Chris Christie commutes gun sentence of Brian Aitken

posted at 9:05 pm on December 20, 2010 by Allahpundit

We haven’t covered Aitken’s case (except for a lone Headline item a few weeks ago), but he’s a cause celebre among libertarians and Second Amendment fans — for good reason. In a nutshell: He bought three guns, entirely legally, when he was living in Colorado and brought them back to New Jersey with him when he moved home to be closer to his son. To make sure he had his i’s dotted and t’s crossed, he called New Jersey police for guidance on how to transport them. He had the guns in the trunk of his car, unloaded and safely locked in a case, and was allegedly en route to his new home in Hoboken when he got a call from New Jersey police asking him to drive to his mother’s home. She had phoned them because she was worried that Aitken was suicidal; when he arrived, the cops arrested him for possessing handguns without a permit. But wait, you say — isn’t it legal to drive your guns from one residence to another? Radley Balko at Reason wondered the same thing:

Yet Judge Morley wouldn’t allow Aitken to claim the exemption for transporting guns between residences. He wouldn’t even let the jury know about it. During deliberations, the jurors asked three times about exceptions to the law, which suggests they weren’t comfortable convicting Aitken. Morley refused to answer them all three times. Gilbert and Nappen, Aitken’s lawyers, say he also should have been protected by a federal law that forbids states from prosecuting gun owners who are transporting guns between residences. Morley would not let Aitken cite that provision either…

In a telephone interview, Morley (who lost his job when Gov. Christie declined to reappoint him in June because of rulings in unrelated cases) says he didn’t allow the jury to consider the moving exception because “it wasn’t relevant.” Echoing the prosecutor’s office, Morley says: “There was no evidence that Mr. Aitken was moving. He was trying to argue that the law should give him this broad window extending over several weeks to justify driving around with guns in his car. There was also some evidence that Mr. Aitken wasn’t moving at all when he was arrested, but had stored the guns in his car because his roommate was throwing a party, and he didn’t want the guns in the apartment while guests were there drinking.”

As Balko notes, whether Aitken was driving home or just driving around with guns is a question of fact, not of law; there’s no reason not to inform the jury of the exemption and let them decide what happened. But then, Morley also didn’t let the jury know that Aitken had called police in advance to make sure he was transporting his guns properly. (For more on the judge, read down to the end of this piece on Aitken to see which ruling led Christie to dump him from the bench.) Left with no grounds to acquit the guy, the jury convicted him of unlawful possession and sentenced him … to seven years in prison. A perfect ending to a perfectly Kafkaesque story.

Until now:

Brian Aitken, who was convicted of illegally possessing two handguns that he had legally purchased in Colorado, will be spending Christmas out of prison.

Gov. Chris Christie commuted Aitken’s sentence, from seven years to time served, according to an order the governor signed today.

Aitken had appealed to Christie for commutation after being sentenced in August. According to the commutation order, Aitken will be released as “soon administratively possible.”

Good politics and good policy. Conservatives will love him for it, and blue-state voters get a lesson on what can happen when gun laws turn draconian. Here’s a segment from NRA News recorded 10 days ago marveling at just ridiculous the case is. Exit question: Why commute his sentence instead of pardoning him outright?


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Comment pages: 1 2

FloatingRock on December 20, 2010 at 9:22 PM
Excellent observation. CC can stay in Jersey.

Mirimichi on December 20, 2010 at 10:53 PM

agreed. the sad part is I do think it’s the best the NJ voters can hope for. If I lived in NJ I would move.

unseen on December 20, 2010 at 10:54 PM

A pardon makes you an innocent. the word you are thinking of that leaves a stain on your good name is called a “commutation” You know what Gov chrisite gave him….

unseen on December 20, 2010 at 10:50 PM

The power to pardon applies only to offenses against the laws of the jurisdiction of which the pardoning official is the chief executive. Thus the president may only pardon for violations of federal law, and governors may only pardon for violations of the laws of their states.

