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Thread: Bremerton man goes to prison for wife's guns

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    http://www.theolympian.com/377/story...k=omni_popular

    Published January 07, 2010

    JOSH FARLEY

    A Bremerton man who refused to plead guilty to a gun crime, despite being offered a deal that would allow him to avoid jail time, was convicted by a Kitsap County Superior Court jury on Wednesday.

    Luke T. Groves, 37, was convicted of two counts of first-degree unlawful possession of a firearm after a three-day trial. He contends he wasn't notified that his 1990 burglary conviction carried with it a lifetime firearms prohibition and he refused to take a plea deal offered by county prosecutors.

    The standard sentencing range for the crimes he was convicted of Wednesday is 31 to 41 months in prison. He will be sentenced by Kitsap County Superior Court Judge Sally Olsen on Jan. 29.

    After the verdict was read, Groves hugged his wife, Rebecca, and was hadcuffed and led away to the Kitsap County jail.

    Groves called police in late November 2008 after he returned home to find a broken window in his Hewitt Avenue house. He says he told officers that his wife owned a rifle and handgun.

    Nothing had been stolen from the home, but Groves was arrested for being a felon in possession of firearms. He had been convicted of breaking into a Shelton school in 1990. Groves moved in with his wife, who owned the two guns, in 2003.

    The three officers who investigated the incident at his house testified for the prosecution at Groves' trial. Only Groves took the stand in his own defense.
    During closing arguments, Deputy Prosecutor Giovanna Mosca painted a simple picture for jurors: Groves had the guns in his "dominion and control," and that was enough for a conviction.

    Mosca used a metaphor to make her case: When you rent a movie or check out a book from the library, "you don't own it, but you possess it," she said.
    Groves' attorney, Marisa Bender, countered by saying that "while the accusation may be simple, this (case) takes place in the complexity of everyday real life."

    "Little did he know what awaited him when he called 911 that day," Bender said.

    To convict Groves, jurors had to be convinced beyond a reasonable doubt of three things: that he knowingly had possession or control of a firearm; that he is a convicted felon, and that the crime occurred in Kitsap County.

    "I think the state showed their evidence, their case, pretty well," said juror Toby Johnson of Port Orchard. "It was pretty clear-cut."

    Two of the 12 jurors said they began as "holdouts" who weren't convinced of Groves' guilt, mainly due to a conflicting statement one of the testifying officers gave about his response to the 2008 burglary.

    But they said their minds were changed when Groves took the stand in his own defense.

    "What convinced us is that he admitted he took the police to the guns," said juror Darci Baker-Spicer of Bremerton.

    Much of the evidence Groves wanted to present at his trial was not allowed.

    When Groves was sentenced for the Shelton burglary, no state law yet existed that required the courts to notify felons they couldn't possess firearms.

    Groves did receive a notice from the state Department of Corrections that he wasn't allowed to have guns - but he believed that notice only applied during his probation, which ended years ago.

    In arguing that point to dismiss the case in November, Bender said Groves was further confused because of his work as a federal firefighter. He disclosed his felony convictions to his employers, who allowed him to work with explosives.

    But Olsen denied the motion to dismiss the case, and jurors were told that Groves was prohibited from owning guns even if the court in 1990 didn't notify him of it.
    That left the issue of "possession" as the central issue of the trial. Deputy prosecutor Mosca, in cross-examining the defendant, asked if the guns were in a "shared bedroom." Groves said yes.

    "And in fact, you led the officers to them," she followed.

    "Yes," he replied.

    Groves' wife, Rebecca Besherse, said she will petition to get the guns - a Remington .22-caliber long rifle and an Accu-Tek .380 handgun - returned to her. She'd like to sell them, now that her husband will be in prison and not at work. But she's not getting her hopes up.

    She said she harbors no ill will toward the jury and wasn't surprised by the verdict.
    "They did exactly what they were told to do," she said.

    But she still can't understand her husband is in jail because of guns she owned before they even met.

    "I did not become a felon by marrying him," she said.

    Besherse said they'll appeal the conviction.

    She'll soon head to the local Department of Social and Health Services office to apply for benefits on behalf of their 4-year-old daughter, Sophim. As a child of an incarcerated parent, the state will pay for housing, Besherse believes.

    Besherse said that Groves "hugged our daughter this morning, and told her he might not see her for three years. But that he loved her and it was not her fault."

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    That's ridiculous. Instead of worrying about some guys that broke a window and might have entered a home without permission, they find some **** just to throw a guy in jail.

