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David Gregory Won’t Be Prosecuted for Technical Violation of DC Gun Law

David-Gregory-magazine-620x345

David Gregory committed a technical violation of DC’s gun law to make a point on a national news show. Conservative gun control opponents are angry.

WaPo (“NBC’s Gregory won’t be charged for displaying ammunition clip on TV“):

The D.C. attorney general on Friday declined to charge the host of NBC’s “Meet the Press” for displaying an empty ammunition magazine on national television, saying that doing so would not make the District safer.

The decision, coming amid a charged debate over gun laws, spares journalist David Gregory the possibility of jail time. But the attorney general warned the network “of the gravity of the illegal conduct . . . in a city and a nation that have been plagued by carnage from gun violence.”

In a letter to NBC, Attorney General Irvin B. Nathan admonished Gregory for knowingly flouting the law, but Nathan said he decided to exercise “prosecutorial discretion” and not pursue a criminal case. “Prosecution would not promote public safety in the District of Columbia, nor serve the best interests of the people,” Nathan wrote.

The letter ends a nearly three-week-long investigation by D.C. police, prompted by viewers who e-mailed the department after watching Gregory display a 30-round ammunition magazine during a Dec. 23 interview with the National Rifle Association’s executive vice president, Wayne LaPierre. The two were talking about the school shootings in Newtown, Conn.

Those viewers demanded that Gregory be arrested, citing a law that makes it illegal in the District to possess a magazine, even an empty one, capable of holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition. It’s a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine.

POLIICO (“No gun magazine charges for David Gregory“) adds:

D.C. attorney general Irvin Nathan on Friday said he would decline to prosecute in the case involving the Sunday show host and any NBC staffers. In a letter to NBC’s attorney Lee Levine, Nathan wrote that after reviewing the matter, his office “has determined to exercise its prosecutorial discretion to decline to bring criminal charges against Mr. Gregory, who has no criminal record, or any other NBC employee based on the events associated” with the broadcast.

The office made its decision “despite the clarity of the violation of this important law, because under all of the circumstances here a prosecution would not promote public safety in the District of Columbia nor serve the best interests of the people of the District to whom this office owes its trust.”

Nathan noted that his office’s decision in this case was also influenced by “our recognition that the intent of the temporary possession and short display of the magazine was to promote the First Amendment purpose of informing an ongoing public debate about firearms policy in the United States.”

 

So, what we have here is a rare display of a prosecutor using common sense in a case involving a high-profile suspect. Yes, Gregory violated the law. But Nathan quite reasonably figured that the intent of the law was to make it a little harder to commit mass murder, that Gregory’s magazine was neither loaded nor attached to a weapon, and that Gregory was actually advocating for the very law in question.

Naturally, then, smart conservatives such as Cornell Law’s William Jacobson agree with the decision. Having read this far, of course, you know the answer. He greets the decision with a string of images bearing the captions “Because I’m the [sic] journalist and you’re not,” “If I were a black teenager I’d already be in jail,” and “If I were you, I’d already be in jail.” In a separate posting, he points to reports that Nathan and Gregory’s wife were both at a DC Shakespeare Company charity mock trial, implying that this was a factor in the decision.

Tennessee Law’s Glenn Reynolds observes, “Laws are for the little people. Gregory’s useful. But you can tell how proud they are of this decision by the fact that it came out on a Friday afternoon . . . .”

PowerLine’s Scott Johnson is sneering but makes no actual argument.

Wisconsin Law’s Ann Althouse takes a more reasonable position:

Why is the law important? If Gregory clearly violated the law, but there is no interest to be served in prosecuting him, doesn’t that prove that the law is not important? If the precise thing that he did — which is clearly what is defined as a crime — raises no interest in prosecution, how can we be satisfied by letting this one nice famous man go? Rewrite the law so that it only covers the activity that the government believes deserves prosecution, so there is equal justice under the law.

Now, I agree that laws should be written narrowly to prevent prosecutorial abuse. At the same time, though, some degree of prosecutorial discretion is reasonable. Surely, no prosecutor is going to charge a person with a crime for the sole act of carrying one empty magazine with no other evidence of intent to commit homicide, distribute mass quantities of magazines, or some other dangerous act.

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About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He has a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.

Comments

  1. Matt says:

    Sorry, but a prosecutor already has charged “a person with a crime for the sole act of carrying one empty magazine with no other evidence of intent to commit homicide, distribute mass quantities of magazines, or some other dangerous act.” His name is James Brinkley. Reasonable my ass.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 4

  2. Steve Metz says:

    On a red state discussion board I watch to broaden my perspective, the immediate and expected response was that the prosecutor decided not to pursue this because Gregory is a “liberal.” I asked why Limbaugh was not prosecuted for drug smuggling and was told that was completely different. The “discussion” ended there.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 1

  3. James Joyner says:

    @Matt: Here’s how the liberal Washington Times reports Brinkley’s case:

    One of the 15 who were charged was James Brinkley, an Army veteran and federal employee, who was arrested and jailed while legally transporting his unloaded Glock 22 to the range with the two standard 15-round magazines that came with the pistol.

    D.C. Assistant Attorney General Rachel Bohlen offered him a deal to plead guilty to possession of an unregistered firearm in return for unsupervised probation. He refused to falsely admit guilt.

    “I hadn’t done anything wrong,” he told me in an interview. “I felt in my heart I was doing the right thing. I was going to stand up, no matter what the outcome would be.”

    So, he was carrying an unregistered firearm with two illegal clips. The prosectors were going to give him a pass on the clips. But he wanted a trial because he thought he was right in his heart.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 1

  4. Andy says:

    I wonder if anyone’s been prosecuted for violating this law without some other gun charge.

    As for Gregory, I bet the prosecutor decided it wouldn’t be worth the cost – I’m sure NBC and Gregory were well lawyered.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  5. There’s such a thing as prosecutorial discretion, this strikes me as being an appropriate exercise of it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1

  6. JKB says:

    Sorry, James, but you are being ignorant on this issue. It wasn’t a technical violation, it was a knowing, blatant violation of the law. The law has not intent element.

    As for Brinkley, he was not carrying an unregistered firearm as he was not a resident of DC. He was lawfully transporting his lawful firearm and unloaded magazines according to federal law and in accordance with advice received from DC police.

    His mistake was attempting to drop off his wife and child for a White House tour on his way to the range. His major error was asking a Secret Service officer for advice on whether his wife could take the car seat into the White House. His serious error as a gun owner was not realizing he would be traveling into and through hostile territory and the need to avoid all contact with government forces in that territory.