Unless the pardon expressly states that it is issued because of a determination that the recipient was innocent, a pardon does not imply innocence. It is merely a forgiveness of the offense. It is generally assumed that acceptance of a pardon is an implicit acknowledgment of guilt, for one cannot be pardoned unless one has committed an offense.
His lawyer gave hm excellent advice.

katy the mean old lady on December 20, 2010 at 10:56 PM

What else could be to it? Legally owned guns locked in the trunk. Depressed or not, he broke no law.

Chazz on December 20, 2010 at 10:54 PM

I wonder if the DA used the case to run for re-election showing off his anti-gun crusade to the voters….

unseen on December 20, 2010 at 10:57 PM

for not spending much time here you sure are here a lot. some people make no sense. you want to introduce Palin into every thread even when it has nothing what so ever to do with the lady. you need help for your Palin fixation.

unseen on December 20, 2010 at 10:52 PM

I’m not here day and night – you are. I sure hope you are getting paid for all your Palin promotion as well as attacks on everyone else.

Let’s put it another way:

My postcount: …

Your postcount: ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. and so on, and so on.

You, gary and jen are obsessed. I only recognize it, and object.

toliver on December 20, 2010 at 11:00 PM

agreed. the sad part is I do think it’s the best the NJ voters can hope for. If I lived in NJ I would move.

unseen on December 20, 2010 at 10:54 PM

I did.
Still remember the raw egg law the Trenton dips passed.All eggs had to be cooked to a rock.Took a judge to point out that they had outlawed mayonnaise.

katy the mean old lady on December 20, 2010 at 11:01 PM

the 5th amendment?

unseen on December 20, 2010 at 10:53 PM

I know what allows him to do that, but as I think you know my question was different: why not testify on your behalf? Usually the only time people refuse to testify is if they have some sort of very negative history that the defense does not want the prosecution to introduce.

AngusMc on December 20, 2010 at 11:02 PM

Unless the pardon expressly states that it is issued because of a determination that the recipient was innocent
katy the mean old lady on December 20, 2010 at 10:56 PM

exactly thanks for proving my point. Chrisite has it in his power to not only pardon him but declare his innocence.

unseen on December 20, 2010 at 11:05 PM

exactly thanks for proving my point. Chrisite has it in his power to not only pardon him but declare his innocence.

unseen on December 20, 2010 at 11:05 PM

No, the determination is made by the court.

katy the mean old lady on December 20, 2010 at 11:09 PM

AngusMc on December 20, 2010 at 11:02 PM

while that is what is shown in the movies. Most lawyers will advice their clients not to testify. It just gives the DA too many ave of attack against you and opens yourself up to cross examinnation. You become what is on trial not what offense you might or might not have committed.

unseen on December 20, 2010 at 11:11 PM

exactly thanks for proving my point. Chrisite has it in his power to not only pardon him but declare his innocence.

unseen on December 20, 2010 at 11:05 PM

Maybe Christie thinks Aitken was lying to police during the case and thinks a commutation is in order rather than a pardon. We just don’t know at this point. I think the whole law should be struck down on 2nd amendment grounds, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that law enforcement (including the governor) can just ignore it in the meantime. Law enforcement has to enforce even crappy laws until they can be change.

AngusMc on December 20, 2010 at 11:11 PM

toliver on December 20, 2010 at 11:00 PM

LOL…you are the one that brings up that woman in every thread. We are talking about chrisitie being a RINO here. It has nothing to do with Palin yet for some strange reason you want to bring her up and talk about her and link everything back to her. I find that an obessive behavior. Your PDS is showing.

unseen on December 20, 2010 at 11:14 PM

Why doesn’t the DOJ sue every state that has laws that go far beyond federal firearms statutes when this administration and the DOJ has gone bug nuts over the Arizona immigration law that actually coincides with federal law?
And the right to keep and bear arms is actually an enumerated right not just an authority to regulate.

The Supremacy clause for thee but not for me?

Speakup on December 20, 2010 at 11:15 PM

Usually the only time people refuse to testify is if they have some sort of very negative history that the defense does not want the prosecution to introduce.

AngusMc on December 20, 2010 at 11:02 PM

So because you think you know what “ussually” happens when somebody doesn’t testify you are ready to condemn him based on your assumption?

