Showing posts with label New Jersey. Show all posts
Showing posts with label New Jersey. Show all posts

Friday, December 22, 2017

New Jersey: 10 Pardons

North reports "outgoing" Gov. Chris Christie has pardoned 10 people, "including a former Mount Olive police officer who was convicted of obstruction of justice for accessing a federal criminal database as a favor to a neighbor." It was Christie's "largest single batch of pardons in his eight years of office."

In 8 years, Christie issued clemency to "29 people, including 27 pardons and two commutations of sentences, according to a statement from his office. All but three of them have come since 2015, the year he launched his bid for president, and nearly all of them have been for gun-related charges."

See story here.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

New Jersey: Pardons reports Gov. Christie has "pardoned two more out-of-state residents -- both military veterans -- who were convicted of carrying their legally owned firearms into New Jersey" - Michael A. Golden (NM) and James Michael Thaddeus Peterson (NC) . Golden, a 68 year old former Army medic and with a Purple Heart, was arrested in 2013 for having a handgun in hotel room. Pederson was arrested in 2014 for possessing a handgun after an altercation. He was "a corporal in the Marine Corps and now serves as Director of Veterans Services for Moore County in North Carolina." writes, "Under New Jersey law, people with gun permits from out of state must keep their weapons unloaded and locked in their vehicle's trunk or stored in a secure container when they travel through the Garden State" and Christie "has now signed 14 gun-related pardons in his seven and a half years as governor, many for veterans. Most have come in the years since he announced his bid for the Republican nomination for president in 2015."

Christie says, "We need to be smarter about the way we do this ... What I don't want is for folks to feel like they can't come into our state, and be able to travel through it, or visit it, and have to make sure they go on the internet and look up exactly how you're supposed to be dealing with the gun laws." See story here.

Friday, April 14, 2017

New Jersey: Commutation of Sentence

Eyewitness News ABC7 notes Governor Christie has granted a commutation of sentence to "a decorated Marine veteran facing a mandatory three years behind bars on a gun charge." Marine Sergeant Hisashi Pompey's conviction stands, but the penalty is gone.
To combat gang violence, New Jersey lawmakers several years ago tacked on mandatory sentences for gun-related offenses. And even though Pompey's firearm was legal, it wasn't registered in New Jersey. The law has been updated to exclude service members, but it didn't apply retroactively to Pompey's case ... Six years ago during a visit to New Jersey, Pompey was at a Fort Lee nightclub when his friend got involved in a fight and grabbed Pompey's gun out of his holster and carried it into a confrontation with police. No shots were fired, and the friend was arrested. But so was Pompey. While his gun was legally registered in Virginia, he had no New Jersey permit and was charged with unlawful possession of a handgun ... Pompey had lost an appeal and was set to surrender to authorities next week, meaning his only hope was with Governor Christie, whom Pompey had petitioned for a pardon. 
Because his weapons charge fell under the state's Graves Act, the judge had no discretion in the sentencing. See full story here.

Friday, December 23, 2016

New Jersey: 4 Pardons

According to, Gov. Christie issued four pardons late Friday afternoon:
Christie's pardons marked an sharp change in his use of executive power in one day of penstrokes. He made little use of the pardon during his first term, forgiving one person of past crimes in each of his first three years in office, according to records. But he became more liberal with his clemency power just before and during his campaign for president in 2015. He pardoned seven people last year, all but one on gun violations, documents show.
See link here.

Friday, March 11, 2016

New Jersey: Pardon? No Thanks.

The Burlington County Times reports that Governor Chris Christie actually "offered" a pardon to Brain Aitken, who was arrested in 2009 on guns and weapons charges.

But Christie's offer was "turned down" so Aitken could "appeal his convictions." As Christie put it:
"He didn't want it ... I'm not going to give someone a pardon who doesn't want one, so I commuted his sentence to get him out of jail."
See story here.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

New Jersey: Christie Grants Gun Pardon

It is reported that Gov. Christie has pardoned a 26 year old U.S. Marine sergeant, Joshua Velez, who was stopped by a police officer for failing to use a turn signal. Somehow, afterward, an unloaded Ruger 9MM was discovered in the locked glove compartment of his truck.  Valez had lawfully purchased the gun and was licensed to carry it, in Massachusetts. So, he was arrested and charged with "unlawful possession of a handgun and possession of hollow point bullets."

