It’s the Criminals, Stupid - Man is dead after City of Cleveland fails to get violent felon off the streets

by Ken Hanson, Esq.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer is once again reporting on gun violence in Cleveland, and once again dedicating the majority of the ink to "getting the guns off the streets" and "prevention programs."

In what I am sure is an unintended omission, this article makes reference to seven people shot in a 10 day span beginning July 26, 2011. Had The Plain Dealer extended their examination back to July 11, 2011, perhaps The Plain Dealer might have come across the solution to the problem: get the criminals off the streets.

Prison is a prevention program that is much more effective than "out-reach" programs and "gun buy-back" programs.

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Edward Lesure III

As reported July 29, 2011, by The Plain Dealer, Edward Lesure III was indicted for murdering Joseph Carter. Within this story, PD Columnist Michael Sangiacomo notes in passing that Edward Lesure III "was sentenced to six months in prison in October 2008, for a probation violation imposed after he pleaded guilty to theft in July 2007." Unfortunately, Sangiacomo only scratches the surface of Mr. Lesure's past, as readers of this website are aware.

As we previously reported, Mr. Lesure was one of a total of THREE people arrested for violating Cleveland's assault weapon ban, as identified through public records requests made by Buckeye Firearms to the City of Cleveland. I will not rehash the entirety of the prior article, but please take a moment to read our prior article to gain some background.

On February 7, 2007, when Mr. Lesure was arrested for possession of an "assault weapon," he was under firearm disability for having a protection order issued against him, plus having pending felony charges. In addition, although we did not report this in the main story, Mr. Lesure was also under firearm disability at that time because of a September 12, 2002 conviction for drug abuse in Cleveland Municipal Court Case # 2002-CRB-036952.

So not only did Cleveland not pursue Mr. Lesure for violating their assault weapon ban, they also did not pursue him for possessing firearms under disability, R.C. 2923.13, a felony of the third degree punishable by up to 5 years in prison. Had Cleveland done so, and stuck to the charges, given Mr. Lesure's prior record, he likely would have been sentenced to 4-5 years in prison, meaning he would have been unavailable to kill Mr. Carter on July 29, 2011.

Even beyond failing to pursue firearm charges against Mr. Lesure, the "kid glove" treatment afforded to him by the Cleveland court system is just inexcusable. As we noted in our prior coverage, Mr. Lesure was arrested and charged with violating a protection order in Cleveland Municipal Court case # 2007-CRB-003674. (Please put down any sharp objects or drinks at this point.) Mr. Lesure, of course, failed to appear for court on these charges, and had to be arrested to be brought before court (this at the same time he had failed to appear on his felony charges, also pending at this time.) On March 26, 2007, Mr. Lesure was sentenced to 90 days in jail, 62 days suspended, 28 days credit for time served after they had to arrest him. That’s right, no additional jail. The court did, however, order the firearm he possessed while under disability forfeited.


Even more inexcusable is the treatment received in the pending felony case, 06-CR-487441A. In THIS case, the prosecution, for unknown reasons, dismissed the Aggravated Theft charges, a third degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison. Instead, the prosecution proceeded with ordinary theft charges, a fifth degree felony punishable by up to 12 months in prison. On July 16, 2007, Judge KENNETH R CALLAHAN found "THAT A COMMUNITY CONTROL SANCTION WILL ADEQUATELY PROTECT THE PUBLIC" and sentenced serial offender/ absconder Lesure to nine months of community control (probation.)

On December 27, 2007, Mr. Lesure was back in court for probation violations. Probation was extended.

On May 13, 2008, Mr. Lesure was back in court for probation violations. Probation was extended.

On November 5, 2008 Mr. Lesure was back in court for probation violations. Probation was revoked and he was sentenced to the statutory minimum of 6 months, with credit for any jail time already served as a result of his multiple warrant arrests over the years. He was also ordered to serve three years of post release control (probation) after his release to insure repayment of restitution and court costs. On March 19, 2009 Mr. Lesure paid $5.07 and on April 16, 2009 he paid $5.02. While this is pure speculation, those payments are indicative of prisoners paying towards court costs from the small salary paid to prisoners for working prison industry jobs. Since these payments, no payments have been posted.

So, in summary, a person who has violated probation numerous times and had numerous warrants issued since 1999, who was under three different firearm disabilities and caught red-handed in a violent confrontation involving a firearm and person "protected" by a protection order, who was charged with one F3 and could have been charged with another F3, either of which would have kept him off the streets past 2011, who is in the middle of three years of community control on July 11, 2011, is free and able to kill Mr. Carter on that same day.


Ken Hanson is a gun rights attorney in Ohio. He serves as the Legislative Chair for Buckeye Firearms Association, and is the attorney of record for Buckeye Firearms Foundation, which filed friend-of-the-court briefs in the Heller and McDonald Supreme Court cases. The National Rifle Association's Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) has awarded him with its 2008 Defender of Justice Award and 2009 Jay M. Littlefield Volunteer of the Year Award. He is the author of The Ohio Guide to Firearm Laws, a certified firearms instructor and holds a Type 01 Federal Firearms License.

Related Articles:
The truth about Cleveland's "Assault Weapon Ban" - Part I

The truth about Cleveland's "Assault Weapon Ban" - Part II

Buckeye Firearms Foundation sues Cleveland to stop enforcement of unconstitutional gun laws

Court Orders Cleveland to Stop Enforcing Local Gun Control

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