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Teacher accidentally carries rifle onto school property.

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by jsalcedo, Nov 19, 2005.

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  1. jsalcedo

    jsalcedo Member

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    Charge against teacher dismissed

    By Karla Browne, November 15, 2005

    A district judge interrupted the prosecutor’s closing statements Monday to dismiss charges against a Perry County teacher who carried a rifle onto the grounds of New Bloomfield Elementary School.



    “I’m sitting here listening to this and all you have is intent. He didn’t realize he had a gun on school property. The district attorney will probably refile, but I discharge the case,” District Judge Donald “Pete” Howell told Assistant District Attorney Sean Potter in Newport.

    The West Perry Middle School science teacher, James Woods, 54, of New Bloomfield said, “I’m pleased” after the decision. “I made a little mistake. Hopefully, it will work out OK.”

    “There are ample grounds for the case to be refiled,” Potter said after the hearing.

    A decision is expected by Friday on any further prosecution, he added.

    Saw destructive kids

    Woods said on the stand that he was carrying his hunting rifle home from where a neighbor was working on it Sept. 12 when he saw some teenage boys tackling and stomping on a bush during a pickup football game on the school grounds.




    As a borough councilman who had just heard complaints about vandalism at a recent meeting, Woods said he “felt an obligation” to talk to the boys about their actions.

    “I didn’t think about the gun,” Woods said. He stepped across the street from the neighbor’s house to the playground, then realized he had the gun on his shoulder. He set it down next to a chain link fence before approaching the boys, who were about 40 years away, he said.

    “I didn’t want to scare the kids. I didn’t want them to see the gun. That was not my intention,” Woods said.

    One of the half-dozen football players testified he was “scared because ... I didn’t know if it was loaded, not loaded, anything” when he saw the rifle propped “up against the fence” while Woods was lecturing him.

    But other boys and a school custodian who had been sequestered during that testimony said they never saw the weapon until Woods was leaving.

    Laid flat on ground

    Woods said he had “laid it flat on the ground. It had an $800 scope. I would never prop it against a chain-link fence.”

    State police at Newport had charged Woods with possession of a weapon on school property, a first degree misdemeanor punishable by forfeiture of all firearms for life and up to five years in prison, said his attorney, Terrence McGowan of Harrisburg.

    West Perry School District, where Woods has been “a loyal employee” for 30 years, placed him on administrative leave for two five-day periods, Superintendent David Hoover said on the stand.
     
  2. jsalcedo

    jsalcedo Member

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    5 years for a misdemeanor? I call BS on this one
     
  3. Tropical Z

    Tropical Z Member

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    Prosecutors suck.:banghead:
     
  4. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Member

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    Prosecutors reflect the politically correct stupidity that voted them into office. Undoubtedly there were very few voters in this jurisdiction that were outraged enough to scare the prosecutor to reconsider his decision to file charges.

    Pilgrim
     
  5. Justin

    Justin Moderator Emeritus

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    THE CHAIR IS AGAINST THE WALL
    This is the voice of a petty, spiteful little man.
     
  6. ExtremeDooty

    ExtremeDooty Member

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    You gotta like the Judge in this case. He couldn't even wait for the PA to finish his closing argument to discharge the case. He understands the difference between the spirit and the letter of the law.

    Potter, on the other hand, is a waste of space.
     
  7. TallPine

    TallPine Member

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    Probably the same kind of DA that would prosecute Santa Claus :p

    :D (guess what video we watched last nite?)
     
  8. marshall3

    marshall3 Member

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    Rifles and handguns at school

    I pastor a church where we have a Christian school. Last year we had Civil War actors come and talk. They brought several long guns and pistols, and the kids got to hold them too. The boys had a great time pretending to be Civil War soldiers. Wish we had more common sense at some of these public schools.
     
  9. Spot77

    Spot77 Member

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    WOW! That's pretty far!
     
  10. Dave P

    Dave P Member

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    he was “scared

    "One of the half-dozen football players testified he was “scared because ... I didn’t know if it was loaded, not loaded, anything”"


    Future Democratic voter??
     
  11. Dave P

    Dave P Member

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    he was “scared

    zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2005
  12. GILROY

    GILROY Member

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    My daughters attend a private Christian High School. The History teacher (female) actually asked me to bring my collection of WWII mousers, pistols and bayos and talk to the kids about the history of each weapon. Really gave a bit of touch and feel to the history lesson. Sadly "zero tolerance" in our public schools are intolerant of common sense also.
     
  13. 22-rimfire

    22-rimfire Member

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    I could see this kind of thing happening often with teachers. Teachers work at a school and it is their life. We all work and drop stuff off to be worked on or whatever... if it was a gun and you picked it up, and had it in your car on school grounds.... What about hunting, teacher wants to take in a few hours of daylight hunting after school to hunt and has his gun in his car...... He has broken the rules and could be terminated on a technicality. This just does not seem right in terms of the spirt of the law. The judge was (I think) correct in dropping the case. Petty stuff. You can't believe kids necessarily when it comes to commenting on a teacher. You know that some teachers who live in rural areas have PO boxes so the kids don't knock their mail boxes off the post and destroy them. Reasonable doubt has to be granted the teacher just like the policeman.
     
