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Thread: President of Akron city council carries a loaded gun into Akron/Canton airport

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    State Researcher dng's Avatar
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    Bond set for Akron councilman on gun charge

    Tuesday, November 20, 2007
    THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

    AKRON Akron’s city council president will go to trial on a concealed weapon charge.

    Marco Sommerville appeared Monday in Barberton Municipal Court. He was released on a signature bond. Another court hearing was set for Nov. 28.

    Security at Akron-Canton Airport found a loaded handgun in a bag Sommerville wanted to carry onto a plane Nov. 12. The .38-caliber gun was confiscated.

    Sommerville then was allowed to make his flight to New Orleans for a National League of Cities conference.

    Sommerville turned down an offer to reduce the charge to a misdemeanor in return for a guilty plea, saying he didn’t knowingly carry the weapon.

    He says he forgot the gun was in his bag when he left late for the airport last week.

    Defense lawyer Bob Meeker says he hopes a jury will agree Sommerville is believable.

    http://www.cantonrep.com/index.php?I...p;categoryID=9

    I have mixed feelings on this one. Obviously, it is against the law to carry a loaded gun into an airport. If he did it, he is guilty. That's the law, and it has to be enforced. True, it was stupid to forget a loaded gun inhis bag. But if all gun ownerswere honest with themselves, we each are capable of making the some mistake. All it takes is being careless one time, and any one of us could be in the same situation. I really wish there was a way for an honest law abiding citizen to not be punished for unintentionally committing a crime with a firearm such as this. But maybe that's not practical. Oh, and one other thing...what are the odds he was taking a gun with him because he was headed to New Orleans? (gun confiscation center and crime hotspot of the USA)


    Edit: I wrote "...intententionally committing a crime..." Not what I meant!

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    An essential element of the charge as written (in Ohio law, ORC 2923.12) is that one has to knowingly have the weapon concealed and loaded/ready at hand. That said, it's a bit self-serving and presumably not a sufficient defense to say that you forgot... I share his pain in a very real way nonetheless.

    -ljp

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    State Researcher dng's Avatar
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    I'm rather suprised Sommerville turned down the plea deal. I don't know how much of a case he has to stand on.

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    Accomplished Advocate color of law's Avatar
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    The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the jury has the right to judge the facts as well as the law.
    That means that the jury may or may not apply the law to the facts. The jury has the right to egnore the law and acquit. This is also known as jury nullification.
    However, U.S. Supreme Court has also said that a judge does not have to inform the jury that they have that authority.

    Because the judges won't tell the jury, they (judges) will threaten an attorney with contempt if he (attorney) informs the jury. This is a violation of the judges oath.

    Until we get defence attorneys to fight and/or stand-up to these corrupt judges, nothing will change.

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    color of law wrote:
    That means that the jury may or may not apply the law to the facts. The jury has the right to egnore the law and acquit. This is also known as jury nullification.
    If only we could just acquit the defendents we know and like.....and convict the ones we don't know and do not like....

    What a wonderful world it would be.

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    Mr. Somerville isn't from my end of the state, but according to gun owners up that way he's a concealed carry licensee.However as a mainstream Democrat, he's long held and acted on an anti-gun agenda for the rest of us, you know, 'those gun nuts'.

    If that's true I hope they put the guy UNDER the damn jail.

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    This is one of those situations where thoughtful citizens dig up every anti-gun utterance thisperson has ever made and make sure it gets to the press.

    Anti-gun hypocrisy = can't trust his statement that it was unintentional, either.

    For example, he probably thought, being superior to the rest of us, the law didn't apply to him. "Hey, I'm the mayor, I'm allowed. I expect you to show me respect!" Or some such. He probably thought that if anyone objected, he could just talk his way past them, or that they would let him through once they discovered he was City Council President.
    I'll make you an offer: I will argue and fight for all of your rights, if you will do the same for me. That is the only way freedom can work. We have to respect all rights, all the time--and strive to win the rights of the other guy as much as for ourselves.

    If I am equal to another, how can I legitimately govern him without his express individual consent?

    There is no human being on earth I hate so much I would actually vote to inflict government upon him.

