I need help in MD


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Winter Borne
May 7, 2007, 08:16 PM
Hey all,

I just got a call from my business partner who's nephew was arrested last week in Baltimore, MD. Here's the story as it was explained to me:

His nephew (under 21) resides in Baltimore.
While home he observes someone breaking into his car.
He points an unloaded shotgun at the perp and says get *%#$ing lost.
Police show up later and arrest him and take the gun.
They search the place and find no shells.
He gets mouthy with the cops as he feels he's the victim here.
He is processed and him mom posts 100,000 bond to secure his release.

Mind you, this is his mothers version and I would expect that there are parts left out. That being said, I live in VA and do not know MD law on posession of a firearm in Baltimore. I am imagining a NYC or DC ban on all guns but do not know.

Also, he is need of a gun friendy lawyer in MD.

thanks all

mk

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ZeroCool
May 7, 2007, 08:53 PM
Please keep in mind that I am not a lawyer and you get what you pay for.

There is no firearm "ban" in Balitmore. As far as I know you are allowed to own the same guns in Baltimore as anywhere else in Maryland.

That said, in Maryland you are only allowed to pull a gun on someone if your life is in immediate danger. Even if someone breaks in, you are supposed to retreat and not shoot unless the perp has you in a corner and closing in (yeah right!). From what I understand, it is illegal to pull a gun on someone who is breaking into your car as your life is not in immediate danger.

I would imagine that you may be missing some facts. Even in Baltimore it seems hard to swallow that the kid would get in that much trouble for pointing an unloaded shotgun at a perp who was breaking into his car. Also seems hard to swallow that he would own a shotgun and not have any shells even in his house.

Has the kid ever been convicted of a felony or have any other reason to be unable to possess a firearm? Who called the cops on him? Where did he get the gun from (was it legal)?

Several years ago my best friends dad stopped a perp who was looking to kill a girl he had just raped. My friends dad came out of his house with a 1911 and pulled it on the perp who was about to get out of his car (to apparently "finish the job"). My friends dad did not get in any kind of trouble and the gun was loaded, ready to fire. My friends dad did not make it a secret that he would not have hesitated to kill the perp.

I would imagine that there is more to the story that the kids mom is letting on...

WSM MAGNUM
May 7, 2007, 09:12 PM
Did he go outside with the shotgun? If he did go outside and pointed the shotgun at the punks, then the police can arrest the kid. Maryland does not have a "Castle Doctrine" law, but if you use a weapon for self defense in Maryland, you may be justified if you use it inside your home. But if you use it outside the home, prosecutors will grill you hard for it. I personally think Maryland just absolutely sucks on gun rights. I am looking for the opportunity to move out of this "tax hell" state.
As for your friends nephew, I think he should have a good lawyer.

LaEscopeta
May 7, 2007, 09:18 PM
OK I’m going from memory here to respond quickly, but I hope to find the time to search the web for the real facts later.

If he is over 18, owning a shotgun (assuming it is not a NFA weapon) and keeping in his home (apartment or house) in Baltimore (city or county) is not a police problem. If he is renting an apartment and the lease says no firearms that may be a civil court problem, but not an issue for the police.

Taking a shotgun outside his home when not transporting it to a “legitimate” facility (gunsmith, approved range, etc) is against the law. I don’t think it carries a serious penalty.

POINTING a firearm, loaded or not, at a person that is not a deadly threat to you or another innocent person, is assault. Maryland and City of Baltimore law says you cannot use or threaten to use deadly force to prevent someone from stealing your car. The cops and State’s Attorney in Baltimore seem to be more afraid of a vigilante reaction than they are to the crime that inspire the vigilante reaction on the first place. So I think this is the kid’s greatest problem, and the one he will need a lawyer who knows the players and the legal system in Baltimore. The fact that the gun was unloaded, and no shells were found in the home may (should) lessen any punishment the kid gets if convicted of assault, because it shows he did not intend to harm anyone. But it is still assault if the “someone breaking into his car” had no way of knowing of the shotgun was loaded or not (don’t blame me I didn’t write the laws.)

An experienced lawyer, who can successfully argue mitigating factors, is what this kid now needs. He also needs a record clear of prior legal troubles.

Hope this works out well for everyone; will try to post cites for the above if I can.

jpk1md
May 7, 2007, 09:38 PM
LaEscopeta summed it up pretty well.

You have an obligation to retreat according to Md Law unless you are withing your home and then and only then are you legally allowed to defend yourself with appropriate force based on the situation. Md AG will likely find that what the young man did is considered to be assault according to Md Law since he was outside home and was able to retreat. One important thing to consider is that if he is convicted of a felony he will lose his right to own a gun forever and you should pursue an appropriate defense.