There’s no evidence of any wrongdoing here. The guns were legally purchased, locked and unloaded in his trunk. He didn’t hurt anybody nor threaten to. That’s all anybody needs to know. I don’t know why you are trying so hard to find some evidence of wrongdoing but so far you haven’t produced any.

FloatingRock on December 20, 2010 at 11:17 PM

AngusMc on December 20, 2010 at 11:11 PM

What would he be lying about? He contacted the police about how to legally transport legally owned guns and followed their instructions.

Chazz on December 20, 2010 at 11:19 PM

AngusMc on December 20, 2010 at 11:11 PM

I agree the law seems unconstitutional. As far as not enforceing laws they don’t agree with its done all the itme. Just look at our immigration laws not being enforced. Granted most of the time its done with a wink wink but it is still done.

And I agree that there maybe somethings we just don’t know about the case that only Gov chrisite is privy too. I am simply commenting on what is public knowledge. We don’t know what we don’t know. You want to give him the benefit of the doubt on this and that’s fine I can iunderstand that.

I simply see this as more conformation of chrisite’s RINO ways. It’s my IMO backed up on what we know at the present time. I am opening to reversing that opinion if new information appears…

unseen on December 20, 2010 at 11:19 PM

No, the determination is made by the court.

katy the mean old lady on December 20, 2010 at 11:09 PM

but the GOv has the power to countermand the courts decision. It’s called checks and balances and is the reason the gov and POTUS is given pardon power.

unseen on December 20, 2010 at 11:21 PM

unseen on December 20, 2010 at 10:50 PM

Commute sentence first and the guy’s out of jail but still has a chance to clear his name via appeal, which is what Christie did. But if you pardon him first, his case on appeal is moot, thus no chance for him to establish true innocence. If you wait to pardon until after all appeals are exhausted, he has a chance to clear his name and justify your commutation of sentence in the first place. If he loses on appeal, then you pardon, stating your belief in his innocence or the unconstitutionality of the laws under which he was convicted. How difficult is this to understand? ✪

TXUS on December 20, 2010 at 11:22 PM

LOL…you are the one that brings up that woman in every thread. We are talking about chrisitie being a RINO here. It has nothing to do with Palin yet for some strange reason you want to bring her up and talk about her and link everything back to her. I find that an obessive behavior. Your PDS is showing.

unseen on December 20, 2010 at 11:14 PM

Huh? “Every thread”???? You mean every thread I join in which you are doing your job as an obsessed Palin spammer? You are here day and night doing your job. You think Palin is superior in every way to Abraham Lincoln. Take a break.

toliver on December 20, 2010 at 11:25 PM

How difficult is this to understand? ✪

TXUS on December 20, 2010 at 11:22 PM

Looks like the answer is “very”. Sigh.

katy the mean old lady on December 20, 2010 at 11:25 PM

TXUS on December 20, 2010 at 11:22 PM

I’m sure Brian is happy for the opportunity to waste his time and money to clear his name.

Chazz on December 20, 2010 at 11:26 PM

How difficult is this to understand? ✪

TXUS on December 20, 2010 at 11:22 PM

not difficult. but if you pardon and declare his innocence first the guy doesn’t have to jump through the hoops and immediately gets out of jail. your way places the responsibility on the man and the courts. Mine places the responsibility on the Gov. this includes all the politcal blowback.

I understand why chrisite did it I don’t agree with it. how hard is that to understand?

unseen on December 20, 2010 at 11:28 PM

Commute sentence first and the guy’s out of jail but still has a chance to clear his name via appeal, which is what Christie did. But if you pardon him first, his case on appeal is moot, thus no chance for him to establish true innocence. If you wait to pardon until after all appeals are exhausted, he has a chance to clear his name and justify your commutation of sentence in the first place. If he loses on appeal, then you pardon, stating your belief in his innocence or the unconstitutionality of the laws under which he was convicted. How difficult is this to understand? ✪

TXUS on December 20, 2010 at 11:22 PM

I’m no lawyer, but that seems logical, unless I were to become an instant internet expert ["IIE"], with all the BS opinions that come along with that title. Really, get some sleep and don’t bother with unseen, for he is a zealot.

toliver on December 20, 2010 at 11:28 PM

TXUS on December 20, 2010 at 11:22 PM

The problem with your theory is that everybody already knows he’s innocent.

