Justice delayed may be justice denied. But belated justice is better than none at all.
Ask Shaneen Allen.
As you may recall (you certainly do if you\’re a regular reader here, because I\’ve been blogging about it for almost 2 1/2 months), Shaneen Allen is a 27 year old single mother of two. Ms. Allen, who lives in the Philadelphia area, works at two jobs, travels to and from work at night, and has been robbed while doing so. Because of her vulnerability, she sought, and obtained, a legal gun permit and purchased a weapon to protect herself.
However, late last year, Ms. Allen was pulled over for a minor traffic infraction across the border in New Jersey. When she voluntarily advised the police officer she was legally carrying her gun – to avoid any issue if he saw it – he arrested her. It seems that New Jersey does not recognize Pennsylvania\’s legal permit.
But instead of treating this as an inadvertent mistake it obviously was, and giving Shaneen Allen the light “first-time interdiction” sentence which is available under New Jersey law, District Attorney/prosecutor, jim mcclain, decided to throw the book at her: mandatory 3 1/2 – 10 years in jail (NOTE: the article excerpted below says the maximum is five years. Others say 10. I am therefore not 100% sure of what the real maximum is).
I, and many other bloggers, along with an increasing number of mainstream media venues, have been howling about this for months now. And finally, mcclain was embarrassed (as he damn well should have been) into “rethinking” his Torquemada-like vendetta against Mr. Allen.
Excerpted from Jacqueline L. Urgo\’s article for the Philadelphia Inquirer…and please pay special attention to the part I\’ve put in bold print:
Aftera review by the state attorney general, the Atlantic CountyProsecutor\’s Office announced Wednesday that it would allow aPhiladelphia woman charged last year with illegally bringing into NewJersey a gun that was legally registered in Pennsylvania to enter apretrial-intervention program and avoid jail time.
Theprosecutor\’s previous stance in the case involving Shaneen Allen, 27,was to make the case a “deterrent,” either forcing a pleaor bringing it to trial. The mother of two could have faced up tofive years in prison.
Allen,who was stopped for a routine traffic violation on the Atlantic CityExpressway, was arrested after voluntarily telling a state trooperthat her purse contained a legally registered .38-caliber BersaThunder handgun.
InAugust, Allen\’s attorney, Evan Nappen, filed a motion to have thecharge dropped, but it was denied by Superior Court Judge MichaelDonio.
A “deterrent”? To WHAT? A woman who has been robbed deciding not to be defenseless, and legally obtaining a means of protecting herself?
I hope mcclain – and Judge Donio as well – are real, real proud of themselves.
Fortunately, their astonishing level of unfairness has been blown away by the ridicule so justifiably piled on them by media, the blogosphere – and, I would think and hope, countless others.
Now, Ms. Allen (who, let\’s remember, is guilty – ignorance of the law is no excuse) will be receiving a sentence commensurate with what she did, and not be taken from her children for years and years.
In this obnoxious little affair, there is a lesson for everyone to learn. Let\’s hope they all learned it.