  14. jamz

    jamz Member

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    Those WWII Mousers were pretty scary deals I tell ya...

    [​IMG]

    ;)

    -James
     
  15. CentralTexas

    CentralTexas Member

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    What state

    was this in?
     
  16. twency

    twency Member

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    Well, New Bloomfield is a town in Perry County, Pennsylvania, so since those two names appear in the article, I'm guessing PA. Incidentally, Perry County is quite rural. Within the past year or so the first, and still only, traffic light was installed in the county.

    ______________
    -twency
     
  17. lotus

    lotus Member

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    How can they "refile" this? Double Jeopardy would seem applicable here.
     
  18. KriegHund

    KriegHund Member

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    And this is dismissed while the one kid who had the hunting rifle in his truck was expelled and criminally charged with a felony :banghead: :banghead:
     
  19. MikeIsaj

    MikeIsaj Member

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    It's in Pennsylvania. They apparently are filing a charge under section 912 Posession of Weapon on School Property. The law applies to ALL schools, not just public schools. It is an interesting and often miquoted law.

    This law expands the definition of "weapons" specific to a school environment, and imposes a harsher penalty for posession.

    The defense against this charge is "...the weapon is possessed and used in conjunction with a lawful supervised school activity or course or is possessed for other lawful purpose."

    IMHO The big question is did he have a lawful purpose for carrying the weapon on school property? Was the vandalism of a serious enough nature to require an immediate response or should he have first secured the weapon in his vehicle and then addressed the problem?

    I don't think he is criminally liable but I do think the situation could have been handled better. Pa. is a complex place. We have some of the best firearms laws in the country and a large concentration of blissninnies. You have a right to bear arms that is respected and protected by the State and a public that panics at the thought of a gun.
     
  20. MikeIsaj

    MikeIsaj Member

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    I believe they can refile because a verdict was never rendered. Someone correct me if I am wrong please.
     
  21. ceetee

    ceetee Member

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    The case was never tried, therefore, his liberty was never in jeopardy. If the case had been heard, and the teacher found not guilty, refiling would be unconstitutional.
     
  22. The Real Hawkeye

    The Real Hawkeye member

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    This is the problem with laws that focus on what objects you happen to be in possession of in a particular place, instead of laws which focus on doing something which is actually wrong. This concept is a post Civil War thing. Prior to that, there were no laws that had anything to do with what you might possess. All laws punished actual wrong doing, and required bad intention for prosecution.
     
  23. horge

    horge Member

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    Hawkeye,

    mala in se versus mala prohibita.
    I'll take your word for it the distinction was irrelevant in the US pre-Civil War.
    :)
     
  24. TarpleyG

    TarpleyG Member

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    Went with my wife to her middle school's carnival one year and they had guys there dressed like old west marshals complete with real, working sixguns and coach guns. No one said a word. This is just plain stupid.

    Greg
     
  25. The Real Hawkeye

    The Real Hawkeye member

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    Nope. I'm a law school grad too. That is not, however, the distinction I was referring to. Those have to do with conduct which is either wrong in itself (e.g., swindling a widow out of her rent money) or, on the contrary, illegal merely because there is a statute against it (e.g., running a red light on a deserted country road), i.e., not wrong in itself (no one is actually endangered, i.e., wronged, by running through that red light at that time). That concept is pretty old. I am, to the contrary, referring to the outlawing of the mere possession of certain objects, whether contextual or not (e.g., mere possession vs possession on a school ground). This is a novel concept in law, and accompanied our legal and governmental decline as a nation, in my opinion.

    It started at the state level, after the Civil War, with laws designed to prevent blacks and immigrants from carrying firearms for their own defense. The statutes were usually phrased in general terms (so as not to violate the Fifteenth Amendment), but everyone knew they were only enforced against blacks and immigrants. This kind of law did not exist prior to the Civil War. Then the Federal Government joined in with laws, under a taxing/regulating authority pretext, creating crimes associated with the mere possession of certain classes of objects. These laws do not outlaw bad conduct, but the mere possession of certain objects.

    The assumption behind these laws is that possession of those objects makes bad conduct possible, so we are outlawing, theoretically, the potential to do a bad act with them. This presumes a guilty mind, however, on the part of the possessor. Obviously, this runs counter to one of the foundational principles in American jurisprudence, i.e., the presumption of innocence, which is codified, though not in so many words, in a number of our Constitution's provisions. On that basis alone, these laws should be nullified, not to mention the basises of the Second and Tenth Amendments.
     
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