    What I want to know, did they arrest him on the spot, or later came back and said, you're a felon, you go to jail now. If they had came back later, they are just grabbing at anything, it doesn't say he acted aggressive, he just called the cops.




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    This is pretty outrageous. I went through the thought processes on this when I started renting out one of the bedrooms in my house. I had rented to a friend of a friend, only to find out later that he was not allowed to own firearms. I wasn't worried about having him around, even with the conviction as I knew by then that he was a really nice guy who'd gotten into some trouble, but I have (conservatively estimating) a lot of guns. I did some research and I discovered was that it wasn't a problem if the guns were in my part of the house and that I had told him not to handle or access them.

    I could see the difference in wife/husband but what a travesty of a prosecution. This is the perfect example of a situation where a friendly word to the husband and wife and they could have taken care of the situation by getting rid of the guns. Isn't the point of the law to protect us? How is anyone safer now.

    This also goes back to the idea that law breaking required intent. This is an original tenet of our legal system.

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    Another good reason not to call 911.

    They give an animal like Clemmons bail and put this guy in jail, yeahit all makes sense to me.


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    Areal-lifeexample of what the government can get away with when jurors do not know their rights and powers.

    But for their right to judge of the law, and the justice of the law, juries would be no protection to an accused person, even as to matters of fact; for, if the government can dictate to a jury any law whatever, in a criminal case, it can certainly dictate to them the laws of evidence. That is, it can dictate what evidence is admissible, and what inadmissible, and also what force or weight is to be given to the evidence admitted. And if the government can thus dictate to a jury the laws of evidence, it can not only make it necessary for them to convict on a partial exhibition of the evidence rightfully pertaining to the case, but it can even require them [*6] to convict on any evidence whatever that it pleases to offer them. Lysander Spooner, An Essay on the Trial by Jury 1852

    http://lysanderspooner.org/node/35
    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?

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    44Brent quoted the article:
    SNIP To convict Groves, jurors had to be convinced beyond a reasonable doubt of three things: that he knowingly had possession or control of a firearm; that he is a convicted felon, and that the crime occurred in Kitsap County.
    Kinda omitted the part about "guilty mind", didn't they?

    From Spooner, emphasis mine:

    That is, it can dictate what evidence is admissible, and what inadmissible, and also what force or weight is to be given to the evidence admitted. And if the government can thus dictate to a jury the laws of evidence, it can not only make it necessary for them to convict on a partial exhibition of the evidence rightfully pertaining to the case, but it can even require them [*6] to convict on any evidence whatever that it pleases to offer them.


    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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    If the cops had arrived and found a kilo of cocaine in the house instead of the guns, would the "oh that's not mine, that's my wife's" be a legitimate defense?

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    Regular Member trevorthebusdriver's Avatar
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    Yeah, and now we get to pay for his jail time, his daughter's benefits and most likely some welfare and food stamps...

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    44Brent qutoed the article:
    SNIP During closing arguments, Deputy Prosecutor Giovanna Mosca painted a simple picture for jurors: Groves had the guns in his "dominion and control," and that was enough for a conviction.
    The government telling the jury how to evaluate what evidence the government has allowed.

    From Spooner, emphasis mine:

    ...in criminal cases, it is not only the right and duty of juries to judge what are the facts, what is the law, and what was the moral intent of the accused; but that it is also their right, and their primary and paramount duty, to judge of the justice of the law, and to hold all laws invalid, that are, in their opinion, unjust or oppressive, and all persons guiltless in violating, or resisting the execution of, such laws.

    Unless such be the right and duty of jurors, it is plain that, instead of juries being a “palladium of liberty” --- a barrier against the tyranny and oppression of the government --- they are really mere tools in its hands, for carrying into execution any injustice and oppression it may desire to have executed.
    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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    The government telling the jury how to evaluate what evidence the government has allowed.
    you don't think his defense attorney told the jury a second way to interprete the evidence?

    A jury found him guilty.

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    erps wrote:
    The government telling the jury how to evaluate what evidence the government has allowed.
    you don't think his defense attorney told the jury a second way to interprete the evidence?

    A jury found him guilty.
    Defense attorneys have been barred from doing so in the past. Just Google the case of Theseus in CA. He was denied the ability to raise exemptions in the law he was covered by and evidence that supported him, and was found guilty under the perverted trial and jury instructions.

