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Posted: 2/8/2006 9:15:40 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/8/2006 9:18:25 PM EDT by Elite-Soldier]
www.belleville.com/mld/belleville/13818654.htm

Hit the poll in the link: POLL: Are federal prosecutors being too harsh on state troopers accused of failing to register automatic rifles?



10 chiefs oppose gun charges against state troopers

Administrative discipline urged if needed

BY GEORGE PAWLACZYK News-Democrat BELLEVILLE -

Nine chiefs of police have endorsed a letter written by Belleville Police Chief Dave Ruebhausen urging that three Illinois state troopers charged with weapons violations not to be prosecuted.

If they are guilty, they should be punished administratively, according to Ruebhausen's letter given Tuesday to the News-Democrat.

The letter also was endorsed by two state senators, two sheriffs and retired Belleville Police Chief Terry Delaney, a former U.S. marshal.
But a statement on Tuesday issued by interim U.S. Attorney Edward McNally cautioned, "These matters are now in public court ... no doubt many of the officials (listed in the letter) will look forward to an opportunity to have a complete understanding of all the facts in the case...."
The statement added, "Many would say that at the charging level, they (troopers) should be treated the same as any other citizen."

The troopers -- Greg Mugge of Jerseyville, John Yard of Collinsville and James Vest of O'Fallon -- are charged in federal court in East St. Louis with illegal possession of automatic weapons. They face a maximum of 10 years behind bars and a $250,000 fine.

Vest and Yard are assigned to the State Police in Collinsville and Mugge works out of Litchfield. They were suspended with pay pending a hearing before the state police merit review board.
A physician, former Glen Carbon resident Dr. Harold Griffiths of Spaulding, also is charged. All were released on their own recognizance.

The troopers could have legally possessed automatic rifles or "machine guns" on their jobs if certain federal paperwork had been completed. Under certain circumstances, this would allow them to take the rifles home.

Ruebhausen urged that the troopers, who are said to have unblemished records, be disciplined internally.

His letter stated, "We do not see how the citizens are made safer by placing these troopers in jail."

In an interview, Ruebhausen said, "You're not supposed to own (illegal) weapons... But the bottom line is that with all the thugs out on the street, is society served by putting these officers in jail?"



McNally's written statement, released after a copy of Ruebhausen's letter was sent to the U.S. attorney's office, stated, "The United States respects the views of the chiefs, sheriffs and the senators and the fact that they too, have to make decisions every day about whether to treat public officials the same as other citizens."
The statement continued, "Every man and woman who has worn the badge has risked their life to protect others. That is one of the reasons there are few situations more challenging than allegations that a police officer has violated the law...."

Mearl Justus, the sheriff of St. Clair County, declined to add his name to the letter.
"They asked me and I said I'd rather not sign it because I don't think anybody knows enough about what happened."

I used to work for him

The charges were announced Jan. 17 at a news conference at the U.S. attorney's office. At that time, State Police Director Larry Trent said the troopers "... are not above the law." He could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
According to information from the news conference, the weapons were rifles, an M-16 designed to fire automatically and two AR-15 semiautomatic rifles that had been converted to fire fully automatic, or as long as the trigger is depressed.

Vest, 39, is a weapons instructor who purchased his M-16 in 1998 and used it often for police firearms instruction. He allegedly told police that he sometimes took the weapon home.
Sen. Bill Haine, D-Alton, a former Madison County state's attorney, said he was "stunned" when he read that the troopers had been charged.
"In this case there does not appear to be any conduct intended to violate the statute," he said.

Besides Ruebhausen, the area police chiefs who signed the letter are, Chris Sullivan, Alton; Richard Miller, Granite City; Scott Williams, Collinsville; Patrick Delaney, Sauget; Joe Brauer, Waterloo; Joe Edwards, Columbia; William Webber, Wood River; Darren Carlton, East Alton; and Brian Vielweber of Smithton.

Williams, the Collinsville chief, said that while he allowed his name to be added to the letter, he is still in favor of criminal charges, if the facts warrant.