    A

    s he was dropping off his family at 11 a.m. on the corner of Pennsylvania Avenue, Mr. Brinkley stopped to ask a Secret Service officer whether his wife could take the baby’s car seat into the White House. The officer saw Mr. Brinkley had an empty holster, which kicked off a traffic stop that ended in a search of the Charger’s trunk. Mr. Brinkley was booked on two counts of “high capacity” magazine possession (these are ordinary magazines nearly everywhere else in the country) and one count of possessing an unregistered gun.
    Despite the evidence Mr. Brinkley had been legally transporting the gun, his attorney Richard Gardiner said the D.C. Office of the Attorney General “wouldn’t drop it.” This is the same office now showing apparent reluctance to charge Mr. Gregory.
    Mr. Brinkley refused to take a plea bargain and admit guilt, so the matter went to trial Dec. 4. The judge sided with Mr. Brinkley, saying he had met the burden of proof that he was legally transporting. Mr. Brinkley was found not guilty on all firearms-related charges, including for the “high-capacity” magazines, and he was left with a $50 traffic ticket.

    Read more:

    So as you can see, the prosecutor does not just go after those with ill intent in enforcing this law. But they do let their buddies slide on criminal behavior.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 5

  7. Tsar Nicholas says:

    If I were the prosecutor not only would I not have prosecuted Gregory I wouldn’t even have considered it. It would have been a giant waste of public dollars. And it temporarily would have given Gregory more airtime and boosted NBC’s news ratings, which in turn further would have dumbed down the public.

    My only lament about this farce of an episode is that it didn’t happen in New York City. Because that indeed would have been priceless. Watching Bloomberg and the DA explain why Gregory would not be prosecuted, after Plaxico Burress was sent away for two years for shooting himself in the leg, would have been so ironic our heads would have spun. Ah, well, maybe some other time.

    Last but not least it’s simply impossible in this day and age to discuss hard core liberals such as Gregory without bringing up the cognitive dissonance angle. The left wants to ban high capacity magazines. Yet with his own cynical photo op Gregory unintentionally and ironically proved how pointless any such ban would be. Is that a high capacity clip in your pocket or are you just glad to see me? And the kicker is that liberals are so out to lunch they would not be able even to connect those obvious dots.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 10

  8. JKB says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Special privilege for those with connections? It would be different if the prosecutor had used similar discretion for the little people in the past. Instead, as we see with Brinkley, they prosecute non-DC elite for lawful behavior. Fortunately, the jury saw this and acquitted.

    But there could be a silver lining, this is a good argument for jury nullification for those charged with DC gun crimes but without ill intent. We can call it the Gregory exception.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 4

  9. bk says:

    @Tsar Nicholas:

    Watching Bloomberg and the DA explain why Gregory would not be prosecuted, after Plaxico Burress was sent away for two years for shooting himself in the leg, would have been so ironic our heads would have spun

    It would have been very difficult for Gregory to shoot himself – or ANYONE – in the leg with what he was carrying. Jesus, you’re a moron.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 3

  10. JKB says:

    @Tsar Nicholas:

    Can you imagine if Gregory had handed that magazine to LaPierre? The DC prosecutor and liberals would be tied in knots trying to prosecute LaPierre while letting Gregory off.

    But we should keep discussion of the “Gregory Exception” going. It shows the absurdity of these draconian firearm parts laws. As well as the undermining of equality before the law when those with juice are given a pass while the 99% are prosecuted to the hilt.

    It’s sad really, DC used to be a city in its own right. Now it is just become a sad shadow of Chicago.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 10

  11. C. Clavin says:

    Personally I wish Gregory had been found guilty.
    Then maybe, just maybe, they could find an actual journalist to host MTP.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  12. C. Clavin says:

    Holy metacognitive inability Batman…
    There cannot be anything more fascinating for a mental health professional than the pillow talk between JKB and Tsar. I mean seriously. Two clowns who are never right about anything pontificating as though they are the only ones who are ever right.
    Poster children for the Dunning-Kruger Effect if ever there were any.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  13. Nikki says:

    @Tsar Nicholas:

    hard core liberals such as Gregory

    A nice little side effect for Mr. Gregory; his brand of conservatism gets labeled “hard core liberal,” and MTP’s veneer of “centrism” gets a new application.

    Well done.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  14. Nikki says:

    Now it is just become a sad shadow of Chicago.

    B-Rock, the Islamic Shock, be spreading that shia-ite all over the nation, amirite?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  15. Jim Treacher says:

    “Technical violation”?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 12

  16. JKB says:

    Don’t worry, I’m sure DC will punish the magazine to the full extent. As the DC attorney general stated, the magazine was removed from the District after Gregory’s possession but NBC and Gregory aided in the extradition of it back and into Metropolitan Police custody. Does anyone believe they will return it to its rightful owner? Or will it be held without trial indefinitely?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 6

  17. JKB says:

    What does it mean to be privileged? It means not having to think about any of this, ever.
    –Jamelle Boule

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  18. Animal Mother says:

    The rule of law for thee but not for me

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 4

  19. rudderpedals says:

    Cry me a river…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  20. bill says:

    it’s good to be white, rich and liberal in DC!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 4

  21. Just Me says:

    I think you can argue that opting to not prosecute was a good decision but at the same time recognize that the DC prosecutor have given Gregory a privilege the little people don’t get.

    Brinkley is an example of this-he was one of the little people who the prosecutor decided had to be prosecuted-here at least a judge had more wisdom and dismissed the charges.

    I think perhaps what this shows, is absent an actual intent to cause harm this kind of law pretty much catches the law abiding citizen, and doesn’t do much to stop those with intent. The big difference is the prosecutor isn’t going to let you off if you are among the little people.

    I think the prosecutor from now on should use his discretion and not prosecute anyone on the charge absent evidence of intent to engage in some illegal activity.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  22. gVOR08 says:

    @JKB:

    Can you imagine if Gregory had handed that magazine to LaPierre? The DC prosecutor and liberals would be tied in knots trying to prosecute LaPierre while letting Gregory off.

    And had this occurred, JKB and Tsar would be screaming that prosecution of LaPierre was an abuse of prosecutorial discretion, that LaPierre was only using the magazine for a demo, and that it was a waste of public funds,

    Matt, Tsar, JKB; do you have any comprehension that someone showing an indication (holster) of the possible presence of guns while asking a question about entry to the White House is likely to raise all sorts of red flags with DC cops and prosecutors? Do you comprehend that digging in your heels with a prosecutor who’s trying to let you off easy is likely to lead to further complications? Rhetorical questions. Please don’t answer.

    @James Joyner: I commend your diligence. I thought, ‘Who the heck is James Brinkley?’, decided I didn’t care, and let it go.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  23. Just Me says:

    Matt, Tsar, JKB; do you have any comprehension that someone showing an indication (holster) of the possible presence of guns while asking a question about entry to the White House is likely to raise all sorts of red flags with DC cops and prosecutors?