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    N6ATF wrote:
    erps wrote:
    The government telling the jury how to evaluate what evidence the government has allowed.
    you don't think his defense attorney told the jury a second way to interprete the evidence?

    A jury found him guilty.
    Defense attorneys have been barred from doing so in the past. Just Google the case of Theseus in CA. He was denied the ability to raise exemptions in the law he was covered by and evidence that supported him, and was found guilty under the perverted trial and jury instructions.
    Defense attorneys are allowed to give closing arguments.

    Another, perhaps obvious, restriction on final arguments is that the arguments in closing must be tied to the evidence developed at trial. Inferences and conclusions from the evidence at trial can be argued quite freely, but to mention evidence that was never presented (and perhaps even ruled inadmissible by the trial judge) would be improper.

    Read more: Criminal Trial - The Trial Ends http://law.jrank.org/pages/2208/Trial-Criminal-trial-ends.html#ixzz0byVtlcW1

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    I could see if he had them on his person. Yes granted they should have been locked up. Still no reason to put him in prison.
    If you voted for Obama to prove you are not a racist...
    what will you do now to prove you are not stupid?

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    You know what they say, Ignorance of the Law is no excuse.

    He knew very well he was a convicted felon and at his age I am quite sure he was aware he could not buy or posses a firearms, but instead he tried to walk a thin line between right and wrong that put him where he was today.

    He made some very stupid choices and should have opted to the plea.

    No sympathy for felons is possession for firearms that have not had their rights reinstated.
    • Being prepared is to prepare, this is our responsibility.
    • I am not your Mommy or Daddy and do not sugar coat it but I will tell you simply as how I see it, it is up to you on how you will or will not use it.
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    So what's the wife supposed to do? If she keeps the guns under lock and key so that her husband cannot exercise dominion or control over them, then she cannot exercise her right to defend herself in her home. Essentially, she has to sacrifice her rights because her husband cannot have guns.

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    erps wrote:
    If the cops had arrived and found a kilo of cocaine in the house instead of the guns, would the "oh that's not mine, that's my wife's" be a legitimate defense?
    Not unless he is from a strange planet, but that isn't the same comparison.

    Cocaine possession/use is generally quite illegal and it is well known it is; prohibitions on firearms possession by persons convicted of a crime is not as clear.

    The point is, the jury never got to properly rule on the case...on his intent..did he know he wasn't suppose to be around firearms?. OK, probably or with that background, even an isolated incident, he should have known or checked...BUT, it is possible he thought it was only during his probation period. And that is the reasonable doubt, the lack of intent, to commit a crime.

    Also keep in mind other facts, the time frame...the previous conviction was in 1990, incident might have happened in '88 or '89...it is now 20 yrs later. He is 37, which meanshe did the crime at about 17 or less. The guys is married, has a kid, sounds like a job...and didn't seemed to be a well known BG.

    If he thought it was wrong, would he have been that stupid to point them right to the guns? Seems like he was trying to do the right things, the things they would tell us to do...the same things that could get almost anyone in trouble. I didn't notice any mention of the burglary; as always, would have been nice to have just a little more info. Seems like he is getting punished for doing something stupid as a dumb-ass teenager.

    Believe and support Jury Nullification.

    Gary


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    BigDave wrote:
    You know what they say, Ignorance of the Law is no excuse.

    He knew very well he was a convicted felon and at his age I am quite sure he was aware he could not buy or posses a firearms, but instead he tried to walk a thin line between right and wrong that put him where he was today.

    He made some very stupid choices and should have opted to the plea.

    No sympathy for felons is possession for firearms that have not had their rights reinstated.
    And yet, the 2nd amendment applies to convicted felons who are not in jail or prison. Words on paper do nothing to stop these guys. The laws need to change.

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    The point is, the jury never got to properly rule on the case...on his intent..did he know he wasn't suppose to be around firearms?. OK, probably or with that background, even an isolated incident, he should have known or checked...BUT, it is possible he thought it was only during his probation period. And that is the reasonable doubt, the lack of intent, to commit a crime.
    I'm sorry. I read the article twice and I keep missing the point that the jury never got a chance to properly rule.

    We have 12 people who came to a unanimous decision after three days of trial and their careful decision is being trashed by folks who read an article on it. Whatever.

    Believe and support Jury Nullification.
    I do. This jury didn't do it. Perhaps they had a reason.

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    And yet, the 2nd amendment applies to convicted felons who are not in jail or prison
    There is strong evidence that it does not apply, that they forfeited those rights.