"I'm not saying they shouldn't get in trouble over this," he said, " (but) they shouldn't be made an example of because they are officers."
Sen. James Watson, R-Greenville, whose name is on the letter, could not be reached. Delaney also could not be reached.

Bond County Sheriff Jeff Brown and Madison County Sheriff Bob Hertz also added their names to the letter. Hertz was out of town but Brown said, "I see this as driving a wedge between (federal officers) and local and state law enforcement."
Link Posted: 2/8/2006 9:19:49 PM EDT
As much as I think its bullshit they are trying to get special treatment for these guys just because they are cops this might be the case to use to challenge the NFA law
Link Posted: 2/8/2006 9:20:44 PM EDT
"All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others."

Link Posted: 2/8/2006 9:23:20 PM EDT
Jail 'em, just like they would me.
Link Posted: 2/8/2006 9:25:35 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Wraithtouch:
As much as I think its bullshit they are trying to get special treatment for these guys just because they are cops this might be the case to use to challenge the NFA law



Never happen in a billion years. The LAST thing the LEO leadership will do is press a case that would "weaken" gun laws for you and me.

Some rank-and-file may think differently but the polical ass-kissers that run the show wouldn't stand for it. Now if it was to exempt LEO's from NFA *then* they might consider it.
Link Posted: 2/8/2006 9:25:38 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/8/2006 9:27:21 PM EDT by twonami]
Link Posted: 2/8/2006 9:28:20 PM EDT

Originally Posted By captainpooby:
Jail 'em, just like they would me.



I could not agree more. They would happy help send me to club fed.
Link Posted: 2/8/2006 9:28:59 PM EDT
If they get off, could it be precedent to do the same to others? I could recreate that scenario.
Link Posted: 2/8/2006 9:29:20 PM EDT

In this case there does not appear to be any conduct intended to violate the statute,"


Am I mistaken, or isn't this the case where they did some intentional paperwork forgery to show they could have the Full-Autos? Something like forged letters on department letterhead?

AFARR
Link Posted: 2/8/2006 9:31:48 PM EDT
punished administratively??

Does that mean they have to make donut runs for the next month?


I hate the 34 NFA, but they deserve no special treatment. Fuck em.
Link Posted: 2/8/2006 9:42:10 PM EDT
wow... thats all i can say
Link Posted: 2/8/2006 9:46:35 PM EDT
+1 on the WOW
Impressive double standard there
Link Posted: 2/8/2006 9:47:09 PM EDT
Send their asses to jail just like they would me.
Link Posted: 2/8/2006 9:50:50 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/8/2006 9:52:21 PM EDT by southeast_scrounger]
They are required to be prosecuted under the same laws as you or I would be.

ETA: Think all those chiefs would back one of us up in the same circumstances?
Link Posted: 2/8/2006 9:56:35 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Elite-Soldier:

Mearl Justus, the sheriff of St. Clair County, declined to add his name to the letter.
"They asked me and I said I'd rather not sign it because I don't think anybody knows enough about what happened."



Sheriff Justus taught several of my college courses. All the ARFcommers would like him, very blunt and honest guy. First day of a Police Administration course, he looked at this 19 year old with orange hair, pierced nose, and about 10 hoops in his left ear. The Sheriff just said "Get out, if you take your appearance as a joke, you'd do the same thing to a law enforcement agency".

That said, I agree with the above poster - if taken the right way by the lawyers, this could actually lead to increased freedoms.

Link Posted: 2/8/2006 9:57:48 PM EDT
If the law was broken.....
Link Posted: 2/8/2006 9:59:40 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Wraithtouch:
As much as I think its bullshit they are trying to get special treatment for these guys just because they are cops this might be the case to use to challenge the NFA law



That is precisely what I thought when I read this.
Link Posted: 2/8/2006 10:01:57 PM EDT
Letting them off the hook would open the laws to widespread abuse. When the police called on you, criminals would show up, wearing uniforms.