FloatingRock on December 20, 2010 at 11:31 PM

He doesn’t need to prove he’s innocent. He is innocent.

FloatingRock on December 20, 2010 at 11:32 PM

toliver on December 20, 2010 at 11:25 PM

what is your malfunction? Has your Palin obession consumed you to the point where you can not have an adult conversation without bringing that woman’s name up?

Your unhinged rants IRT Palin and how you tie everything back to her is a cause for concern.

Every thread you join you start talking about Palin. Get a grip. what this thread has to do with Palin is beyond me. Why you would even bring her up boggles the mind. I don’t even know if she pardoned anyone while gov. Why would you bring her up on a thread about pardoning and 2nd manedment rights? That’s insane and unstable.

unseen on December 20, 2010 at 11:33 PM

I will wait around for a few minutes to witness unseen put down Abraham Lincoln some more. You people do realize that unseen thinks Lincoln attacked the South to start The War Between The States?

Sorry unseen, but I can’t let that bit of lunacy go.

toliver on December 20, 2010 at 11:34 PM

If it’s not Palin, it must be attacked.

toliver on December 20, 2010 at 10:41 PM

To be fair you did introduce Palin on this thread. Admit and move on. sheesh.

CWforFreedom on December 20, 2010 at 11:38 PM

what is your malfunction? Has your Palin obession consumed you to the point where you can not have an adult conversation without bringing that woman’s name up?

Your unhinged rants IRT Palin and how you tie everything back to her is a cause for concern.

Every thread you join you start talking about Palin. Get a grip. what this thread has to do with Palin is beyond me. Why you would even bring her up boggles the mind. I don’t even know if she pardoned anyone while gov. Why would you bring her up on a thread about pardoning and 2nd manedment rights? That’s insane and unstable.

unseen on December 20, 2010 at 11:33 PM

I may spend ten hours here a week on average? How much time do you spend doing your job [w/out pay]. Who is inflicted with a malfunction?

I brought her up because you are here for 18 hours a day selling Palin. The other six hours you spend attacking any other potential candidate. Dude, you are here ALL THE TIME. YOU HAVE A PROBLEM.

toliver on December 20, 2010 at 11:38 PM

toliver on December 20, 2010 at 11:34 PM

Now you are lying about what I said about Lincoln? why don’t you reproduce that quote where I said he attacked the South to start the civ!l war. Oh that’s right because I never said it. I’ll just wait here to see how long you can avoid talking about htat woman. maybe one or two posts?

unseen on December 20, 2010 at 11:39 PM

CWforFreedom on December 20, 2010 at 11:38 PM

I worry about him.

unseen on December 20, 2010 at 11:40 PM

toliver on December 20, 2010 at 11:28 PM

Good advice, my friend. As Steinbeck once wrote, “I prefer to live my life in an even series, with a beginning, middle and end. And not dribble it away as so many men do, like piss in the dust.”

TXUS out. ✪

TXUS on December 20, 2010 at 11:42 PM

To be fair you did introduce Palin on this thread. Admit and move on. sheesh.

CWforFreedom on December 20, 2010 at 11:38 PM

Yeah I did, because the #2 Palinbot [unseen] was attacking Christie w/out comprehensive information [which will come later]. It’s the modus operandi of the Palinbots. They spam every thread that has any peripheral significance to a Palin campaign.

toliver on December 20, 2010 at 11:43 PM

Now you are lying about what I said about Lincoln? why don’t you reproduce that quote where I said he attacked the South to start the civ!l war. Oh that’s right because I never said it. I’ll just wait here to see how long you can avoid talking about htat woman. maybe one or two posts?

unseen on December 20, 2010 at 11:39 PM

You said Lincoln started the war.

toliver on December 20, 2010 at 11:45 PM

Bad quote job.

toliver on December 20, 2010 at 11:45 PM

toliver on December 20, 2010 at 11:38 PM

Yeah I never sleep, eat or take a crap. I also don’t hold down a full time job, raise my son alone, keep a house, cook dinnerrs, take care of my dogs etc….