    Red flags for the cop makes sense, but the continues prosecution does not (and since the judge dismissed the charges, I think it is pretty clear that Brinkley wasn’t privileged enough to get actual prosecutorial discretion-the prosecutor just wanted a scalp).

    Also, pleading to a crime is not being let off easy, it means he is still pleading guilty to a crime and said crime then has to be mentioned every time he applies for a job or volunteer. His decision to not plead to a crime was a wise one given the fact that he won his case in court and the prosecutor lost.

    So I will point out once more-you can see the wisdom in not prosecuting Gregory while at the same time recognizing that Gregory’s privilege is why he wasn’t prosecuted and why other “little’ people get prosecuted for similar violations. It also raises whether it is valid to prosecute people when there isn’t a clear intent to commit some other crime.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  24. Kolohe says:

    Did anyone ever think of prosecuting George HW Bush for holding up a baggie of crack cocaine on national TV?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  25. JKB says:

    @gVOR08:

    So refusing to be extorted into a deal, makes you a bad person? As it turns out, he was exonerated of all charges, received a simple traffic fine. Because otherwise, the prosecutor’s office would look like it wasted public funds prosecuting lawful behavior. And let’s remember, while having the holster in view was unwise, he was otherwise in compliance with the federal law for transporting firearms across hostile subordinate jurisdictions. Of course, the safest bet in such transport is to make every effort not to stop in or otherwise interact with the hostile territory or inhabitants.

    And I think prosecuting Gregory would be a waste of public funds, but the law is the law and we should uphold it equally no matter economic, racial, sex, sexual orientation, or crony class. If DC wants this law but not prosecute those without ill intent, they should add an intent element.

    But then, I’m unusual, when I was in government, I am proud that I was officially admonished for seeking to comply with the Code of Federal Regulations. See, DC people, and bureaucrats and law enforcement in general, know they can violate laws and regulations with impunity because the prosecutors are highly unlikely to prosecute. Assuming you don’t fall out of political favor.

    I do know that strict compliance with laws and regulations would be unworkable and grind the country to a halt. But it would highlight the absurdity of the body of criminal laws that make all citizens felons subject to the whims of prosecutors.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 5

  26. Dave Schuler says:

    There are different views of the purpose of law and I don’t think those differences should be glossed over. We really should think more seriously about the kind of country we want to be.

    For some laws are the minimum standards of behavior. Since they’re the minimum standards of behavior, they should be enforced vigorously, without much discretion. The dangers of this point of view are formalism and rigidity.

    For others laws are mostly signals of intent or attitude. Enforcement is completely discretionary. The dangers of this point of view are discrediting of the rule of law and prejudice and agenda masquerading as law enforcement.

    Some of the distinction is expressed in the Latin phrases malum in se (wrong of itself) as opposed to malum prohibitum (regulatory infraction). Are the gun control laws instances of dealing with malum in se or malum prohibitum?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  27. 11B40 says:

    Greetings:

    So, does anyone know what happened to the contraband (and so, so scary) 30-round magazine ??? Is it in police custody or in Mr. Gregory’s trophy case ???

    “Look, Ma, top of the world.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  28. al-Ameda says:

    The prosecutor clearly made the right call, plus it has the added social and entertainment value of making conservative heads explode.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 3

  29. Hal 10000 says:

    I think the prosecutor made the right call. This was clearly not violating the intent of the law. However, it did make me think of something. What if a compromise on the magazine capacity issue is to allow them to be legal but tack on an extra charge for those who use them in the commission of a crime? I realize this wouldn’t stop spree killers. I’m not convinced there is a policy that would. But if you’re concern is — and it should be — about general gun violence, it might be workable.

    The kicker here is that you need an additional charge before a jury. We have (had?) a statute in federal courts that allowed judges to tack on 25 years for crimes committed with automatic weapons. But it wound up being a Constitutional problem (people being sentenced for crimes a jury never convicted them of) and was ripe for abuse (most notoriously in the Branch Davidian case).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  30. @JKB:
    Instead, as we see with Brinkley, they prosecute non-DC elite for lawful behavior. Fortunately, the jury saw this and acquitted.

    Minor technicality, perhaps, but IIRC it was the judge who threw out all the charges before the trial even began.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  31. When you wade through the school-marm tone and self-serving verbiage of the DC AG’s letter to NBC, the reason for the non-prosecution is nothing but: Gregory was reporter doing important reporter stuff:

    Influencing our judgment in this case, among other things, is our recognition that the intent of the temporary possession and short display of the magazine was to promote the First Amendment purpose of informing an ongoing public debate about firearms policy in the United States … .

    So can someone else – you know, a regular guy like you or me (or a gal) – go to Washington with an empty magazine just like the one Gregory used, with no firearm present, and stand in a public space and deliver a First Amendment-protected speech on national firearms policy? What if I was invited to speak by a large organization that had 1,000 listeners in the convention hall?

    Would the DCAG simply say, “Okay, no problem, despite the clarity of the violation of the law forbidding even simple possession of such magazines, your possession was merely temporary to promote the First Amendment purpose of informing an ongoing public debate about firearms policy in the United States”?

    Not a chance, and you know it. This is as political a non-prosecution as you’ll find anywhere.

    I posted the docstoc PDF of the DCAG’s letter on my site.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  32. JKB says:

    @Dave Schuler:

    Gun control laws are malum prohbitum.

    Some might try to argue that gun possession is evil in itself but they run aground on the government possessing guns, the politically connecting possessing guns, the wealthy possessing guns and their bodyguards possessing guns.

    Of course, some do seem to be amenable to the “elite”, connected and government officials being free from prosecution for crimes. How long before, outside of Massachusetts where it already happens*, the politically connected are not prosecuted for murder or theft, formally malum in se crimes.

    *the Kennedys, that crazy Harvard grad who shot up the university faculty meeting in Alabama, etc.

    MALUM IN SE. Evil in itself.
    2. An offence malum in se is one which is naturally evil, as murder,
    theft, and the like; offences at common law are generally mala in sese.
    3. An offence malum prohibitum, on the contrary, is not naturally an
    evil, but becomes so in consequence of its being forbidden; as playing at
    games, which being innocent before, have become unlawful in consequence of
    being forbidden.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3

  33. MM says:

    I know that amidst the Republican blogger bubble, they think that prosecuting David Gregory will mean something, but in the real world, this would be bad news. Do they really want to see more prosecutions for what they view as unjust restrictions on gun rights? Of course not. Nor is David Gregory such a beloved American figure that his prosecution would force Americans to remove more gun restrictions.

    All they would get would be a couple news cycles where they could point and laugh and the dreaded MSM.

