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Judge denies gun permit for Sussex County pet supply store owner who was mistakenly kidnapped

A Sussex County pet supply store owner, who was the mistaken-identity victim of a kidnapping by five Missouri men, today lost his second attempt to get a permit to carry a handgun.  Superior Court Judge David Ironson, sitting in Morristown, rejected an appeal filed by Jeffrey Muller of Frankford, owner of J&G Pet Foods in Newton, who sought to overturn last year’s decision by another judge in Morristown, Philip Maenza.  Echoing Maenza, Ironson said Muller failed to provide “proof of justifiable need” to carry a handgun and said he should take his case to a state appeals court. Muller is also pursuing a federal lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Newark that seeks to overturn the decision.

In an interview after the hearing, Muller said he needs to carry a handgun because “there’s the potential” of the five kidnappers’ family members “coming after me to get revenge.”  Authorities said the five Missouri men abducted Muller on Jan. 8, 2010 from his store in Newton, believing he was another Jeffrey Muller, a New York money broker. Four of the men were allegedly trying to help suspect Roy Slates recover $500,000 he had lost to the other Muller in a failed golf course development deal in Utah. Muller escaped from his captors after their car broke down in Lake Ozark, Mo.

Slates has been released from prison after pleading guilty and has returned to Missouri, while the other four suspects are being held as they await trial in Sussex County.  During the court hearing, Muller’s attorney David Jensen said he pursued the appeal because Maenza didn’t hold a formal hearing and because the state police had approved Muller’s permit to carry a handgun, which normally would prove persuasive to a judge.

Afterwards, Jensen said he will continue to pursue the federal lawsuit but hasn’t decided if he will take the case to the New Jersey appeals court.  In the earlier decision, Maenza said there was “no justifiable need” for Muller to carry a handgun, because his kidnappers had been apprehended and “there is no longer a threat of serious bodily harm.”

I highly recommend that Muller file an appeal with the Appellate Division.  Since the State Police approved it, a Court would have a tough time arguing against them without any other evidence.  It also assumes that these suspects will be convicted or that they can’t send anyone else after him.  Hit sets a new standard that you have to be the victim of a crime AND the suspects have to remain at large. 

Story is here.

Carry Permits in Middlesex County Impossible?

I’ve been getting a number of people calling me up about their carry permits either getting denied or stalled in Middlsex County.  These are not people that want a carry permit just to have one.  Most of these people need it for work and almost all are just seeking a renewal.  One person that called me got his carry permit denied even though he had one for almost 10 years.    I helped one client a few weeks ago get a permit renewed with only a few days to spare before she got fired.  If you have gone through this in Middlesex County, please let me know.

Carry permit approved

Client works for a company where she carries a gun.  She’s had a carry permit for many years and has never had a problem getting her permit.  For whatever reason, this one judge has been sitting on a stack of carry permits for months.  If this client didn’t get her permit approved in a few days, she would be fired.  With only a few weeks to spare, the client hired me and I promised her that I’d get it done for her.  In about a week or so, I got it done.

Police admit mistake, Carry Permit approved

My client, a Peace Officer (which is different from a police officer) was denied a carry permit due to an arrest from many years ago that he did not disclose on his application.  Of course, he didn’t have to but the police denied him one anyway.  He hired me to file an appeal and the prosecutor quickly realized that I was correct.  The prosecutor called up the police chief who issued the denial who admitting the mistake and subsequently approved the permit.  As a result, the appeal was moot.  Another nice victory!

Retired NYPD Officer gets his carry permit

You would think that law enforcement looks out for each other right?  Not so in New Jersey.  Retired police can apply for a carry permit and almost all are granted.  However, retired NYPD officers have faced an uphill battle in getting their carry permits because the NYPD refuses to endorse the New Jersey State Police form.  Without this form filled out correctly, they don’t care who you are.  So much for that blue line huh?

Never one to just give up, especially for New York’s finest, I spent that past few months helping out a retired NYPD officer who was in such a position.  I challenged the State Police’s rigid application of this law as he met all other qualifications and had no disabilities preventing him from getting the permit.  Instead, this was a technical denial.  I also argued that their position was absurd as he could carry in New York but not New Jersey.

I also got nowhere for weeks as his file was lost in the court system.  I finally got fed up and sent a rather stern letter to the judge.  As he put it, my letter really ticked him off.  While that may be, guess who was happy?  My client.  Within days of sending this letter, I was in court and his permit was approved.  I may have upset the judge a little but I got the job done.  With all due respect to the judge, I am a hired gun and I have to do what it takes.

Carry Permit Approved for ATM Business owner!

This was a great victory.  The client owns ATMs and he services them himself.  As a result, he has to carry large sums of money without any protection.  Many of the small bodegas he services have been robbed as they are in very bad areas.  He is not a security guard or a retire police officer.  So he’s screwed right?