In August, Governor Christie promised to pardon out-of-state residents "who became unwittingly ensnared in New Jersey's tough gun transport laws." Apparently, he intends to do so one at a time, with plenty of time between each pardon. Christie granted 1 pardon in April. Another in June and a 3rd individual in October. Altogether, Christie has granted 6 such pardons. See story here.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

New Jersey: Christie Grants 1 Pardon

Gov. Chris Christie has pardoned 61-year-old John Berry, for a "boardwalk robbery [with toy guns] he committed as a drug-addicted young man more than 40 years ago." Berry is now a "case manager" for the Philadelphia Treatment Court. Says Christie:
“When I hear stories like John’s, I think to myself and I know in my heart that there are so many people who can share in the same type of life-changing success, that same type of redemption, if only they had a little help along the way, not only from us but from God, and know that there’s a way to get it.” 
The pardon erases Berry's criminal record. He has been married since 1990, graduated from college and is the father of three:
“This is really, after having served now nearly six years as governor, this is truly one of the truly extraordinary things you get to do as governor, is to sign these pardons and to know that you have an opportunity to play a bit of a role in somebody’s life that’s as extraordinary as John is, as you can just see ... I said to him before: This is no gift from me. This is something John’s earned.” 
See complete story here.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

New Jersey: Christie to Usurp Legislature, Pardon "Classes" of Persons

As a presidential candidate, Thomas Jefferson promised to pardon everyone who sat in prisons because they convicted the Alien Sedition Acts of the Adams administration. We don't know if there were commentators accusing him of usurping the legislature and unconstitutionally considering clemency for "classes" of persons. Then again, back then, people were a lot smarter, when it came to pardons, than they appear to be today.

Now comes New Jersey governor Chris Christie who says he will pardon several out-of-staters who were legally permitted to carry their firearms in their home states, but were arrested in New Jersey under the State's "tough" gun laws.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

New Jersey: Pardon! reports Republican Gov. Chris Christie "has pardoned a Philadelphia woman facing gun charges and jail time after a traffic stop in New Jersey in 2013." It notes:
Shaneen Allen was arrested in October 2013 in Hamilton Township after telling a state trooper she had a handgun and a concealed-carry permit. New Jersey did not recognize the Pennsylvania permit, and she was arrested and charged under its strict gun laws. 
The pardon is said to have attracted "quick praise" from the National Rifle Association and Christie says that he is considering changing the state’s gun laws. Interestingly, he also notes that, if the Democratic Legislature will not cooperate in that enterprise,
.... He said he’ll instead do what he is legally allowed to do, such as pardons when he thinks they’re warranted. 
See story here.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Monitor in Over Its Head

Over at the Christian Science Monitor, they are sporting a list of ... well ... it isn't exactly easy to classify what it is. It is described as a "surprise" list of pardons, but at least three were hardly a "surprise," one was given to a dead person and another has not even been granted. Lesson? Don't try this at home kids! Wait for our own - more serious and relevant - Top Ten Clemency Stories of 2010.

For now, here is what they came up with over at the Monitor:

6. Brian Aitken (hardly a surprise)
5. Ronald Foster (hardly significant!)
4. Apple and Cider (hardly a surprise)
3. The pardon capital: Nevis, Minn.
2. Jim Morrison, the Lizard King (dead)
1. Billy the Kid: A promised but deferred reprieve? (not yet granted)

See entire piece here.

Monday, December 20, 2010

New Jersey: Sentence Commuted !

Gov. Chris Christie has commuted the seven-year prison sentence of 27-year old Brian Aitken to time served. Aitken was charged with "possession of a handgun and cop-killer bullets," but served only a few weeks of the sentence. The handguns were unloaded at the time of the arrest and in the trunk of his car. The commutation order is, however, "subject to a revocation of his release at any time at the discretion of the governor." See story here and here.

We also highly recommend Radley Balko's article on this case, here.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

New Jersey: 7,000 Fans Supporting Clemency

Brian Aitken was arrested in 2009 when the police found two locked and unloaded handguns in the trunk of his car. He was given a whopping seven-year prison sentence!  Now the Daily Caller reports:
... protesters across the state are organizing a push for an appeal for the court’s ruling. A “Free Brian Aitken” Facebook page has almost 7,000 fans, the website was built and a rally will be held Dec. 12, in Towns River, N.J. Aitken’s family is asking Chris Christie to grant clemency — gun control just might be the next test conservatives throw at the New Jersey governor. A pardon from Christie is far from assured, even if he does have fairly established, conservative credentials.
Christie has equivocated on the State's laws saying he supports "common sense laws that will allow people to protect themselves" (Who doesn't?), but he is also "very concerned about the safety of our police officers on the streets" and wants to "make sure that we don’t have an abundance of guns out there.” See full story here.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Congressman With Too Many Wives

C.C. Bowen was a member of the United States House of Representatives from the State of South Carolina. He was born Christopher Columbus Bowen in Providence, Rhode Island, but the family moved to Georgia when he was eighteen years old. There, he farmed, studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1862. He actually practiced law in Charleston before he decided to enlist in the Confederate Army.