If they let them off the hook, we should release from prison everyone else who is guilty of the same crime and no other, then clear their records.
Link Posted: 2/8/2006 10:04:29 PM EDT
FPMITAP

Federal
Pound-
me-
in-
the-
ass
prison
Link Posted: 2/8/2006 10:11:04 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Sagus:

Originally Posted By Elite-Soldier:

Mearl Justus, the sheriff of St. Clair County, declined to add his name to the letter.
"They asked me and I said I'd rather not sign it because I don't think anybody knows enough about what happened."



Sheriff Justus taught several of my college courses. All the ARFcommers would like him, very blunt and honest guy. First day of a Police Administration course, he looked at this 19 year old with orange hair, pierced nose, and about 10 hoops in his left ear. The Sheriff just said "Get out, if you take your appearance as a joke, you'd do the same thing to a law enforcement agency".

That said, I agree with the above poster - if taken the right way by the lawyers, this could actually lead to increased freedoms.




If it doesn't go to trial, there is no precedential value and it changes nothing.

Link Posted: 2/8/2006 10:12:03 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Da_Bunny:
If they let them off the hook, we should release from prison everyone else who is guilty of the same crime and no other, then clear their records.




Excellent idea.
Link Posted: 2/8/2006 10:17:48 PM EDT



Link Posted: 2/8/2006 10:19:16 PM EDT

"I'm not saying they shouldn't get in trouble over this," he said, " (but) they shouldn't be made an example of because they are officers."


Actually, that is precisely the reason they should be made an example. If the ones enforcing the Law are seen as having no regard for it, no one else will believe they should regard it either.

Officers frequently comment (and rightly) they are "just like you guys." To punish these officers in a purely internal, administrative fashion, puts the lie to this. This would only serve to widen the "Us vs. Them" mentality that so damages police-community relations.
Link Posted: 2/8/2006 10:20:59 PM EDT
I'm crying for them, I really am.

Link Posted: 2/8/2006 10:39:09 PM EDT
How would he be able to buy the machine gun in 1998 w/o ATF having done proper paperwork first? Wouldn't it be incumbent upon the Transferring FFL to verify the ATF had approved the paperwork before handing the rifle over?
Link Posted: 2/8/2006 10:45:14 PM EDT
The same federal court sent several men to prison for possessing parts kits that atf claimed were machine guns, within the last year to two years. These four willingly and knowingly committed felonies. Do I like the law? No, but these four aren't above it either.
Link Posted: 2/9/2006 12:44:27 AM EDT

Originally Posted By captainpooby:
Jail 'em, just like they would me.



Hell yeah!
Link Posted: 2/9/2006 1:01:49 AM EDT

Originally Posted By TheFreepster:

Originally Posted By captainpooby:
Jail 'em, just like they would me.



I could not agree more. They would happy help send me to club fed.



Then tout is as a great victory. Look what we took off the streets, illegal machine gun's. As I am always reminded, ignorance of the law is no excuse.

Link Posted: 2/9/2006 1:10:42 AM EDT
They should go to jail just like anybody else, i am tired of this shit with LEOs just getting fired when they should be going to jail, they broke the law,they go to jail.
Link Posted: 2/9/2006 1:20:58 AM EDT
Where is our local contingent of blue apologists and loyal LEO's?

Come on fellas, when you're acting within the scope of your duties and pissing on the B.O.R., you're happy to defend yourselves. Now here we are with 3 poor guys practicing civil disobedience against an unconstitutional law, and you're not standing up for these criminals patriots.

What gives?

Link Posted: 2/9/2006 1:30:30 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/9/2006 1:32:49 AM EDT by Elite-Soldier]

Originally Posted By HarrySacz:
They should go to jail just like anybody else, i am tired of this shit with LEOs just getting fired when they should be going to jail, they broke the law,they go to jail.



Yep, its time. I have no beef with LEO's in general. Its just fucks like this that chaps my ass.
Time the fuckers go to jail!
Link Posted: 2/9/2006 1:46:21 AM EDT
I dont want to take away from the Arfcom discussion, but i just cant help it.

When you vote, and please do, dont forget to read the comments left at the bottom of the pol results page. They are...well, you just have to look and see, lmao.

