In a case that has drawn national attention, a
In January 2009, Brian Aitken had recently returned to
Despite his care, Aitken was arrested and prosecuted under
Unfortunately for Aitken—who refused to accept a plea bargain because he believed he had done nothing wrong—the judge in the case refused to instruct the jury about the exceptions, despite repeated requests from Aitken’s attorney and even from the jury itself. Lacking that information, the jury convicted Aitken and he received a harsh prison sentence.
Aitken’s attorney, Evan Nappen, called the case a “perfect storm of injustice.” (The NRA Civil Rights Defense Fund supported Aitken’s defense at trial.) At press time, Aitken is serving his sentence while his appeal is pending. He is also seeking a pardon or commuted sentence from Gov. Chris Christie. In a letter to the governor supporting Aiken’s clemency request, pro-gun Assemblyman Michael Patrick Carroll rightly noted that even if Aitken had committed “wholly technical violations [of] wholly problematic laws,” “not every violation of the law warrants an indictment, let alone incarceration.”
We can only hope this case will wake up more