    Plus to people outside the bubble, this looks like nothing more than a bizarre tantrum. Even the most anti gun people in the country didn’t hit the deck when they saw a picture of Gregory holding a magazine.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  34. Gustopher says:

    They should have prosecuted. The law is the law, and it should not be selectively enforced — selective enforcement is ripe for abuse. The wealthy and well-connected should be given no special treatment.

    The law wasn’t written with intent as a factor, so it shouldn’t be a factor in decisions to prosecute. It should be a factor in sentencing.

    That said, it was a relatively minor, harmless violation, and the right punishment would be a fine, and an acknowledgement that Gregory is a dumb-ass. I would like an acknowledgement that he is a poor excuse for a journalist as well, and that he offers up softball questions to his collection of conservative guests every week, but that really has nothing to do with the violation.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  35. TheColourfield says:

    @Jim Treacher:

    Shouldn’t you be off embarrassing your self further on the Clinton clot

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  36. wr says:

    @Donald Sensing: My God, is there nothing that “conservatives” can’t use for self-pity?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 3

  37. stonetools says:

    The difference in the treatment of the cases is clear to rational people, really.
    David Gregory, unless he has mad ninja skills, can’t kill someone with an empty magazine.
    Mr. Brinkley, should he feel so inclined, can load up his firearm, attach a magazine full of ammo, and kill up to 26 people in 20 minutes. We know he can do this , because its been done. There’s extra spice to this, since he was at or near the White House, the current occupant of which has received a record number of death threats, including from many gun nuts.
    The police officer at the scene decided to let the judge make the call about the charge, which the judge duly did. This case would have attracted no notice whatsoever, except the gun cultists are busy looking for martyrs.
    Unfortunately, the gun safety movement has no need to gin up martyrs. New ones die every day, tragically.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 4

  38. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    The matter is clear:

    Mr. Gregory (or his proxies) asked authorities if what they wanted to do was legal. They were advised that it was not, decided to proceed anyway and clearly break the law, and will not be prosecuted for knowingly and willingly breaking the law.

    Mr. Brinkley asked authorities what he should do to avoid breaking the law. He received and followed their advice to the letter, and was in full compliance with the laws at all times.

    The DC prosecutor used their discretion and chose to give Mr. Gregory a pass, but bring charges against Mr. Brinkley.

    The logic behind this is blindingly obvious to the liberals present, but they can’t quite put it into plain words as to how justice was served by prosecuting a non-violation of the law while not prosecuting a clear violation of the law. Apparently Mr. Gregory being a journalist who was trying to make a point in favor of gun control is significant, while Mr. Brinkley’s intent to better prepare himself for a career in law enforcement is not.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 5

  39. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    And I’m sure that the fact that Gregory and his wife are friends with the prosecutor in question was totally not a factor in his decision to not prosecute this clear “violation of this important law.” Totally irrelevant, and I probably shouldn’t even bring it up.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 6

  40. Dazedandconfused says:

    For all we know, he or his producer asked the cops if it would be OK, or even borrowed it from the DC cops. Details are important, and all those who hasn’t wondered about them but are sure Gregory either should or shouldn’t be prosecuted should look in the mirror, point at their reflection, and say “Axe grinder!”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  41. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Dazedandconfused: For all we know, he or his producer asked the cops for permission, or even borrowed it from the DC cops.

    That might be what you know, but the rest of us know NBC asked the DC police if it was legal… and were told it wasn’t. Which kind of blows the “ignorance” defense that Gregory won’t need now that his buddy the DA broomed the case.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 4

  42. JKB says:

    @Dazedandconfused: For all we know, he or his producer asked the cops if it would be OK, or even borrowed it from the DC cops.

    Perhaps you missed this part:

    In a letter to NBC, Attorney General Irvin B. Nathan admonished Gregory for knowingly flouting the law

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  43. anjin-san says:

    Refresh my memory, was Dick Cheney ever charged for shooting someone in the face on a drunken hunting trip? The demands from the right for equal treatment for all are still ringin in my ears…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 4

  44. al-Ameda says:

    @anjin-san:

    Refresh my memory, was Dick Cheney ever charged for shooting someone in the face on a drunken hunting trip? The demands from the right for equal treatment for all are still ringin in my ears…

    As most contemporary conservatives would tell you, shooting someone in the face (especially a friend) and holding up for show an empty ammunition magazine, are equivalent acts.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

  45. anjin-san says:

    @ al-Ameda

    Well, it’s not like the man Cheney shot had life threatening complications as a result or anything.

    It’s pretty much the same thing.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  46. 11B40 says:

    Greetings:

    Shouldn’t your headline have been “David Gregory won’t Be Prosecuted for Democratical Violation of D.C. Gun Law” ???

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 4

  47. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @anjin-san: So, you’re arguing that Gregory’s knowing and willful violation of DC gun laws was a protest against the Cheney hunting accident? Or that DC gun control laws extend to Texas?

    You’re usually better at the “hey, look over there” game. Must be because it’s such a blatantly obvious case of “laws don’t apply to the Important People” that even you can’t rationalize it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3

  48. Just Me says:

    The police officer at the scene decided to let the judge make the call about the charge, which the judge duly did.

    The police didn’t refer it to a judge.

    The police referred to the prosecutor. The prosecutor in the Brinkley case chose to proceed. They chose to go to trial. The prosecutor lost when the judge threw out the case.

    Posecutorial discretion in the Brinkley case was to prosecute. Brinkley made more effort to follow the law than Gregory, but Brinkley wasn’t let off, because Brinkley was among the “little people” while Gregory was elite with a high profile.

    That’s how the justice system in reality works.

    Also, if the defense here is Gregory’s possession of the magazine without a gun at hand poses no threat, then perhaps the law is stupid that prosecutes for the magazine (or at least should be changed so that its possession is illegal only in close proximity to a firearm).

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  49. john personna says:

    Some people latch on to a “David Gregory argument” not because it’s deep, or because it highlights responsible gun use, or reasonable gun control, in any way.

    No, they like it precisely because it is a shallow misdirection from any real world concern.

    TV Hosts holding an empty magazine as a prop are neither gun users, nor gun abusers, so lets focus on them to totally derail the conversation.

    Right?

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  50. de stijl says:

    JJ sez in the original article:

    But Nathan quite reasonably figured that the intent of the law was to make it a little harder to commit mass murder, that Gregory’s magazine was neither loaded nor attached to a weapon, and that Gregory was actually advocating for the very law in question.

    Was David Gregory advocating anything at the time he brandished the magazine? Or was he asking a question?

    Albeit, chances are 100-1 it was a vapid, softball question given David Gregory’s history. Nevertheless, asking a question that challenges the guest does not make one an advocate.