Heres a few SHINING examples:


I can not believe that their obtaining a class 3 license is an issue
Every officer should have the right to train for and apply for class 3 license.



My husband was a police officer in the early 1980's. He bought a gun from another police officer that had stolen the gun and then sold it to my husband. Guess what , my husband had to do three months in a penitentiary because the States Attorney wanted to make an example out of him.




The automatic belief that police are no different than the everyday citizen when in fact they ARE. They put their lives on the line like no CITIZEN ever does... they are TRAINED to use weapons like most citizen aren't.




Simple: Did they break the law? Substitue "I" for police officer and think about what the penalty would be. Treat everyone the same, no more no less. I somehow doubt that I would be at home on a paid vacation if I had been arrested for the same thing. Anyone else here think their boss would say "Go home till this is settled and we'll send you your checks?" I think not!



Link Posted: 2/9/2006 1:52:34 AM EDT



Simple: Did they break the law? Substitue "I" for police officer and think about what the penalty would be. Treat everyone the same, no more no less. I somehow doubt that I would be at home on a paid vacation if I had been arrested for the same thing. Anyone else here think their boss would say "Go home till this is settled and we'll send you your checks?" I think not!




PLUS, they All were released on their own recognizance.

Lets see you or i do that.

Link Posted: 2/9/2006 1:59:33 AM EDT
Dont this look like what most cop posters on here would say?
Sounds like most of'em, dosent it?

Come on people... where's the interest in fair play? Should the fact that they're police officers influence the decision against them just because they're police officers??? That's what's happening!

See how STUPID you all look? Geez.




Link Posted: 2/9/2006 3:08:37 AM EDT
If they obtained the guns illegally or altered them to be class-3 then they need to go to jail, but the article never actually stated what they are charged with, how they obtained the guns or if they forged paperwork to get them. In fact it kinda left it open that maybe they obtained them through the agency, but didn't complete part of the process or the agency allowed them to obtain them (on letterhead) not knowing what they were getting or not thoroughly checking out what they bought. One guy was a firearms instructor who used it for demonstration purposes, that tells me someone knew what these guys bought. There is also the reference to "if they had filled out the paperwork to let them take them home" statement in there too. I'm not saying the cops involved are golden by any means, but something isn't right with the prosecution either imho.
Link Posted: 2/9/2006 3:23:10 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Elite-Soldier:

In an interview, Ruebhausen said, "You're not supposed to own (illegal) weapons... But the bottom line is that with all the thugs out on the street, is society served by putting these officers in jail?"
...
Bond County Sheriff Jeff Brown and Madison County Sheriff Bob Hertz also added their names to the letter. Hertz was out of town but Brown said, "I see this as driving a wedge between (federal officers) and local and state law enforcement."





They knowingly committed felonies! It appears to me that these idiots are now the "thugs out on the street" and deserve to be locked up.

I think I recall hearing something about "when you break the law, JUSTICE will be served" (as opposed to society). Someone let me know if I'm wrong...

I hope the BATFE does the right thing here.
Link Posted: 2/9/2006 3:36:36 AM EDT
No special treatment. Have fun in prison boys, take a hemmoroid pillow and some KY....
Link Posted: 2/9/2006 3:37:23 AM EDT

Originally Posted By HarrySacz:
They should go to jail just like anybody else, i am tired of this shit with LEOs just getting fired when they should be going to jail, they broke the law,they go to jail.



Yep. Then maybe that will energize the police to get the laws relaxed.
Link Posted: 2/9/2006 3:41:18 AM EDT

Originally Posted By swingset:
Where is our local contingent of blue apologists and loyal LEO's?

Come on fellas, when you're acting within the scope of your duties and pissing on the B.O.R., you're happy to defend yourselves. Now here we are with 3 poor guys practicing civil disobedience against an unconstitutional law, and you're not standing up for these criminals patriots.

What gives?




I know you have that short term memory problem going, but if you refer to the ORIGINAL thread, you will find the "Blue Apologists" want them in prison too.