The Biographical Directory of the United States Congress simply notes Bowen “served throughout the war as a captain in the Coast Guard.” But authors Jane H. Pease and William H. Pease observe Bowen forged the signature of a commanding officer, one Colonel William P. White, on an extended leave pass in order to go on a gambling binge. After his capture, Bowen was court-martialed, stripped of his rank and dishonorably discharged. In the spirit of calculated revenge, Bowen attempted to arrange for the murder of the officer that had caused him such grief. Thus, one author may have been prone to understatement when he wrote that Bowen was "a mischievous fellow who would stop at nothing in trying to accomplish his purpose." But the cover up of the murder for hire scheme was not done well. Bowen and the private who actually did the shooting were soon arrested. As fate would have it, Federal (Northern) troops arrived in Charleston and had all prisoners released!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

New Jersey: Can Gov. Christie Be Cool?

Two state senators (Raymond Leniak and Nicholas Scutari) are asking Gov. Chris Christie to pardon to 37-year old John Ray Wilson, who was just sentenced to five years in prison for growing marijuana. Wilson's illegal garden patch was discovered by a helicopter in 2008. He claimed he produced materials sufficient to produce herbal jazz cigarettes in order to address the pain and suffering he experienced via multiple sclerosis. With some irony, in just four months, a State law will take effect which will allow use of marijuana for medical purposes. The senators say the case is a "human tragedy" and the sentence is "cruel, unusual and unnecessary." They had asked the previous governor for a pre-trial pardon, but were denied. See story here.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

New Jersey: 14 Pardons

It is reported that Gov. Corzine spent his "last few hours in office" granting clemency to 14 people, including Quincy Spruell, who was convicted of murder in 1985. Some "legal experts" say Spruell (who was sentenced to 30 years in prison) did not actually commit the murder. No matter for the Boston Herald headlines: "NJ Governor Releases Murderer." A former Councilwoman, Dana Rome, can now run for public office. 12 others were "nonviolent offenses" whose convictions were at least a decade old. See story here and here and here.

New Jersey Real Time News offers these additional insights:
Corzine also issued 12 pardons for non-violent offenses that were at least a decade old, including drug cases. He made his decision after a "careful and deliberate" review of more than 400 requests, according to the governor's office. “At a certain point, we have to ask, in fairness, what should a decades old criminal conviction mean to someone’s future, and how should we allow it to be used for employment and other purposes," Corzine said in a statement. These are Corzine's only pardons and clemencies of his term, except when he cleared death row by abolishing the death penalty in 2007.
See full story here

Monday, January 18, 2010

New Jersey: Unfinished Business?

The Trentonian reports outgoing Governor Jon Corzine is "considering several clemency requests." See story here.

Monday, November 2, 2009

New Jersey: Preemptive Pardon Please

Sen. Nicholas Scutari and state Sen. Raymond Lesniak are calling on the Governor Jon S. Corzine to grant clemency to one John Ray Wilson, who has yet to be tried and convicted. Wilson has been charged with growing marijuana in order to ease the pain of multiple sclerosis. The lawmakers call the prosecution of Wilson a "severe, inappropriate, discompassionate and inhumane application of the letter of the law." Read about the potentially harsh sentences Wilson faces in the full story here.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Giants Kicker to Get Long Shot?

The Daily News reports Lawrence Tynes, the placekicker for the New York Giants is hoping that his 31-year old brother, a drug trafficker serving out a 27-year sentence, will be pardoned by George W. Bush. Tynes' lawyer is the finance chairman for the New Jersey Republican State Committee. Ironically, Bush singled out Tynes at a presentation on the White House lawn saying, "Lawrence Tynes, who's with us here, came through with a 47-yard field goal in overtime. You know, I knew you were going to make it." The Daily News also reports that Tynes' brother had a prior felony charge "as kingpin of a syndicate that transported 3,600 pounds of marijuana between Texas and Florida." Oddly enough, Tynes' lawyer will not even submit the paperwork for a commutation of sentence until next week. See story here.

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