I check in from time to time on hotair to get the news of the day. threads I like I comment on threads I don’t I move on. It doesn’t take much time to comment while you are watching Netflix streaming video in another window.

your inability to multitask does not mean others can’t

unseen on December 20, 2010 at 11:45 PM

Good advice, my friend. As Steinbeck once wrote, “I prefer to live my life in an even series, with a beginning, middle and end. And not dribble it away as so many men do, like piss in the dust.”

TXUS out. ✪

TXUS on December 20, 2010 at 11:42 PM

A good thought to rest a head upon a pillow. Good night all.

toliver on December 20, 2010 at 11:46 PM

They spam every thread that has any peripheral significance to a Palin campaign.

toliver on December 20, 2010 at 11:43 PM

Palin Palin Palin can you not talk about something else? You are a broken record. You PDS is scary.

still waiting for that quote……

unseen on December 20, 2010 at 11:55 PM

This sad tale is proof positive that we have truly walked been shoved through the looking-glass.

hillbillyjim on December 21, 2010 at 12:01 AM

Well, this thread has been successfully derailed.

Chazz on December 21, 2010 at 12:02 AM

Well, this thread has been successfully derailed.

Chazz on December 21, 2010 at 12:02 AM

yeap. time to move on I guess

unseen on December 21, 2010 at 12:09 AM

To bring it back on topic:
Since we know he’s innocent, Brian doesn’t need to convince continue wasting his time trying to prove it to us. Nobody even seems to be seriously disputing his innocence.

Unless there is something that Brian himself wants to achieve or gain out of continuing the legal process, Christie should have ensured that he would not have to if it was within his authority.

FloatingRock on December 21, 2010 at 12:12 AM

doesn’t need to convince continue wasting his time

FloatingRock on December 21, 2010 at 12:14 AM

Unless there is something that Brian himself wants to achieve or gain out of continuing the legal process, Christie should have ensured that he would not have to if it was within his authority.

FloatingRock on December 21, 2010 at 12:12 AM

There are “other” parties involved. There are several groups helping him fight this injustice and they want to make sure no one else goes through the same thing. That is why he asked for and received a Commutation.
He is free and out of jail. The other parties will continue to fight for the cause. If they win, then he is not guilty, not pardoned and others may be spared. But in my opinion, if he wins, then those who acted poorly can be shown as corrupt.

barnone on December 21, 2010 at 12:22 AM

barnone on December 21, 2010 at 12:22 AM

nobody is denying this. We are simply saying tha Gov chrisite could have done all of these things now instead of letting Brain carry on the fight.

unseen on December 21, 2010 at 12:36 AM

If it’s not Palin, it must be attacked.

toliver on December 20, 2010 at 10:41 PM

First use of “Palin” this thread. I think your adversaries have won, toliver.

unclesmrgol on December 21, 2010 at 12:38 AM

nobody is denying this. We are simply saying tha Gov chrisite could have done all of these things now instead of letting Brain carry on the fight.

unseen on December 21, 2010 at 12:36 AM

Christie can’t overturn an unjust anti-gun law already on the books by himself. If maintaining the felony conviction for the time being helps Brian’s legal team overturn one or more anti-gun laws, even at the state level, that’s noble, but I’m still not convinced that Brian wouldn’t have had the same legal standing had he received a full pardon. He still had his life unjustly turned upside down, he should still have standing, I would think.

But speaking for myself I’ll have to wait for more information and analysis before I can draw a conclusion.

FloatingRock on December 21, 2010 at 12:51 AM

Christie can’t overturn an unjust anti-gun law already on the books by himself
FloatingRock on December 21, 2010 at 12:51 AM

true to a point. he could ask the state house and senate to repeal the law. I think by granting him a pardon Brain would still have standing to move a case through the courts for wrongful arrest.

unseen on December 21, 2010 at 1:09 AM

true to a point. he could ask the state house and senate to repeal the law. I think by granting him a pardon Brain would still have standing to move a case through the courts for wrongful arrest.

unseen on December 21, 2010 at 1:09 AM

Not a bad idea, maybe you should email it to him. If he want’s a shot at being POTUS he has a higher than usual burden of proof that he’s not a danger to the second amendment. That might be a good start.

