Posted: 4/14/2016 10:51:21 PM EDT
Details only came out recently but this looks to be a good one. This will be directly related to Act 746 and the Appeals Court could rule in such a way that Constitutional Carry becomes established Case Law. The facts of the case as presented by the defendants attorney:
Jerrol was initially charged with harassing communications, disorderly conduct, and possession of a firearm. He represented himself in District Court and the disorderly was thrown out, but he was convicted on the harassing communications and the firearm charge. He retained my firm to appeal the 2 charges he was found guilty of to Circuit Court.
The story is this: Jerroll and his Ex have kids together and don't get along. Apparently, the Ex has a friend that is a Sheriff's Deputy and she asked the Deputy to go talk to Jerroll about an issue. She claimed she was getting calls where the person on the phone was just breathing and hanging up and other nasty messages. Jerroll's Ex assumed they were Jerroll, but she could not prove it (they had zero proof-see below). So, this Sheriff's Deputy shows up at the Police Department (where they do the exchanges) and comes up to Jerroll in front of his kids and starts telling him to quit sending the f****ing messages. Jerroll (having not sent any messages) asked him what he was talking about, which pissed the Deputy off . . . the Deputy kept getting more aggressive in demanding that Jerroll admit to the messages and he finally slammed Jerroll up against the car and removed his id. He then went back to the car to run his info. While he was in the car, Jerroll walked over and asked him for his name and badge number so he could report him for the way he was being treated. The Deputy proceeded to arrest Jerroll for disorderly conduct (which was thrown out during the District case) and harassing communications (which was thrown out during 1st appeal to Circuit), then Jerroll told him he had a firearm and he arrested him for that as well.
In discovery, no communications, phone records, or texts were produced, so, since there were no communications, the harassing communications charge was thrown out, leaving only the firearms charge.
We tried the firearm charge in a bench trial in Circuit Court. I argued that (1) Jerroll was carrying the gun for self defense purposes, never threatened to use it, never pulled it, and the officer didn't even know that he had it until he was arresting him and Jerroll told him it was on his hip. As such, the State could not prove he intended to "employ the weapon in an unlawful manner against another human being." and (2) Jerroll was at a Doctors appointment in Hot Springs (in another County) prior to being arrested and had driven straight to the PD to meet his Ex for the custody exchange, as such, he was on a peaceable journey as described in the statute and was not unlawfully carrying the weapon.
In finding him guilty, the Judge used the wrong statute (the old version that didn't have the work "unlawfully" in it), and further found that Jerroll's peaceable journey ended the second he crossed back into the County. The Judge said he had a weapon which he intended to use against another person (did not state that he intended to use it in an unlawful manner, probably because he was using the wrong statute) and that his peaceable journey had ended. As such, we appealed to the Arkansas Court of Appeals on the basis that the Judge relied on the old statute, that his ruling was contrary to the facts and law in that it was clear from the testimony given that Jerroll did not threaten violence, did not pull the gun, nor did he even let anyone know that he had the gun (until he was being arrested) and, even though it was not necessary for Jerroll to be on a peaceable journey to lawfully carry a firearm, he was in fact on a peaceable journey that did not end until he returned to his home.
Based on the Judge's ruling you would have to leave your guns at the County line and pick them up when you left the County and drop them back off before you came back in. That shouldn't even matter though, because based on the current statute unless the prosecutor can prove he intended to use the weapon in an unlawful manner against another person, he cannot be prosecuted and found guilty of unlawfully possessing a firearm.
I cited to this AG opinion (http://ag.arkansas.gov/opinions/docs/2015-064.html) in my argument to the Court, which I think does an excellent job of summing up Act 746.
Jerroll has been paying my firm $25.00 per month. He did pay me a lump sum up front before the Circuit case, but I am trying to help him out with the appeal which, at $25.00 per month is requiring me to go fairly deep into my own pockets to just cover the costs of the case (transcript, certification, professional binding, etc . . . ). I anticipate that there will be around $1,000.00 of costs associated, give or take $500.00. Even if I could just get the costs covered I would feel much better about the whole thing.
I am a strong advocate of our 2nd Amendment Right to bear arms, and I hate to see Jerroll be convicted of something he obviously was not guilty of. Regardless of what you guys decide to do, I will see the appeal through, because I believe in the cause and think it is time to establish a precedent that will hopefully prevent over zealous cops and prosecutors from throwing people in jail, fining them, and taking their firearms for something that absolutely is not illegal under AR Laws. However, I would certainly accept any monetary assistance you could provide, but it is a fairly simple issue and I figure at the most it would cost $3,000.00 costs and all.
If you need to know anything else, please let me know.
James Lucas Graham
Attorney at Law
The Graham Law Firm
212 S. Main Street
Malvern, AR 72104
Something needs to be done about these out of control LEOs too. And a judge needs to be slapped hard.
I was in a jury pool that Mr. Graham was representing the defendant. I hope he has things wired a little tighter than he did that day.
You know you are living under tyranny when the authorities can knock you around and not be held accountable for their abuse of their power and position.
I've never understood how anybody can be charged with possession of a firearm if they aren't a prohibited person.