Another Daily News Piece on Brian Aitken

This one is very sympathetic. At this point, it’s pretty clear that Governor Christie has the cover necessary to do the right thing. Governors hate this kind of thing, no matter what the issue. You don’t want to pardon a guy then have some 14 year old girl come out two weeks later and say she got knocked up by the guy you just pardoned, or have him go our and rob a bank. That’s largely why the clemency process has been formalized in most states, and delegated to boards to keep Governors away from it.

So I would hope that folks will keep the pressure on Christie’s office, but be patient. His people are likely going to have to dig to see what they can find, lest reporters find it later (and they will look). If I had to bet, I would bet Christie will commute his sentence, but leave the conviction itself intact for an appeal. That would be the least politically risky move from the Governor’s point of view, and would accomplish the goal of getting Brian out of jail. Christie can also use the excuse that it’s just not fair to the taxpayers to spend tens of thousands of dollars every year to keep this guy behind bars.

9 thoughts on “Another Daily News Piece on Brian Aitken”

  1. I think Christie’s least politically risky move would be to demand that he get a new trial, and free him until then.

    Christie has already said the judge was incompetent. Maybe Governor’s don’t have that power.

  2. That’s what I’m essentially arguing he’ll do. He would have the power to grant Brian a full pardon, but for various reasons I don’t think he’ll do that.

  3. Anything less than a full pardon will result in firearms disability for life, no matter which state B. Aitkens moves to when this is all over. Better than seven years in prison, but hardly ideal.

    Christie will never gain any votes from those who hate him anyway, but stands to lose a lot of conservative/libertarian votes if he fails to deliver a full pardon. He might be in trouble with the “law and order” authoritarian conservative types if Aitkens turns out to be a criminal in the future, but it won’t be NJ’s problem because I’m sure that Aitkens will move to another state asap.

  4. Would a pardon moot Brian’s appeal? This case seems tailor-made to kill NJ’s “illegal but for exceptions” regulation regime. Me, I’d rather he go free and clear with a pardon than be harmed in any way just to get a suit farther down the field. He didn’t volunteer to be a test case, after all

  5. “Aitken said Mount Laurel police questioned him extensively at his parents home and he gave consent to search his car, he said, because he was confident he had followed New Jersey’s guidelines.”

    Geez, this guy sure seems to have gone out of his way to screw himself. He must take after his mother.

  6. “Fiamingo said Christie, a former U.S. attorney, is an “enigma” when it comes to gun issues…” Really? Teh spokesman for the NJ2AS says Christie is an enigma when it comes to gun issues? Hmmph.

  7. The problem with a pardon – as has been pointed out by others – is that in order to accept it, you have to admit you broke the law, which Mr. Aitken did not do. I don’t know what the governor can do to speed up his appeal, but as far as I’m concerned the only truly just resolution to this situation would be vacating the conviction, issuing a formal apology from the state of New Jersey and paying Mr. Aitken’s moving expenses back to somewhere in the United States. The removal of the petty tyrant who did this to him has already been accomplished, so I guess anything above his release would be gravy. -V

  8. I don’t see why Aitken would want a new trial, seeing as how they would still nail him on possession of “high capacity” magazines. And while hollow point possession has the usual NJ style convoluted exceptions like firearms possession there’s no guarantee a second trial wouldn’t result in another conviction even if he’s allowed to present a transportation defense in it.

    Mobo: Here’s one name for why the issue of Aitken moving to another state would still be a concern: Willie Horton.

  9. I remember reading somewhere that Aitken told the police that he removed his guns from the apartment because he was having a party there, and wanted to keep them safe in his trunk. This would mean that he basically admitted to the police that he was not in the process of moving from one residence to another. If true, he was clearly outside of the exception in the law for firearms transportation.

    Don’t get me wrong, I still want him pardoned, but if this version of events is true, he is technically guilty. It should serve as a reminder to all of us that we should NEVER, EVER, talk to the police, for ANY REASON.

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