POINTING a firearm, loaded or not, at a person that is not a deadly threat to you or another innocent person, is assault. Maryland and City of Baltimore law says you cannot use or threaten to use deadly force to prevent someone from stealing your car. The cops and State’s Attorney in Baltimore seem to be more afraid of a vigilante reaction than they are to the crime that inspire the vigilante reaction on the first place. So I think this is the kid’s greatest problem, and the one he will need a lawyer who knows the payers and the legal system in Baltimore. The fact that the gun was unloaded, and no shells were found in the home may (should) lessen any punishment the kid gets if convicted of assault, because it shows he did not intend to harm anyone. But it is still assault if the “someone breaking into his car” had no way of knowing of the shotgun was loaded or not (don’t blame me I didn’t write the laws.)

I would try contacting the NRA as I recall they do something with a lawyer referal.

Additionally they have a legal defense fund if you apply and qualify based on the circumstanced of the situation.

http://www.nradefensefund.org/

Additionally the Second Amendment Foundation has a lawyer referral service as per below:

http://www.saf.org/default.asp?p=saf_faq

425-454-7012

10. I need a referral to an attorney who can help me maintain my rights; can SAF help?

Since it is impossible for any organization to fund every legal challenge it is asked to support, the Foundation maintains an attorney referral service with a network of attorneys who specialize in firearms cases. This makes it possible for people who seek legal counsel to have access to attorneys in their state who are able and willing to handle firearms-related cases.

kingpin008
May 8, 2007, 12:07 AM
Ditto what most folks here have already said. If he's legal to own a gun (no felonies, etc) the fact that he had the shotgun isnt that big a deal. The fact that he was not in physical danger at the time, and he pointed it at the individual knowing it wasn't loaded, shows that he had no reasonable expectation that he was in danger (because you wouldn't use an unloaded gun to save your life) and he's guilty of possibly a few things, including brandishing a firearm, assault, menacing, disturbing the peace, etc.

He needs a good lawyer. Baltimore has a serious gun violence problem, and the powers that be would love to make an example of him right now.

I have my own opinion of the kid's actions..but I'll keep them mostly to myself except to say he should NEVER have done what he did, especially in such a gun-hating state as Maryland. He's gonna have to fight this pretty hard to get it put behind him.

Good luck.

Ala Dan
May 8, 2007, 04:28 AM
I'm also not an attorney [and don't play one on TV], but if this is a true
account of all that happened a $100,000 bond seems mighty high and
out of the ordinary. I would have her contact a reputable attorney that
is "up to snuff" on Maryland laws, statues, and city ordnances. :scrutiny: :eek:

Norton
May 8, 2007, 08:32 AM
We were just discussing this in another forum and one astute member pointed out that being charged is not the same as being convicted.

Further, if it turns out that the arrest was illegal he may turn out to be a very wealthy man.

Willard
May 8, 2007, 09:54 AM
Howard J. Fezell, Attorney
301-846-0241
Frederick, MD

He's a great supporter of the Second Amendment and a real fighter. I owe him my freedom.

nezumi
May 8, 2007, 10:07 AM
As has been said, the fellow has been charged ('rightly') with assault with a deadly weapon, most likely. The problem is that the Baltimore police have a reputation for basically bending the law whenever they want to, so I imagine if he'd been a little more careful not to mouth off, he'd be in a lot less trouble right now.

That said, while the police have a reputation for being aggressive and counter productive, I haven't heard whether the courts are that terrible. Get a good lawyer, definitely. I'm guessing the actual perp hasn't turned up, and he'd be the primary witness. In the mean time, the kid needs to keep his mouth shut! The police will be looking for him to admit to doing the crime. If he's already admitted to standing outside of his home and pointing a weapon at another person, regardless of the reason, he will want a very good lawyer.

alucard0822
May 8, 2007, 11:08 AM
Howard J. Fezell, Attorney
301-846-0241
Frederick, MD


+1, I would suggest any gun owner in the area to keep his number handy in case you have to defend yourself from an intruder, just as important as what gun to use, and keeping batteries in smoke detectors IMO

RPCVYemen
May 8, 2007, 12:27 PM
He gets mouthy with the cops as he feels he's the victim here.

I my younger, wilder days, I had a number of encounters with LEOs - mostly due to hitchhiking and partying. I was always very polite and non-argumentative, and was never arrested.

My theory was that if the officer was in the wrong, you weren't going to win that battle on the street - you win that kind of battle in court, or in administrative action, etc.

To be honest, I couldn't see how policing could work if the officer didn't act on their understanding of the law and the situation at the time that I encountered them. If they were wrong about the law, that could get settled later.

Maybe it was just because most of my enounters tended to be late at night on deserted roads, but I thought the officers had a pretty tough job, and I didn't have any good reason to antagonize them.