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  51. Timb says:

    @JKB: cool, gun nuts are now using the tools of secessionists. You people are just priceless

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  52. NickTamere says:

    This is the gun “debate” in a nutshell- right-wing gun owners asking for leniency for people acting carelessly, foolishly, and unsafely with their firearms while screaming that they throw the book at (or deport) anyone who questions their freedom to put others at risk. Fun fact- there was no public danger whatsoever from the “liberal” Karl Rove’s backup dancer’s stunt.

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  53. JKB says:

    @john personna:

    You can try to be obscurant all you want but the fact remains, the Gregory Exception exactly what is wrong with the drive toward gun control laws. Gregory violated the law but won’t be held to the same standard as your average citizen due to “prosecutorial discretion”. In this case, the most venal prosecutorial discretion since the record shows less connected individuals have been prosecuted for the same crime in far less intentional and far less knowing situations as well as when lawfully transporting magazines in accordance with federal law.

    There have been questions about the ethics, or more specifically “how it looks” for the DCAG to use his prosecutorial discretion to not prosecute for a knowing violation of DC law when the accused and he have significant social ties. But that would hardly be an issue, if the DCAG could show a history of using his discretion to not prosecute such possession by those without such connection to him or other D.C. elites, which he cannot. So the decision looks venal.

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  54. john personna says:

    @JKB:

    Laws exist for one over-arching reason. They are to protect us one from another. When someone acts dangerously and we have a law against that, we certainly arrest. When someone comes close, and must be made an example of, we arrest.

    Now, is the public endangered by newsreaders wielding empty magazines? Either in that specific, or more generally, so that Gregory must be made an example? For the first condition to be valid you have to think Gregory was endangering. For the second you have to believe that the next newsreader with an empty magazine and no gun would be endangering.

    That’s pretty silly, isn’t it?

    You underlying claim is that we are not safe from newsreaders with empty magazines and no gun, and so the government must act now.

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  55. john personna says:

    (Another example of the right with, “I have a stupid argument, but if I try hard enough, I can win!)

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  56. JKB says:

    @john personna:

    Had Gregory been prosecuted, his intent, the absence of other prohibited items, that future newsreaders didn’t need to be discouraged from such violations would not have been relevant for defense. The law is black letter and has no intent element. Simple, innocent possession is illegal. If DC wants to consider intent and consequences, then they should add those elements to the law so that the defense is available to all, not just those with juice with the DC government.

    It is an equal treatment under the law argument. But being from the left, I can understand why that is beyond your comprehension.

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  57. john personna says:

    @JKB:

    I am a happy moderate, and not nearly right or insane enough to think that prosecuting Gregory would increase my, or anyone else’s, safety.

    You are making a child’s argument.

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  58. john personna says:

    Note that when I say “a child’s argument,” I can map it to Lawrence Kohlberg’s stages of moral development.

    The very base level is “(Pre-Conventional) Obedience and punishment orientation”

    When your whole argument is that Gregory broke a rule and must be punished, you are not rising above the very first level of moral operation.

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  59. Jenos Idanian Who Has No Pony Tail says:

    @NickTamere: This is the gun “debate” in a nutshell- right-wing gun owners asking for leniency for people acting carelessly, foolishly, and unsafely with their firearms while screaming that they throw the book at (or deport) anyone who questions their freedom to put others at risk.

    Oh, horse crap. What would be nice is if the Obama administration showed it was serious about gun safety, and not just gun grabbing. For example, when was the last time someone was prosecuted for lying on a background check form? That’s a federal offense right there, and would do wonders towards deterring unqualified people from buying a gun. But it’s simply not a priority for the Obama administration.

    The majority of people who actually believe in the 2nd Amendment are disgusted with people who are careless with their guns and/or break gun laws, and have no problem with them being prosecuted — if for no other reason than those idiots make the responsible ones look bad.

    I guess Eric Holder is too worried that might interrupt supplying guns to Mexican drug cartels or something…

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  60. al-Ameda says:

    @JKB:

    You can try to be obscurant all you want but the fact remains, the Gregory Exception exactly what is wrong with the drive toward gun control laws. Gregory violated the law but won’t be held to the same standard as your average citizen due to “prosecutorial discretion”. In this case, the most venal prosecutorial discretion since the record shows less connected individuals have been prosecuted for the same crime in far less intentional and far less knowing situations as well as when lawfully transporting magazines in accordance with federal law.

    You say that John is trying to be “obscurant,’ while I think you’re trying to be obtuse.

    Exactly how did the prosecutor misuse his prosecutorial discretion here? What kind of a danger did David Gregory present to the public by presenting for show an empty ammunition magazine?

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  61. john personna says:

    When we make a public safety argument, or a civil society argument, we are climbing to Kohlberg’s Level 3, and social contracts or universal ethics.

    People making stupid Gregory arguments can’t go there. All of their worries collapse at that point.

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  62. anjin-san says:

    I think what the limited government/don’t trust the government/government is the source of all our problems crowd is trying to say is that the government’s rules must be followed to the letter in every single instance with no discretion of any kind allowed.

    Just like the limited government/don’t trust the government/government is the source of all our problems crowd says the government should have the power to torture and put people to death.

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  63. Jenos Idanian Who Has No Pony Tail says:

    @anjin-san: Please, explain how “get serious on guns” is compatible with Gregory knowingly and willingly breaking DC law and NOT getting prosecuted for it. Nor prosecuting people for lying on NICS background check forms.

    Here’s an idea I’ve heard tossed around in other contexts that fits here: when they start enforcing the laws they already have, THEN we’ll consider whether they need new laws. Sound fair?

    Or should we just decriminalize those offenses, since we’re not bothering to enforce them? Or enforce them evenly?

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  64. anjin-san says:

    @anjin-san: Please, explain how “get serious on guns”

    Well, first I will have to explain that I did not say “get serious on guns” and that you are once again attributing things to me that I never said and making up postions I never took. Do you understand that?

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  65. anjin-san says:

    Really Jenos, you should just stick to “from Jim Treacher’s ass to my lips” stuff like “Obama at dog”. It’s idiotic, but it’s idiotic at a level that is inside your comfort zone.

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  66. al-Ameda says:

    @Jenos Idanian Who Has No Pony Tail:

    Please, explain how “get serious on guns” is compatible with Gregory knowingly and willingly breaking DC law and NOT getting prosecuted for it. Nor prosecuting people for lying on NICS background check forms.

    Please explain why David Gregory should be prosecuted for presenting for show an empty ammunition magazine. What danger sis Gregory present to the public? Why did the prosecutor err in using discretionary authority to not prosecute Gregory?

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  67. Jenos Idanian Who Has No Pony Tail says:

    @al-Ameda: Please explain why David Gregory should be prosecuted for presenting for show an empty ammunition magazine.

    Because that’s the law in DC. I understand that it’s a tenet of faith on the left that you’re morally entitled (if not obligated) to simply ignore laws you think are stupid (and, granted, this is one), but DC’s law is explicit: merely possessing that magazine is a crime. There’s no “if there’s no gun present” exception, no “journalist” privilege, no “it’s OK if you’re making a gun control argument” loophole. Possessing that magazine in and of itself is a crime in DC.