Well that’s what I first thought but after talking to the client, I got an idea.  I never tried this before but I thought that if I can show a justifiable need by showing that the places he went to were dangerous, even though he was never personally attack, then we would have a shot.  That was easier said than done as it took months to put everything together.  About two months after he made the application, we got the good news that we won.  Thankfully for the client, it wasn’t even that expensive.

I feel a lot better about helping clients out with carry permits so I might be open to doing a few more.

Carry Permit Approved for Armored Car Driver

This was a great case for a great client.  He had a DWI from 3 years ago and they were given him a problem with his carry permit.  The crazy thing is, the DWI was downgraded to reckless driving which was possible because the charge was out of state.  So, in other words, he was simply charged with DWI and not convicted of it, so he was still having problems with the carry permit.  That’s where I come in.

After he realized that he could be denied, he hired me to smooth things out.  I got on the phone with the prosecutor who was actually a really good guy.  He was open to the permit but he wanted to hear from his boss.  I called his boss to testify and the judge and the prosecutor was impressed.  I left them with hardly any questions.  A few questions did  come up about his application which was a big surprise but it turned out to be a big nothing.  In the end the permit was approved.

My client had the type of last name that is more common as a first name so the court had the court order backwards.  My client would have had a hard time if this was not corrected. Luckily I spotted it and had it fixed right there.

Another permit approved

Client applied for two permits a short time after getting two other permits approve.  This time, the police made him uneasy so he found my blog  and gave me a call.  I gave some time but after a few weeks it  became clear that things were getting out of control.  For example, the officer working on the permit initially told me that he was just waiting on the mental health check.  However, over the next few weeks, many other things were done and other questions were raised.  Thus, it seemed like he was looking for a way to deny this.

If that wasn’t bad enough, this officer now claimed that my client was calling him four times a day and that the officer hadn’t called him at all.  However, my client didn’t call him and this officer is the one that called him several times.  I heard the voicemails myself.  Needless to say, this was really weird so I sent the Chief a rather stern letter.  He called me back in a few minutes and to make a long story short, the permits were approved.

NJ Supreme Court could allow towns to restrict gun sales

What is wrong with this state?  The New Jersey Supreme Court heard oral argument today on whether Jersey City’s can limit handgun purchases to one per month.  The main argument is really the same as the one advanced with regard to a bill that died a few months ago in the State Senate.  That is, restricting gun sales to one per month will cut down on straw buyers who buy the guns for others who will use them to commit criminal activity.  While this sounds good, the  problem is there is no data to back it up.  Let’s break this down.

First, I can hardly think of any cases of straw buyers.  Do they exist?  Of course.  However, I would bet that a study would show you that  almost all of illegal guns in NJ are stolen or from out of state and not straw buyers.  I know that from my own practice as a criminal defense attorney.  Need more proof? 

Second, you have to apply for a permit in your town and the police will be able to quickly figure out how many permits you applied for.  So, this straw buyer would find it quite difficult to stay anonymous.  This buyer would then have to report all of these guns missing.  Wouldn’t that be a little odd that someone would buy many handguns in a short amount of time and then have them all stolen?  Or the buyer could not report them stolen only for the guns to turn up in a crime.  Then, the police would have a lot of questions for the buyer with the first one being, why didn’t you report that one stolen?  The next one would be, where are the rest?  Oh, they are all stolen too and you didn’t report that either?  As you can see, this would be very, very tough to pull off.  I hope someone makes this argument.

Third, as anyone who has tried to buy a gun knows, it is almost impossible to buy one gun in the first place.  If you can buy more than a few guns in a year, please give me your secret.

My biggest problem with this straw buyer garbage has little to actually do with gun rights.  Instead, it is that this is just a BS argument with nothing to support it but no one out there has the smarts or the guts to counter this argument.  I think the Court will say that Jersey City cannot do this as it is a State issue.  However, if the State does it, I’m afraid that the Court would uphold it.

Story is here.

No retaliation from police for getting attorney

I’ve had a few people ask me this week if the police will harass them if they get an attorney to help them with their gun permits.  In fact, one caller this week said that a local gun store indicated that a certain town always retaliates against an applicant when they get an attorney. 

First of all, I’ve done applications in that town and have not had a problem.  In fact, not one client has ever reported a problem.  Second, I don’t know of any other attorney that does what I do, let alone in that town, so I doubt this rumor is true.  Instead, I think this was more speculation that, after several  re-tellings of the story, came to be that this always happens.

As I’ve reported before, I actually had the town counsel call me to assure me that there would be no problems with the application.  If I thought this was such a bad move, I wouldn’t do it in the first place.  After all, this service is to help clients avoid expensive appeals.  It is not a profit venture on the part of my office.