FloatingRock on December 21, 2010 at 1:22 AM

Exit question: Why commute his sentence instead of pardoning him outright?

Because he didn’t commute this guy over his Second Amendment rights being violated. He commuted him because the story caught fire and he didn’t want to alienate every pro-gun vote out there. He did this solely to appease, not to stand on principle. Just another big-city east-coast “conservative”.

MadisonConservative on December 21, 2010 at 1:28 AM

Well hey! The “Christie hates guns” crowd can now shut up!

Oh, but they won’t. That’s the thing about haters.

nickj116 on December 21, 2010 at 1:34 AM

He did this solely to appease, not to stand on principle. Just another big-city east-coast “conservative”.

MadisonConservative on December 21, 2010 at 1:28 AM

Yeah, because you know his motives.

I LOVE know-it-alls. They’re so awesome!

nickj116 on December 21, 2010 at 1:36 AM

Good politics and good policy.

Actually I think this is more than that. This sounds like wisdom to me.

How did New Jersey produce a guy like Christie? Did he go to New Jersey schools? How did he miss the brain washing.

How ever Christie did it we need to bottle it and stick it in happy meals for all children!

Everyone needs to start thinking like Christie.

petunia on December 21, 2010 at 1:41 AM

Christie sure acted like a typical politician in this decision. A commutation for Aitken is only the start to a longer road to justice.

I’ve also lost a lot of respect for HotAir over this case. Not one story until you could spin one that made Christie look good, was what I had come to expect. Maybe you could have used your influence earlier on to inform more people of how unjust this ruling was and how slow Christie was moving on it.

warden on December 21, 2010 at 1:51 AM

BigWyo on December 20, 2010 at 9:42 PM

The Jersey Shore cast are from New York. Hence all the fights on the boardwalk.

sonnyspats1 on December 21, 2010 at 2:14 AM

Why commute his sentence instead of pardoning him outright?

Because Brian and his lawyers only asked for and only wanted a commutation. The big man gave him everything he asked for. Anyone criticizing Christie for doing the right thing here is just talking out of their arse or flacking for some other potential candidate. A better question: If they wanted a pardon why did they only ask for a commutation?

tommylotto on December 21, 2010 at 2:46 AM

unclesmrgol on December 21, 2010 at 12:38 AM

toliver has beclowned himself…yet again.

steebo77 on December 21, 2010 at 3:25 AM

Glad Christie did what he did. He should’ve done this back in August instead of waiting 3+ months…Now Aitken and his lawyer(s) can move forward with their appeal and hopefully keep this from happening to someone else…Another plus for Christie is that he didn’t reappoint the Judge that presided over this case…

Gohawgs on December 21, 2010 at 5:42 AM

Left with no grounds to acquit the guy, the jury convicted him of unlawful possession and sentenced him … to seven years in prison. A perfect ending to a perfectly Kafkaesque story.

Actually, they did have a choice. Unfortunately, no judge is going to tell a jury that they have the power to nullify the law, which is an authority that the courts have recognized.

NorthernCross on December 21, 2010 at 5:46 AM

The reason Gov. Christie did not re-appoint the judge in this case:

A few weeks after Aitken’s trial over the summer, Morley learned that Christie was not going to reappoint him, due in part to a 2009 case in which he dismissed animal-cruelty charges against a Moorestown cop accused of sticking his penis into the mouths of five calves. Morley said there was no way of knowing whether the calves had been “puzzled” or “tormented” by the officer’s actions.

This judge was more than a rogue judge. He had a bug up his butt against the Second Amendment. There were several chances for the judge to allow the jury to consider mitigating facts and he refused.

BigAlSouth on December 21, 2010 at 6:33 AM

Aitken was also in possession of hollow points which are illegal in New Jersey no matter what… perhaps this is why he wasn’t outright pardoned.

itsacookbook on December 21, 2010 at 8:52 AM

Can we agree that Brian Aitken’s mother is an Ef’fing idiot almost (but not quite) on par with Judge Morley.