    Which the DC police informed the network of before they recorded their show, and they did it anyway.

    Personally, I agree that this “gun control” law is stupid. Just like a lot of other existing and proposed ones are equally stupid. But they are the law, and DC has fiercely enforced this one in the past on proles and other non-Important People, including at least one innocent guy.

    But Gregory gets a pass. The double standard I’m all too used to seeing in play from the left, demonstrated again.

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  68. anjin-san says:

    The double standard I’m all too used to seeing in play from the left,

    I still remember the naked fury from the right when junkie Rush Limbaugh avoided prosecution on drug charges. Some people in this country believe in the law.

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  69. An Interested Party says:

    I’m just wondering what kind of warped mind would somehow think that Greogory is a liberal and part of “the left”…

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  70. al-Ameda says:

    @Jenos Idanian Who Has No Pony Tail:
    So you favor the waste of thousands of public dollars to prosecute David Greogry for showing an empty ammunition magazine on his news/opinion show?

    I am unaware of anyone else who has been prosecuted for showing an empty ammunition magazine. I suppose it has happened.

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  71. al-Ameda says:

    @anjin-san:

    I still remember the naked fury from the right when junkie Rush Limbaugh avoided prosecution on drug charges. Some people in this country believe in the law.

    I thought that Rush should have received the Death Penalty – not for illegally obtaining prescription drugs, but for criminal hypocrisy with respect to the issue of drug use.

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  72. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @al-Ameda: So you favor the waste of thousands of public dollars to prosecute David Greogry for showing an empty ammunition magazine on his news/opinion show?

    I am unaware of anyone else who has been prosecuted for showing an empty ammunition magazine. I suppose it has happened.

    So, to you, the law has a price tag? If it costs too much, we don’t enforce the law?

    As noted above, DC has already spent thousands and thousands prosecuting an innocent man over the same law. (you don’t seem to want to address his case — I wonder why?) Here, Gregory clearly, willingly, and knowingly broke the very same law, but he shouldn’t be prosecuted because… why again?

    Suppose LaPierre had held up an identical clip and said “here in DC, simply possessing this piece of metal and plastic is against the law. By itself, it can’t hurt someone unless you hit them with it, but simply having it in my hands subjects me to a fine of up to $1,000 and a year in jail. I don’t have to have a gun on or near me, it doesn’t have to have a single bullet in it. I have it in my hands, and therefore have broken the law.” You wanna say that you and a host of others wouldn’t be calling for LaPierre to be arrested and charged? You wanna say that the very same DA — a social buddy of Gregory’s — wouldn’t be pressing charges? “NRA head arrested for breaking gun law” would have been the lead item on every single newscast.

    So, go ahead and continue to the logical extension of your own argument — Gregory should not have been charged for breaking a stupid law — and nor should anyone else, and the law should be repealed. Or Gregory should not be charged, because journalists should be exempted from laws that others have to obey.

    I’m cool with the first one. I’ll agree with you on that one.

    I suspect you’re more in line with the second one, but you won’t admit that.

    Or you can come up with a third argument that’s actually coherent and consistent and principled.

    In which case, I’d be surprised as hell.

    Please, surprise me.

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  73. al-Ameda says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    So, go ahead and continue to the logical extension of your own argument — Gregory should not have been charged for breaking a stupid law — and nor should anyone else, and the law should be repealed. Or Gregory should not be charged, because journalists should be exempted from laws that others have to obey.

    If Gregory had been charged – as right wing gun ownership cultists want – then I could see where Jury Nullification would have relevance and great value here.

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  74. anjin-san says:

    Gregory had been charged – as right wing gun ownership cultists want

    You have to love the perspective here. George Zimmermann, a man who stalked children with a gun in his truck is a hero. Gregory, a man who did something stupid, but not dangerous, should be locked up.

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  75. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @anjin-san: You just love making stuff up, right? Zimmerman followed ONE suspicious-looking guy who was taller than he was, and you’re now morphing that into “stalking children” like he was a Democratic congressman (Mel Reynolds, Gerry Studds) or something.

    And I said I thought no one should be charged under that law, and it should be repealed. You, though? You won’t say anything about what you believe except Gregory should not be charged. You sound like the OAG here — charging others, sure, but NOT David Gregory. Because he’s special.

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  76. anjin-san says:

    @ Jenos

    A tall child is still a child. I know, I used to be one. You don’t magically stop being a kid when you hit six feet. And of course, a black kid walking home from buying some candy is suspicious – to a certain kind of person. But hey, we know your Zimmermann fetish is a big part of your small life. Don’t let reason or a sense of right and wrong stand in your way.

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  77. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @anjin-san: Yes, a child is still a child — not children.

    And MY Zimmerman fetish? I didn’t bring him up here. You did. Probably because you figured if you started your usual lies on the matter, you were confident I’d correct you and you could talk about it as my “fetish,” not yours.

    It was a nice try, but it doesn’t change how you won’t answer what I said earlier:

    So, go ahead and continue to the logical extension of your own argument — Gregory should not have been charged for breaking a stupid law — and nor should anyone else, and the law should be repealed. Or Gregory should not be charged, because journalists should be exempted from laws that others have to obey.

    I’m cool with the first one. I’ll agree with you on that one.

    I suspect you’re more in line with the second one, but you won’t admit that.

    Or you can come up with a third argument that’s actually coherent and consistent and principled.

    In which case, I’d be surprised as hell.

    Please, surprise me.

    You (and several others) seem to have an odd fixation: after a certain point in arguments, you <i.stop arguing the original points and instead try to attack me. It’s flattering, but doesn’t say much about you…

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  78. Just Me says:

    Anjin I would like to know-if you think this is a good law, and if it is a good law why is Gregory exempt from it?

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  79. john personna says:

    @Just Me:

    Anjin I would like to know-if you think this is a good law, and if it is a good law why is Gregory exempt from it?

    This whole conversation flew over your head, didn’t it?

    You completely missed that Gregory, as neither a gun owner, or gun abuser, was never the target of the law.

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  80. Just Me says:

    I don’t think the law says “This law is meant only for people who own guns” it is a law that says it is illegal to possess period.

    Even the prosecutor’s letter says he violated the law.

    So once again, is it a good law, and if it is a good law why is Gregory exempt from it?

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  81. john personna says:

    @Just Me:

    So you don’t live in our world?

    You simply don’t know that in our world “prosecutorial discretion”, even police “enforcement discretion” happens every day?

    Come on. Stop making stupid arguments. You’ll only lead me to believe that gun advocates are stupid, and therefore even LESS to be trusted with dangerous weapons.