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    Permit or not, the guy had a loaded gun at the airport. Bad career move. He should have taken the deal. CCW is a felony-4 and he's going to get screwed. There's no presumption of prison time - at least for a 1st offense for someone not already under disability - but it's by no means a trivial matter. He could in theory get a year and a half in the big house. He won't do time, but he and I may end up on the same community service chain gang cleaning up roadkill if this takes in both cases.

    -ljp

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    Regular Member reefteach's Avatar
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    The firearms prohibition at airports in OH specifically says the firearm is "knowingly" being transported, so the state must prove he knew it was in there. "I did not know" is a great defense. The state must prove he knew it was in the bag.


    No person shall knowingly convey, or attempt to convey, a deadly weapon

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    State Researcher dng's Avatar
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    It will definately be interesting to see how this turns out for him.

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    Brian D. wrote:
    Mr. Somerville isn't from my end of the state, but according to gun owners up that way he's a concealed carry licensee.However as a mainstream Democrat, he's long held and acted on an anti-gun agenda for the rest of us, you know, 'those gun nuts'.

    If that's true I hope they put the guy UNDER the damn jail.
    Cite?

    NRA ratings, perhaps?

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    Sic, it was an educated guess on my part, based on responses from Akron-ites on another firearms forum, hence the way I phrased my post.

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    UPDATE/ CONCLUSION:

    AKRON -- Akron City Council President, Marco Sommerville, entered a "no contest" plea in an Akron courtroom Tuesday on a misdemeanor charge of failing to properly inform a law enforcement officer that he was carrying a concealed handgun in an airport.
    Sommerville accepted a prosecutor's plea deal which dropped the felony charge in favor of a "no contest" plea on the misdemeanor charge.

    "I will accept the recommendation of the prosecutor and sentence you to pay a fine of $500," Judge Elinore Marsh Stormer told Sommerville. "There's no jail time."

    In making his no contest plea and accepting the deal, Sommerville wrote in a prepared statement, "I did so in order to spare the city, my family, and myself the ordeal of a trial on a felony charge of knowingly carrying a concealed handgun in an airport with the intent to carry it on board an aircraft." Sommerville in his statement also wrote, "I regret this lapse and again apologize to the people of Akron, to my city council colleagues and to the airport security personnel."

    His attorney, Robert Meeker says Sommerville was running late for his plane to New Orleans for the League of Cities Conference on November 12th and forgot to take his gun out of his bag. Since it was a mistake, Sommerville rejected an early plea deal to federal charges.

    "The federal section that we were offered to plead to carried 'knowingly and willfully' and Marco just said in good conscience, he can't plead to those," Meeker said outside the courtroom.

    Summit County prosector Sherri Bevan Walsh recused herself from the case and the Ohio Attorney General's Office handled the prosecution. They say Sommerville got the same deal others with similar offenses received.

    "I didn't look at this as him getting off easy," says Paul Scarsella. "I had no idea who he was to be perfectly honest when I made the offer."

    The plea to misdemeanor charges and not felony charges means Sommerville will not lose his mortician's license or his position on Akron City Council.

    "I won't say he's happy but he's glad that it's over and it's better for his family and the city," Meeker says.

    Sommerville will also lose his concealed carry permit for a year. Prosecutors say the gun confiscated from Sommerville at the airport will be destroyed.

    http://www.wkyc.com/news/regional/ak...?storyid=79636





    He probably would have been wise to check the gun through baggage, and take it with him, because after all, he was headed to New Orleans.

    BTW, totally OT, but does that show on Fox; K-ville; tick you off? I started to watch one episode, but all I could think was "gun confiscation". I couldn't take it, and I won't even watch the promos for it anymore. Not good for the blood pressure... I guess I'm still young; I don't have to worry about that just yet.


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    Mortician's license? There's an irony in this somewhere, but I'm not drunk enough to figure it out just now...

    -ljp

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    Wow sucks to be him, even if he is anti-freedom. I wouldn't wish that on anybody. It seems to me that they come down on people harder if they make an honest mistake. Gotta make an example don't ya know. That's one reason I refuse to fly, I don't want my firearm out of my control any more than absolutely necessary. That and I refuse to be searched so everyone can feel "safer".