And what can you say about Judge Morley?

Guns = bad, Bad, BAD

Beastiality = hey, no problem

Maybe Judge Morley can be a consultant to the Pentagon on how to implement the new beastiality policy in the Military, now that the door has been opened.

olesparkie on December 21, 2010 at 9:10 AM

As Balko notes, whether Aitken was driving home or just driving around with guns is a question of fact, not of law; there’s no reason not to inform the jury of the exemption and let them decide what happened.

It’s an affirmative defense which means there must be some evidence to support it. There was none, therefore, there was no basis to instruct the jury on it. As usual, Balko is wrong.

Blake on December 21, 2010 at 9:12 AM

It’s an affirmative defense which means there must be some evidence to support it. There was none, therefore, there was no basis to instruct the jury on it. As usual, Balko is wrong.

After all, when it comes to guns in a liberal state, you’re presumed guilty until you prove yourself innocent.

olesparkie on December 21, 2010 at 9:20 AM

Yeah, because you know his motives.

I LOVE know-it-alls. They’re so awesome!

nickj116 on December 21, 2010 at 1:36 AM

I know that he supported the assault weapons ban, smart guy. Take a seat at the kiddies’ table until you get a clue.

MadisonConservative on December 21, 2010 at 9:31 AM

Exit question: Why commute his sentence instead of pardoning him outright?

CYA. If Aitken ever commits some other violent crime, political opponents will try to ‘Willie Horton’ Christie in ads, and claim he had bad judgment. Christie has learned the lesson after what some conservatives try to claim about Huckabee’s clemency record. In this way he is being a responsible Governor, like Huckabee. At least Christie doesn’t follow Romney’s example of just denying every clemency request.

ceruleanblue on December 21, 2010 at 9:58 AM

After all, when it comes to guns in a liberal state, you’re presumed guilty until you prove yourself innocent.

olesparkie on December 21, 2010 at 9:20 AM

I’m not interested in your gibberish.

Blake on December 21, 2010 at 9:59 AM

NJ clearly has (un-Constitionally) restrictive gun laws and in a state where more than one NJ city has had to cut police recently due to budget problems (which Christie knows are looming).

Christie may need to rethink his gun control position.
(Best thing that happened to TX was when then-Governor George W. Bush passed Concealed Carry.)
Seems he only commuted the sentence because it was such an obvious miscarriage of justice, not due to any support he feels for 2nd Amendment rights.

Jenfidel on December 21, 2010 at 10:00 AM

some of you need to get a hobby and stop this grade school bickering

lees on December 21, 2010 at 10:01 AM

boy this strikes close to home. I was arrested and charged with a felony for transporting a 32 caliber unloaded and locked in the trunk while I was in NJ working, I was in the process of moving(i had just been laid off that day).
I was convicted and 20 years later tried to get it expunged and was denied.
I hate NJ to this day, if it is not a gestapo state then none exist.

jsunrise on December 21, 2010 at 10:10 AM

Can we agree that Brian Aitken’s mother is an Ef’fing idiot almost (but not quite) on par with Judge Morley.

olesparkie on December 21, 2010 at 9:10 AM

Really, thanks Mom. Oh and by the way, when I can’t bring the kids over this Christmas to visit with you and dad, it is because I am now a convicted felon and potentially suicidal. Two things that did NOT help me in Family Court.

barnone on December 21, 2010 at 10:13 AM

From what I have read here none of you know what you are talikng about “

If he would have pardoned him the guy would have had no reason to appeal the conviction because as far as society is concerned the felon no longer exists after a pardon.”

You still have a felony after a pardon. A pardon just means that your rights have been restored.
What this man needs is to have his felony expunged.But I hope he has better luck then I with it.

jsunrise on December 21, 2010 at 10:23 AM

You still have a felony after a pardon. A pardon just means that your rights have been restored.
What this man needs is to have his felony expunged.But I hope he has better luck then I with it.

jsunrise on December 21, 2010 at 10:23 AM

Christie can make a pardon happen. It’s much more difficult for him to make an expunging happen.