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  82. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @john personna: You completely missed that Gregory, as neither a gun owner, or gun abuser, was never the target of the law.

    And yet he broke the law.

    James Brinkley was also accused of breaking the same law. And despite overwhelming evidence that 1) he had no intention of breaking the law or causing any harm and 2) did not in fact violate the law, he was arrested, charged, and tried with breaking that very same law.

    The notion that laws only apply to the “targets” of the law are absurd. The laws apply to everyone.

    Thanks for confirming you believe in at least two classes of citizens — those for whom the laws apply, and those for whom they don’t apply.

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  83. john personna says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    So, the things you don’t know:

    1) police “enforcement discretion” happens every day

    2) “prosecutorial discretion” happens every day

    3) “he broke the law” is merely a level 1 claim in Kohlberg’s stages of development, and not at all a sophisticated or adult claim of morality.

    … if you ignore all three of those things, you can make a stupid argument, contributing to the total gross stupidity of gun advocates.

    Got it.

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  84. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @john personna: And what you’re avoiding here is that I’m asking why the discretion was exercised in this particular case. What were the factors that applied to Mr. Gregory’s case, and why those factors don’t apply in other cases.

    The most important part of a system of law is that it be predictable. People need to understand what the law says, what it means, and how it is enforced if they are to be expected to obey it.

    The DC prosecutors carved out an exception in the Gregory case. The rest of us need to understand just what that exception means, if we’re to properly obey the law.

    The point you are so studiously avoiding is this: the prosecutors

    Your argument seems to be “the law doesn’t apply to Gregory because shut up.” If that’s your only argument, go ahead and own it.

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  85. john personna says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    It has been explained many times, that newscasters with empty magazines and no gun were never the target of the law, and never a risk to public safety.

    Idiot.

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  86. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @john personna: It has been explained many times, that newscasters with empty magazines and no gun were never the target of the law, and never a risk to public safety.

    No shit, Sherlock. Now show where either element is a legal defense under the law. Show me where such arguments were considered valid in court.

    In Mr. Brinkley’s case. he did what Gregory’s people did — he contacted the police to find out just how he could fully comply with the law. Unlike them, however, he did what they advised him to do — and he was still arrested, charged, and tried for breaking the law which he never actually broke. He was never a threat to public safety, and had made exceptional good-faith efforts to comply with the law (unlike Gregory), and was still arrested, charged, and tried.

    Gregory (and his staff) were informed that what they wanted to do was against the law and did it anyway.

    So, please pretend that you’re introducing the concept of “prosecutorial discretion” to the ignorant. Keep pretending that we’re not asking “what,” but “why.”

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  87. Mikey says:

    @john personna:

    The last time I tried to tell a cop that I was doing 15 over the speed limit because I was in a real big hurry and he responded with “you broke the law,” my retort that he was engaging in only a level 1 claim in Kohlberg’s stages of development fell on deaf ears…

    Seriously, though, I wouldn’t expect Gregory to be prosecuted for this, and I wouldn’t expect LaPierre would have been either, had he been the one holding the magazine. The law in question seems to me to be one of those that would be added in to a list of charges, as it was in the Brinkley case mentioned in these comments. And Brinkley actually had a gun, not just a magazine, so the two cases aren’t really relatable.

    The whole “Gregory didn’t get prosecuted because he’s a liberal with connections” thing is just a reinforcement of confirmation bias. He didn’t get prosecuted because it would have been a colossal waste of time.

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  88. anjin-san says:

    The most important part of a system of law is that it be predictable. People need to understand what the law says, what it means, and how it is enforced

    Really? Because very few people in this country know what various laws say, what they mean, or how they are enforced. What they do know, they learn from TV shows, which may or may not be accurate. You know, like on “Without a Trace”, where 6 FBI agents show up to tackle the case half an hour after your relative goes missing.

    My dad was an attorney, a really good one. I don’t remember he saying the cornerstone of the law was predictability.

    I broke the law yesterday, I drove 80 on the freeway. I do that a lot. Yet I was not held to account. I have received speeding tickets in the past, but it’s been a few years. It’s very… unpredictable. Jenos, since you are saying the law must always be enforced, let me ask you this. Do you ever break the speeding laws? If so, do you turn yourself in after you do it? You must, since you see the law as an absolute.

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  89. john personna says:

    @Mikey:

    I can tell you my own real life story about that, Mikey. Here in California it is against the law to drive through a crosswalk when it has pedestrians anywhere in it. I worked for a time in a building that had a parking lot across a 4 lane street, with a crosswalk (but no signal) between. Every morning was an adventure.

    Periodically a motorcycle cop would be stationed to catch drivers. The first time I saw the cop there, and started walking, had a car pass on the other side of the street, I looked at him, and he did nothing. Well, obviously he’s being selective about the other side.

    Anyway, this was a repeated problem, with many crossings, many drivers, and at least a few cops.

    What I discovered by experimentation was that the cop would pull over anyone who either went too fast or too close to a pedestrian. Someone going somewhat close but slow was fine. Someone going faster but lanes away was fine.

    It turns out it was the people posing a genuine risk who got tagged.

    (I don’t know if your 15-over story was real, but I know I have been sent home for 15-over, on the last block from my house. With a “slow down.”)

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  90. john personna says:

    (Basically Mikey made a really stupid “cops tagged me, so they tag everyone, all the time” argument. God help us from this kind of stupidity.)

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  91. john personna says:

    (I am really cranky because I have to get a certain routine medical exam tomorrow, and today is my no solid food day.)

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  92. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @anjin-san: Your dad may have been an attorney, and a good one, but he didn’t teach you squat.

    Here’s one citation.

    Here’s another.

    And, if the moderators of this site are paying attention and are so inclined, I explicitly invite them to offer their own knowledge and experience on the notion that “predictability is a cornerstone of the rule of law in America.”

    But let’s once again attempt an exercise in futility — trying to wring an honest answer out of you.

    I say Gregory should not be charged because it is a stupid law — and neither should anyone else, and the law should be repealed or struck down. But if it’s on the books, and the prosecutors are actively using it, then they should use it equitably. Plus, if Gregory is charged, he and his network have the resources to fight it and maybe get it struck down, and that would be a good thing.

    You say Gregory should not be charged, and offer zero arguments for that. Instead, you cite “prosecutorial discretion” and imply that anyone who dares question the discretion of prosecutors (who, as noted repeatedly, have used that discretion to prosecute at least one clearly innocent man) is an idiot.

    What is the rationale (legal rationale) for not charging Gregory, but for charging Brinkley? One that actually addresses the law in question as written and previously enforced?

    I dearly hope wr is holding his breath waiting for your answer. I dunno what oxygen deprivation will do to someone already brain-dead, but I’m curious to find out.