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    Accomplished Advocate color of law's Avatar
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    dngreer wrote:
    UPDATE/ CONCLUSION:

    AKRON -- Akron City Council President, Marco Sommerville, entered a "no contest" plea in an Akron courtroom Tuesday on a misdemeanor charge of failing to properly inform a law enforcement officer that he was carrying a concealed handgun in an airport.
    Sommerville accepted a prosecutor's plea deal which dropped the felony charge in favor of a "no contest" plea on the misdemeanor charge.

    In making his no contest plea and accepting the deal, Sommerville wrote in a prepared statement, "I did so in order to spare the city, my family, and myself the ordeal of a trial on a felony charge of knowingly carrying a concealed handgun in an airport with the intent to carry it on board an aircraft." Sommerville in his statement also wrote, "I regret this lapse and again apologize to the people of Akron, to my city council colleagues and to the airport security personnel."

    His attorney, Robert Meeker says Sommerville was running late for his plane to New Orleans for the League of Cities Conference on November 12th and forgot to take his gun out of his bag. Since it was a mistake, Sommerville rejected an early plea deal to federal charges.

    "The federal section that we were offered to plead to carried 'knowingly and willfully' and Marco just said in good conscience, he can't plead to those," Meeker said outside the courtroom.

    The plea to misdemeanor charges and not felony charges means Sommerville will not lose his mortician's license or his position on Akron City Council.
    This story doesn't make sense. The State cannot prosecute a federal charge. The plea deal had to include an agreement that the feds would not prosecute him under federal law. The story makes it sound as though the State was prosecuting under a federal statute. He had to plea to a state statute in state court not a federal statute.

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    It's pretty lame that they're going toconfiscate and destroy a weapon over a misdemeanor conviction. I guess he can replace it, but a conviction that doesn't impose a weapons disability on someone ought to result in the original weapon being restored to the guy. Likewise, convictions that don't bear on your work ought not to result in automatic suspension or revocationof licenses (e.g. a barber who gets convicted of drug possession or certain other crimes will have both his driver's and barber's licenses suspended under Ohio law). Lame, petty, arbitrary, unjust denying someone their livelihood over some peccadillo. JMO.

    -ljp

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    State Researcher dng's Avatar
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    I believe it is standard operating procedure for weapons to be destroyed that are confiscated at the airport security checkpoints. I hate to think of a good gun being sent through the cruncher. I still wish the gun would have been returned to him. Once, I forgot that I had a very small box cutter (1/8" thick, maybe 2 1/2" long, about 1" wide) in a binder, and I went through security with it. Thankfully, they caught it. But the TSA screener did tell me if I wanted to keep it (which I did not, it was worth $0.50) that I could have it back if I would return to the ticket counter, place it in my luggage, and then come back through security. (I did not, the line was too long for that) Anyway,maybe it is because a gun is considered more dangerous than a small box opener.

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    There's no telling how many detective's girlfriends actually end up with these "destroyed" guns either.

    -ljp

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    State Researcher dng's Avatar
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    Well, the charge didn't stop him from getting re-elected as president:

    http://www.newsnet5.com/akroncanton/...24/detail.html

    AKRON, Ohio -- One week after he was found guilty of a misdemeanor weapons charge, Marco Sommerville was re-elected as Akron City Council president.

    The City Council voted 12-0 Monday night to keep Sommerville as president.

    He was caught last month carrying a gun into the Akron-Canton Airport. Sommerville said he forgot the gun was in his case. He was fined $500, forfeited his weapon and lost his license to carry a gun for one year.

    He has served as council president for eight years.

    Councilman-at-large Michael Williams abstained from the vote.

  21. #21
    State Researcher dng's Avatar
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    Gun Charges Against Teacher Dropped
    http://www.wcax.com/Global/story.asp...4&nav=4QcS
    Rutland, Vermont - December 14, 2007

    Federal weapons charges have been dropped against a school teacher caught with a loaded gun at the Rutland State Airport. Sheldon Hochman, 62, was stopped last year as he tried to board a plane with a loaded 9 millimeter handgun in his carry on bag. He was going to Alaska for his honeymoon. Hochman told investigators he had no plans to hijack the plane or harm anybody, but just forgot he packed the gun.

    After two hours of deliberation a jury acquitted him on the gun charges.


    If the incident with the Akron city councilman would have gone to trial, I wonder if the verdict would have been similar to this one.




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