Nice try at a troll though. I'm sure the day shift guys will be along shortly.
Link Posted: 2/9/2006 3:44:44 AM EDT
Oh come on guys, with all the thugs out on the streets, shouldnt LEO's be allowed to sell smack if they want to? Hell, they are the good guys, dont the good guys get to violate any law at will? They risk their lives to keep peddlers and gun runners off the street, so cant they peddle and run guns? They are doing it for our safety.
Link Posted: 2/9/2006 3:52:43 AM EDT
Poll changed.

Why are they different than us? As has been said, if it was one of us, they'd be hanging us from the highest rafter. Do the same to them.
Link Posted: 2/9/2006 4:07:38 AM EDT
I am unclear as to exactly what these guys are being charged with. Is it a manufacturing charge or a posession charge?

Are the charges based on taking home a fully automatic weapon they are issued at work?

The article doesn't say what they are being charged with here.

If they just took a weapon home that they are issued or that they have access to at work, that is a pretty stupid charge.

Now if they are taking semi-auto rifles and converting them, that is something they ought to know better than to do.

This is, btw, why lots of departments have no desire to fool around with NFA weapons.
Link Posted: 2/9/2006 4:30:55 AM EDT
Folks we are talking about Illinois. The machine is circling the wagons.

Ask yourself this question, how much money is it gonna take before the announcement that "We have found insufficient evidence to go forward with prosecution."

Link Posted: 2/9/2006 4:35:23 AM EDT
Fuck 'em. If they broke the law, they need to pay the price just like everyone else. To hell with giving law enforcement officers special treatment. They wouldn't give non-law enforcement a break ,would they? No, they would nail you to the cross!
Link Posted: 2/9/2006 4:37:15 AM EDT

Originally Posted By captainpooby:
Jail 'em, just like they would me.



+1
Link Posted: 2/9/2006 4:42:31 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Bama-Shooter:

Originally Posted By captainpooby:
Jail 'em, just like they would me.



+1



+1
Link Posted: 2/9/2006 4:44:34 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Wraithtouch:
As much as I think its bullshit they are trying to get special treatment for these guys just because they are cops this might be the case to use to challenge the NFA law



Yeah, just like using the national CCW law for LEOs as leverage to get it for regular people.

If it was you or I those same chiefs couldn't put us in prison fast enough. Fuck em, I hope they get maximum time just like you or I would.
Link Posted: 2/9/2006 4:44:39 AM EDT

Originally Posted By npd233:
How would he be able to buy the machine gun in 1998 w/o ATF having done proper paperwork first? Wouldn't it be incumbent upon the Transferring FFL to verify the ATF had approved the paperwork before handing the rifle over?



When we bought some NFA items, the Chief wrote a letter, a few weeks later the items and paper work showed up. Almost as easy as ordering a Glock via letter head.
Link Posted: 2/9/2006 4:59:52 AM EDT
Try, convict, put in cell with Bubba for ten years.

Fuck 'em. They are criminals.
Link Posted: 2/9/2006 5:03:34 AM EDT

Originally Posted By John_Wayne777:
I am unclear as to exactly what these guys are being charged with. Is it a manufacturing charge or a posession charge?

Are the charges based on taking home a fully automatic weapon they are issued at work? No.

The article doesn't say what they are being charged with here.

If they just took a weapon home that they are issued or that they have access to at work, that is a pretty stupid charge. These were 'home-grown' MG's

Now if they are taking semi-auto rifles and converting them, that is something they ought to know better than to do.

This is, btw, why lots of departments have no desire to fool around with NFA weapons.



Link Posted: 2/9/2006 5:06:26 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/9/2006 5:08:25 AM EDT by jimtash9]
No, those guys will more than likely get a reprimand and that'll be the end of it. Here in my town, we had a few LEO's taking in a little action at a whorehouse of all things. Instead of going through the shame and embarassment of at least having their names printed and/or being fired like they do everyone else that get busted for the same thing, the chief seals their records with an official reprimand. So I really don't see anything here that leads me to believe these CRIMINALS will be treated any differently. Hypocrites, it's what LEO's are made of.
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