By now, you should be aware that freedom-activist Jeff "Hunter" Jordan was arrested by the Ohio State Highway Patrol for carrying a concealed weapon. (Details here and here. Hunter has been indicted (he was not permitted to make a statement to the Grand Jury) and arraigned; his trial date is Thursday, May 27, 2004, at 8:00AM in the Ashland, Ohio County Courthouse. Obviously, I'd like to see as many of Hunter's supporters as at all possible pack the courthouse steps and the courtroom proper that day. The Officers of the court and the jury should see that a fine, respectable man is being tried for breaking a bad law (and one he didn't even break, the truth be told).
But not everyone in the country (and the world) can make it to Ashland that day. If you can't, then letters are in order. Heck, letters are in order even if you do plan to attend. But not just any ol' letters; I'd like to see letters that will help his case, rather bias the judge and prosecution against him.
Representing the State in this matter is prosecutor Robert P. Desanto (though his political heir-apparent may conduct the actual trial prosecution). Rumor has it that this man is a National Rifle Association Life Member, in a county which seems to be approximately 10% NRA members. As an attorney, who should be well-informed of the law, and as an NRA member, Mr. DeSanto should be aware that Hunter committed no crime. I encourage everyone to write Mr. Desanto a brief, cogent letter asking him why he is knowingly prosecuting an innocent man.
If I were writing such a letter (hint, hint), I'd open by mentioning Court Docket Number: 03-CRI-117. I would politely mention the Second Amendment to the US Constitution, Ohio's own constitution (Article 1, Section 4), which is even more explicit in guaranteeing the right to be armed for personal defense, and Ohio's then-current concealed carry law, which allows for an affirmative defense.
Next, I would point out that Article 4, Section of the US Constitution requires all states to give "Full Faith and Credit" to the acts of other states. In accordance with this clause, Ohio did recognize Hunter's New Hampshire driver's license. "Why then, Mr. Desanto, does Ohio not recognize Mr. Jordan's State of New Hampshire-issued firearms license?"
I'm still thinking this part over, but I might -- politely, now -- point out that prosecuting a man for lawfully (see above references) carrying a gun for defense could be a bad idea, politically speaking, in a county which is staunchly law-abidingly Republican and supportive of the right to keep and bear arms for defense. Or I might not. I'm still considering whether it would counter-productive. But if I do mention this aspect, I'll be polite.
Always be polite: Remember, you're trying to help Hunter avoid a miscarriage of justice. I wouldn't want to prejudice the prosecutor against Hunter by sending him wild and rude rantings. I'd avoid "common law" arguments which have no realistic bearing in Mr. Desanto's legal system.
Then I'd sign that letter, stick it in an envelope and mail it to:
And once I'm done with Mr. Desanto's letter, I'd prepare a similar -- polite! -- letter to the judge scheduled to hear Mr. Jordan's case: Jeffrey L. Runyan. Again, I'd begin by referencing the case docket number: 03-CRI-117. After addressing all the relevant issues, I'd mail it to His Honor at:
Jeffrey L. Runyan
When I'm writing these letters, I'll remember that rants, threats, and insults are uncalled-for and worse than useless. I'll remember that I'm trying to help someone who will go through their system as they believe it should be run.
And finally, it occurs to me that I should also send "courtesy copies" (CC:) of all this correspondence to the Mansfield News Journal. I'd include Russ Kent (firstname.lastname@example.org) -- who has been providing some decent, unbiased news coverage of this event -- and the Letters to the Editor column, addressed to:
Or maybe I'd just use their online letters form. But a paper letter might be better.
it be nice if everyone who understands that the individual right to be
armed for defense is not only right, but the law wrote some letters,
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