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  93. anjin-san says:

    @ Rainman – I mean Jenos

    Suppose I stipulate that Gregory got off because he is wealthy and connected. Really, so what? Wealthy and connected people have been getting away with things other people don’t since the concept of law was invented. Ask Rush Limbaugh, then ask a black guy who was busted in a ghetto with a small quantity of drugs and ended up in prison.

    Rich, well connected people avoid prosecution. They avoid jail. They avoid jury duty. They also avoid going off to war and getting their asses shot of with the poor kids. They also avoid zoning regulations.

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  94. anjin-san says:

    @ Jenos

    Here’s one citation.

    I hate to break it to you, but marketing materials from a DUI firm in AZ are not much of a cite. Nor is an anonymous cite from a Wiki. Here’s a hint for you – doing a quick Google search is not the same thing as actually having knowledge.

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  95. Mikey says:

    @john personna: I was joking, John. I did not actually tell a cop he was engaging in a level 1 argument on Kohlberg’s scale of development. I thought about dropping a winking smiley in there, but figured it would be redundant because the whole paragraph was just obviously silly.

    I’ve been sent on with a stern warning more than once. The last time a cop actually wrote me a ticket was in 1995. Although I did get a $40 speed camera ticket last November.

    One time when I was stationed in North Carolina, my brother was in the hospital in Savannah, Georgia. He was ill enough that he was hospitalized for several weeks, so I used to make the four-hour drive as often as I could. As you might imagine, it got a little monotonous, so if it was late at night I’d just push my speed up to try and shave some time off the drive. I was heading south on I-95 doing about 90 in the middle of the night, and didn’t see the cop at the side of the road until the last second. He hit me with his headlights, full bright, scared the hell out of me. I thought, “Man, now I have to tell the CO why I got tagged for reckless driving.” But the cop never actually pulled out to follow…the headlights were just his way of saying “Slow down, fool.” Seems a lot like your place with the motorcycle cop–I was the only car on the road, not really risking anyone else, so no need to do anything but let me know I should rein it in a bit.

    So, I know cops don’t tag everybody–they don’t have time, and sometimes it just doesn’t make a lot of sense. And I’m glad they can use their professional judgment. (I was REALLY glad on that late night in North Carolina…)

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  96. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @anjin-san: If you were to stipulate that, then I would question why you were so content with such a status quo. You obviously carry a grudge about it (Limbaugh’s case happened almost 10 years ago), but you still bring it up. And I’d note that you tend to bring it up only when you’re rationalizing your own inactions, as if Limbaugh’s addiction problems are your own personal scapegoat for why you act hypocritically. It’s not a crusade for you, it’s an excuse.

    Theoretically speaking, of course. If you were to stipulate that. But since you didn’t, I’ll simply note that, once again, you’re not answering the question.

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  97. anjin-san says:

    You say Gregory should not be charged, and offer zero arguments for that. Instead, you cite “prosecutorial discretion”

    Really? Where did I do that?

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  98. john personna says:

    @Mikey:

    I’d be fine if I could have a breakfast burrito … really.

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  99. anjin-san says:

    I would question why you were so content with such a status quo.

    Because it has been a reality of the human condition forever and I am not going to change it?

    Why are you content with the status quo? Be true to the principles you are trumpeting and demand equal marriage rights for gays and lesbians. Do it now.

    I’ll simply note that, once again, you’re not answering the question.

    Well, it is a pretty stupid question.

    You obviously carry a grudge about it

    No, just pointing out that you are acting hypocritically, and pounding your chest with righteous indignation in the process.

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  100. anjin-san says:

    I’ve been sent on with a stern warning more than once.

    Yea, me too. Funny how that works, I look like a guy who could be on his way to have lunch with the mayor, and cops are always nice me. They are even nicer to good looking women. I wonder if they are that nice to a 22 year old Mexican kid in an ’89 Honda with oxidized paint. Scratch that, I already know the answer.

    Since the law is being enforced in a non predictable manner, it’s a wonder we have not descended into anarchy.

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  101. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @anjin-san: My point was, it’s such a common theme that I find it hard to believe you were totally ignorant of it.

    But if you want to claim to be that stupid, I’ll play nice and go along with you.

    But if you need a few more examples of just how common this notion that escaped your notice, may I offer this one from USLegal, or perhaps this one from Senator and Attorney Patrick Leahy (D-VT)’s web page, or even this citation from Overlawyered.

    If he’s still around, give your dad a ring and ask him about the notion. He will probably be chagrined to have neglected your education in such a fundamental area.

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  102. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @anjin-san: I said no such things. As you did, I spoke hypothetically.

    If you’re going to invent a fiction and expect me to play along, please do me the courtesy of maintaining that fiction when I do actually agree to accept it.

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  103. anjin-san says:

    @ Jenos

    You’ve attributed two things on this thread to me that I did not say.

    Please stop whining – if you can that is.

    a common theme

    The desire for predictability in the law is indeed a common theme. Your fast and furious Google searches so doubt turned up references to Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas.

    You said predictability was “the cornerstone” of the law. That is a little different. Words mean things and all that…

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  104. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @anjin-san: So, you wanna now avoid the actual topic by going off on a tangent about definite articles? Fine, “a cornerstone” instead of “the cornerstone.”

    You still won’t say why Gregory should not be prosecuted, except blah blah Limbaugh Cheney Mexicans with clapped-out cars… I think you need a “Bush” reference in there, too, to just round it out.

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  105. anjin-san says:

    You still won’t say why Gregory should not be prosecuted

    Sure I will. Because only idiots want to see him prosecuted.

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  106. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @anjin-san: So you let idiots do your thinking for you. You just see what they say, and go for the opposite.

    Thanks for another honest admission.

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  107. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    And let me pre-empt wr’s latest stupid lie: yes, that’s where I started on the issue of gun control. I then did a lot of my own homework. However, in anjin’s case, it’s apparently where he starts and stops.

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  108. wr says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: Oh, litttle Jay, you’re so cute when you suddenly remember which self you’re pretending to be today, and which one you were yesterday.

    Now please tell us about the copious research that went into your four thousand “Obama ate dog!!!!” posts.

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  109. Mikey says:

    @john personna: If you’re getting done what I think you’re getting done, you DO NOT want a breakfast burrito, I assure you.

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  110. anjin-san says:

    @ wr

    Let’s not forget “Romney saved a drowning man”!

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  111. al-Ameda says:

    @anjin-san: @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Do either of you know if Mitt Romney brought up on charges of cruelty to animals for tying Seamus to the roof of the family station wagon and driving up to Canada?

    Please note that I too have avoided explaining exactly why I think that David Gregory should not be prosecuted. I find that concepts like “prosecutorial discretion” and “unarmed “Sunday morning television show host” are too complex for conservatives to understand, so I avoid the subject.

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