MadisonConservative on December 21, 2010 at 10:32 AM

What else could be to it? Legally owned guns locked in the trunk. Depressed or not, he broke no law.

Chazz on December 20, 2010 at 10:54 PM

From what I understand I thought his mother called social services on him.
That was in the article I read about this a while back.
Social services is usually full of clueless, overworked liberals.
I have had my run ins with them here in ND bcs of my husband’s insane ex calling in false accusations & luckily, the SS workers here in ND have brains & can see the truth.
People, however, just do not understand how incendiary it is to call such agencies bcs they do not look for truth.
They sieze upon rumor & innuendo for ‘facts’ & make their judgements/reccomendations from there.
If you have a problem with someone, you should talk to someone else about it rather than agencies like SS, CPS, Dept of Health & Human Svcs, or the cops.

Badger40 on December 21, 2010 at 11:12 AM

I can only hope that he continues to fight this on appeal. A commutation is wonderful, it means he won’t have to live in a cage with criminals. But this bogus conviction is still on his record, making him a convicted felon, and that is no small issue.

All record of his conviction, and even of his arrest, should be purged, his property should be returned to him (the guns in question) and every official who participated in this travesty should line up to beg for forgiveness.

But you know who I ultimately blame for all of this? The voters in New Jersey who elected apparatchiks determined to disenfranchise their fellow citizens. The 2nd Amendment should completely preclude these sort of shenanigans, but thanks to the people of New Jersey, the fundamental and inalienable right to keep and bear arms has been criminalized in that state.

leereyno on December 21, 2010 at 11:34 AM

CYA. If Aitken ever commits some other violent crime…

Some OTHER violent crime?

He isn’t guilty of a crime in the first place, violent or otherwise. He’s the victim here, not the perpetrator. The perpetrator is the state of New Jersey and the voters who equipped and enabled it to violate his constitutional rights.

leereyno on December 21, 2010 at 11:41 AM

The answer to the exit question is given at this interview of Aitken’s lawyer from the NRA’s radio show.

Short answer: Aitken’s lawyers requested the commutation – not a pardon – because it would get him out of jail quicker and because they fully expect to win on appeal.

Christie deserves a big “atta boy” for doing the right thing, both respect to the judge (whom he essentially fired by not reappointing him) and Aitken.

Y-not on December 21, 2010 at 12:56 PM

I know what allows him to do that, but as I think you know my question was different: why not testify on your behalf? Usually the only time people refuse to testify is if they have some sort of very negative history that the defense does not want the prosecution to introduce.

AngusMc on December 20, 2010 at 11:02 PM

No, people who at least have a competent lawyer don’t testify on their own behalf. You are just setting yourself up to be torn to pieces by the prosecutor. Unless you are *very* methodical and could fall under what could be classified as an expert witness.

Sociopaths on the otherhand usually disregard said advice from their legal team.

clement on December 21, 2010 at 5:21 PM

New jersey…the most fooked up, bassakwards sheethole of a state in all 57 states.

Regressive, violent, mobbed up, polluted, criminal, corrupt, dysfunctional, highest taxes, graft. Angriest citizens, craziest most outrageous criminal drivers, who use their cars as weapons.

Jersey ought to slide into the Atlantic…a state that charges a fee…a FEE…to enter a beach area to swim!!!! Imagine…a state that charges it’s citizens to take a dip into their scummy waters.

Jersey is a joke…a national joke for over 50 years. A sewer. The cops are Nazi’s and would live to kick ass freely and without fear of the law.

I “lived” there. No…I was a prisoner there…as all are in Jersey.

None of our cherished freedoms are respected in fooking sheethole of Jersey.

A state with some of the most crime ridden cites…Newark, Camden ( No cops anymore ) Trenton and every other major city in Jersey has been overwhelmed by crime. Yet…..you cannot protect yourself in Jersey. The citizens of Jersey…are nothing more than a chalk mark…to make the cops happy.

Jersey…..die….you suck anyway.

Stay “progressive” you morons. Stay chained…stay slaves of corruption. You can’t do a damn thing about it either…the Nazi cops have the guns.

Twana on June 5, 2011 at 10:37 PM

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