Report: Cleveland gun arrest doesn’t always mean jail time
WJW (Fox Cleveland) is reporting on an investigation which has found that "getting busted with a gun often does not mean you will get locked up for punishment," but instead that "many convicts facing gun charges get probation."
From the article:
The I-TEAM reviewed 90 cases in Cuyahoga County from 2014. We specifically looked at cases with the most serious charge being for a concealed weapon or having a weapon as a felon or improper handling of a gun. We did not look at cases involving a gun used to rob or shoot someone.
In the cases we checked, about half of those facing charges got probation. Only about a third got locked up, and some only got time served for a few days spent in jail while under investigation.
The I-TEAM also found some of the people getting probation for gun charges have been busted for trouble on your streets before. Or, others ended up wanted by authorities after getting probation for a gun.
The Cleveland Police Union President says officers get frustrated. Loomis said, “Yeah, we got a gun off the street…but is that the only goal here? They can easily go get another one.”
In late 2007 and early 2008, Buckeye Firearms Association published a two-part series entitled "The truth about Cleveland’s 'Assault Weapon Ban', " in which we reported that public records requests revealed that in all of 2006 there was not one single person charged with a violation of Cleveland's assault weapons ban. That's right, not even one.
Our investigation also found that, in 2007, only one person was prosecuted for a violation of Cleveland's bans. But the case never made it to trial because the Grand Jury returned a "no bill," meaning they couldn't even find enough evidence of a crime for the case to move forward to a trial.
So not only did the City of Cleveland not convict a single person under their so-called assault weapons ban in 2006 or 2007; they never even took one case to trial!
In Part II of that series, we reported on the case of Edward Lesure, which involved a perp committing gun crimes while under several felony disabilities. Despite having pending felony charges, he was charged instead by the City of Cleveland with misdemeanors, nearly all of which were eventually dismissed. You read that right - not only did the city not pursue the sitting duck felony charges for firearm under disability, they dismissed most all the misdemeanor charges from Lesure's assault case. Lesure wound up pleading to only a resisting arrest charge. No domestic violence, no assault, no aggravated menacing, no violation of the Cleveland assault weapons ban, no violation of the safe storage law - all of which the circumstances of his case suggest he could have been prosecuted for.
We conducted our investigation after months of calling on Cleveland-area media to ask these questions themselves. When we were done, we provided them with the facts, which they never bothered to published, perhaps because it weakened the case being made by Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson that passage of a bill enacting statewide preemption of local gun control laws would tie his hands.
We're glad Cleveland's Fox 8 "I-Team" is finally getting around to report on this ongoing problem...even if it IS seven years late.
Chad D. Baus is the Buckeye Firearms Association Secretary, BFA PAC Vice Chairman, and an NRA-certified firearms instructor. He is the editor of BuckeyeFirearms.org, which received the Outdoor Writers of Ohio 2013 Supporting Member Award for Best Website.