One time a Highway Patrol officer in Tennessee explained to me that when he stopped me late at night, he didn't know if I was a some harmless hippie, or a violent felon who had just broken out of prison 2 counties away. So he advised me to be polite, keep my hands visible, move slowly when asked, and explain what I was going to do before I did it.

I took his advice. In fact, I soon found that it worked better than expected. When an office asked me for ID, I'd say "My ID is in my wallet in the left rear pocket of my jeans. I am reaching for it with my left hand", and slowly pull out my wallet. That line always cracked up whoever had stopped me - they'sd ask, "Why did you say that?" I'd tell them what the Tennessee trooper told me, and they'd nod, run my license, and let me go on my merry way.

The truth is that I didn't mind being stopped. If there was some escaped felon on up the road, I'd rather have the troopers find him before I ran into him under some bridge abuttment!

This may be contraversial on the gun boards, but for policing to work, it seems to me that the officer's commands - during the time of an encounter on the street - have to be obeyed. If the officer is wrong, the matter can be taken up in court, or with a supervisor - in a quiet, well lit, controlled environment, where everyone's identites are known. In fact, the laws that I might have been breaking - vagrancy laws - were later found to be mostly unconstitutional. But I couldn't see how you could establish a practical police force if the police were obligated to enter legal argument with everyone they stopped. I figured that if I wanted to argue with them, they were likely to arrest me and let the judge sort it out.

So I never mouthed off or argued with officers on the street. I think that on some gun boards, folks would call me a "sheep." On the other hand, there were a number of times when the situation was more or less up the officer's discretion (Was I really a vagrant?), and I never spent the night in jail, and never had to come up with bail money.

Mind you, this is his mothers version and I would expect that there are parts left out.

Any chance that he knew the perp, and there was a prior history between them?

The other thought is whether or not he shotgun was really inloaded at the time of the enconuter. Here's a potentail sequence:


Nephew points loaded shotgun at perp.
Perp runs off.
Nephew decides that pointing the shotgun wasn't such a hot idea.
Nephew disposes of shells.
Police arrive.


If the prosecutor thought that evidence was tampered with, or that your nephew was lying to police, he might get real annoyed.

Mike

RobMoore
May 8, 2007, 12:38 PM
What does the complaintant say he was doing when the shotgun was pointed at him?

lacoochee
May 8, 2007, 01:07 PM
Good point, I am having a hard time imagining the accuser showing up in court.
I am sure of one thing though, when the police showed up they had absolutely no case, it was just one guys word against the other. It sounds like he started talking and that's where the mistake was made, that and letting them search his house without a warrant. Do not talk to the police, do not...do not...do not. If you must have a lawyer present, always. His "story" told through his lawyer should have been as follows.

I walked outside I was on my to the range, and there was this guy jimmying the door of my car, I said "Hey man, stop that or I will call the police". He ran. I thought what the hell, no harm no foul and went on with my life and that's when the cops showed up. Done, lips sealed.

nezumi
May 8, 2007, 04:14 PM
"Do not talk to the police, do not...do not...do not. If you must have a lawyer present, always. "

QFT. Police departments don't brag about how many arrests and convictions they didn't make. Even if you're innocent, if you're a suspect, keep your trap shut. Heck, they have methods of getting information based on which way your eyes look. Just ask for your lawyer and stare at your feet until he arrives. Period.

(Obviously, if you're a witness and not a suspect, or it's for a traffic violation or somesuch, cooperation is your best bet. But as soon as it's something with possible prison time, your job is to CYA, not to be nice to law enforcement.)

RPCVYemen
May 8, 2007, 05:38 PM
I walked outside I was on my to the range, and there was this guy jimmying the door of my car, I said "Hey man, stop that or I will call the police". He ran. I thought what the hell, no harm no foul and went on with my life and that's when the cops showed up. Done, lips sealed.

If you were in fact not on your way to the range, I wouldn't tell the police that you were on the way to the range. I think that most attorneys advise you to shut up instead of lie.

Evil

JamisJockey
May 8, 2007, 07:15 PM
No "help" you get here on this board is going to help your nephew. He needs to shut up, get a lawyer, and take the lawyers advice. He very likely comitted a felony, and only a lawyer is going to be able to save his bacon.

RPCVYemen
May 8, 2007, 10:15 PM
He very likely comitted a felony, and only a lawyer is going to be able to save his bacon.

JamisJockey is correct. The description makes it sound as though the young man in question violated MD (and most other states' laws). Friends of mine at work who took the NC CCW course said that this is the kind of situation that is hammered home in that class.

It sounds as though the young man in question did not know the law - and that's a shame.

It sounds like a good time to get a lawyer who knows the Baltimore legal system.

Mike

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