Problems Prosecuting Gun Crimes

The Philadelphia Inquirer yesterday ran a fairly lengthy and detailed piece that illustrates the problems with prosecuting gun crimes in the city. It speaks of the head of Philadelphia’s Gun Court, Judge Paula Patrick. I don’t honestly have enough information on these cases to say whether or not Judge Patrick is insufferably soft on criminals, or is just a stickler for civil liberties and for the police following the law.

It does seem odd though that Pennsylvania would have a rule on “forced abandonment.” Basically, under federal search and seizure law, if a suspect runs from police and tosses a gun, the gun is admissible. Apparently in Pennsylvania, it’s not. It’s one thing if police unlawfully search someone. I can see the civil liberties implications of that. But if you willfully toss something? Is that even a search at this point? It’s hard to see how it could be incident to an unlawful seizure since someone running isn’t exactly seized.

We pay a price for civil liberties. What angers me is that the same people, and I agree with them, that believe in strong Fourth Amendment protections, don’t feel the need to protect the Second Amendment.

2 thoughts on “Problems Prosecuting Gun Crimes”

  1. The annoying part is that the courts are always worried about the civil liberties of criminals. And seldom worried about the civil liberties of law-abiding civilians caught on technicalities or mis-interpretations.

  2. Put a slightly different twist on things and this would be laudable; I’m pretty sure Brian Aitken would have preferred to have been in front of this judge…

    For that matter, I can’t find too much to complain about in this sentence: “the state Supreme Court ruled that prosecutors cannot use discarded guns or drugs if the original approach of police lacked legal justification.” It’s a somewhat wide view of “fruit of the poisoned tree”, I’ll admit.

    The whole concept of “stop-and-frisk” bugs the everliving crap out of me – something about wanting to be “secure in my person … and effects, against unreasonable search and seizures.” I’d like to say I’ll stand up for ALL the amendments, not just the 2A. I don’t like most of the “exigent circumstance” exeptions to the 4A that have been “found” thoughout the years. If it’s not a case of immediate self- or public-defense justifying use of force, go get a warrant. Anything else is a)abusable by the cops, and b)leads to an unjustified feeling of safety.

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