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    olypendrew wrote:
    So what's the wife supposed to do? If she keeps the guns under lock and key so that her husband cannot exercise dominion or control over them, then she cannot exercise her right to defend herself in her home. Essentially, she has to sacrifice her rights because her husband cannot have guns.
    There are always choices. Do not own guns, beef up security on the home, with security system, bars on the doors and windows, pit bull chained in the yard, dobermans in the entry way,panic room upstairs, ex-con for protection (oopsshe already had that one).Biometric safe and put it where its easily attainable, gun with trigger lock and key always on person, do not marry ex-con, hire a good attorney, dont turn down a golden plea deal.

    Well at least nowwe allknow how to get rid of an ex-con spouse for a while.
    If you voted for Obama to prove you are not a racist...
    what will you do now to prove you are not stupid?

    "The American people will never knowingly adopt socialism. But, under the name of "liberalism," they will adopt every fragment of the socialist program, until one day America will be a socialist nation, without knowing how it happened." - Norman Thomas

    "They who can who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve niether liberty nor safety." - Ben Franklin

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    If a man may not be trusted with the most basic right to self defense, then why is that man out of jail and in society? If a man is free, a MAN IS FREE. This, "well you can have SOME freedom, but not all" is BS, plain and simple. And here it shows extremely well the hypocrisy and injustice of our "justice" system.....a man does his time, gets out and keeps his nose clean for 20 years.....does the right thing all the way and then gets tossed back in jail for it.

    And people wonder why so many turn to crime, when being a "good guy" just doesn't pay in our society....you'll just be screwed over anyways by the very system you swore to uphold and abide by.

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    And people wonder why so many turn to crime, when being a "good guy" just doesn't pay in our society....you'll just be screwed over anyways by the very system you swore to uphold and abide by.
    yes, there are some people who don't need much justification to turn to crime. I'm guessing that nearly 100% of the criminals have some form of justification.


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    swatspyder wrote:
    BigDave wrote:
    You know what they say, Ignorance of the Law is no excuse.

    He knew very well he was a convicted felon and at his age I am quite sure he was aware he could not buy or posses a firearms, but instead he tried to walk a thin line between right and wrong that put him where he was today.

    He made some very stupid choices and should have opted to the plea.

    No sympathy for felons is possession for firearms that have not had their rights reinstated.
    And yet, the 2nd amendment applies to convicted felons who are not in jail or prison. Words on paper do nothing to stop these guys. The laws need to change.
    Felons have lost their rights by their actions, take it or leave it.
    Does this mean you support the ones who slain the Officers in Washington Lately of having firearms? I would hope not, there are restrictions.

    This was brought on by him and him ignoring the laws, he could have had his right reinstated but choose not to do that as well.
    • Being prepared is to prepare, this is our responsibility.
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    • IANAL, all information I present is for your review, do your own homework.

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    I wonder if G. Gordon Liddy will be dumping his "wife's" firearms collection soon?

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    BigDave wrote:
    swatspyder wrote:
    BigDave wrote:
    You know what they say, Ignorance of the Law is no excuse.

    He knew very well he was a convicted felon and at his age I am quite sure he was aware he could not buy or posses a firearms, but instead he tried to walk a thin line between right and wrong that put him where he was today.

    He made some very stupid choices and should have opted to the plea.

    No sympathy for felons is possession for firearms that have not had their rights reinstated.
    And yet, the 2nd amendment applies to convicted felons who are not in jail or prison. Words on paper do nothing to stop these guys. The laws need to change.
    Felons have lost their rights by their actions, take it or leave it.
    Does this mean you support the ones who slain the Officers in Washington Lately of having firearms? I would hope not, there are restrictions.

    This was brought on by him and him ignoring the laws, he could have had his right reinstated but choose not to do that as well.
    I don't support those who slay these officers to ever get out of jail.

    He didn't know the law he was unsure. Plus they were not his guns and it is wrong for the government to deprive his wife of defending themselves. Or him in his own home for that matter.

    They do this yet vote for felons to have the right to vote on "racial issue".I guess this had nothing to do with the fact most felons don't vote conservative either?

    Another reason not to "cooperate" with police. Look where it got this guy.

    And that cocain analogy.....really?
    I am not anti Cop I am just pro Citizen.

    U.S. v. Minker, 350 US 179, at page 187
    "Because of what appears to be a lawful command on the surface, many citizens, because
    of their respect for what only appears to be a law, are cunningly coerced into waiving their
    rights, due to ignorance." (Paraphrased)

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