely ignore the constitution. They ignore the facts. They convict people in the media. They infect the potential jury pool with ignorance, and with the law enforcement mentality that everyone they charge is guilty, and that the public is being served by the prosecution.
How is someone, especially in a case like this, supposed to get a fair trial? Good luck on getting a change of venue. It hasn’t happened for me yet, and I have had some good cases for it.
It’s amazing that as a large mass, the public craves news of prosecutions and convictions. Juries who acquit defendants are publicly and privately condemned. Prosecutors who do not meet their expectations for severe punishment and mass incarceration are voted out of office (or at least campaigned against). Yet, when you separate out 12 individuals and intimately discuss a case with them, and justice in general, reason once again reasserts itself into the situation. Young and old. Republican and Democrat. Liberal and Conservative. The jury system is a protection against the lynch mob. The lynch mob is blinded to the constitution and to the truth. It operates on blind passion and ignorance.
Local news media feeds that monster everyday. Just watch local news. They talk about this conviction, and that conviction, and that this man will go to prison for X amount of years, and so on and so forth. You never read or hear about acquittals, unless of course it is set in the context of some slimy lawyer getting a guilty person off on a technicality.
- John H. Bryan
One of the interesting things about having a blog is that you get to see exactly how many people visit, as well as what brought them there, including search engine searches. Sometimes I look at these statistics, sometimes I don’t. I just happened to look this morning, and apparently one person was brought here this morning by searching “West Virginia’s most notorious criminal,” and another was brought by searching “greatest West Virginia criminal defense attorneys.” I’ll just let that speak for itself.
- John H. Bryan, West Virginia Attorney.
Here is a picture my father took of the shuttle returning to Cape Canaveral atop the 747. It apparently was flying pretty low. This location is still about 50 miles south of Cape Canaveral.
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