Last week I blogged about a Philadelphia woman named Shaneen Allen, and the fact that she was facing years in prison for making an honest, unintended mistake – being in possesion of a gun she legally obtained in Pennsylvania when driving in New Jersey which, unbeknownst to her, does not recognize the Pennsylvania license.
To refresh your memory, when Ms. Allen, a single mother who works at two jobs, travels to and from work at night, and has been robbed while doing so, was pulled over for a minor traffic infraction, she voluntarily advised the police officer she was legally carrying the gun – to avoid any issue if he saw it. And this is what she got for doing so.
In my blog, I issued a plea for New Jersey Governor Chris Christie to step in and prevent this ridiculously overblown situation to play out.
Well, now I have further information on what is happening with Shaneen Allen – and it is even worse than I thought.
Excerpted from an article at nationalreview.com – and please pay special attention to the part I\’ve put in bold print:
After two robberies made her aware of her vulnerability, she became convinced that she should be prepared to defend herself and her family, and resolved to do something about it. Which is to say that Allen bought her firearm, and obtained her concealed-carry permit, not to commit crimes but to prevent them. This has failed to move the prosecutor, Jim McClain, an overzealous man who has routinely declined to use the considerable latitude with which he has been entrusted by the state.
Under NewJersey\’s rules, McClain could have declined to press any chargesagainst Allen, recognizing that she was guilty of little more than aninnocent mistake. He could have treated it as merely a misdemeanorand sent her to municipal court. He could have permitted her toenroll in one of the diversionary programs that New Jersey hasestablished for peaceful first-time offenders, thereby sparing herboth the prison time that will take her away from her children andthe felony conviction that will almost certainly destroy her careerin medical work. Instead, he has sought punishment to the fullestextent of the law: in this instance, a three-year mandatory minimumjail sentence for illegal possession of a firearm, and an extra yearor more for possession of illegal ammunition. This is a travesty ofjustice.
Is this prosecutor out of his mind?
Someone – I\’m voting for Governor Christie, either directly or through an intermediary- has to take jim mcclain aside and read him the riot act. Tell him that what he is doing to Shaneen Allen does not come within 1,000,000 miles of actual justice. Tell him that he had damn well better run, not walk, back to his office and make these charges go away.
For my part, I promise to keep on top of the story, keep writing on Ms. Allen\’s behalf, and let you know if/when this Torquemada-wannabe\’s sick, mindless assault on her is reversed.