In a well-publicized Florida case, former Marine, John Rogers, shot and killed a drinking buddy, James DeWitt in 2012. Rogers claimed he’d been attacked after he asked the man to leave. According to testimony, DeWitt charged him, giving Rogers no choice but to fire. The case gained notoriety because Rogers, who spend 22 months in jail awaiting trial, is legally blind. Then, half way through the trial, the judge dismissed the charges, ruling that Rogers was innocent under Florida’s stand your ground law . . .
Evidence showed that the dead man was shot from a distance of 18 inches, supporting Rogers account and casting doubt on the claim of DeWitt’s girlfriend, Christina Robertson, that the shooting had been unprovoked.
Friday, nearly two years after the shooting, Judge John Galluzzo reluctantly returned John Rogers’ guns. He said that he was forced to do so, because it was the law. From wesh.com:
“I have to return property that was taken under the circumstance,” Galluzzo said. “I have researched and haven’t found case law to say otherwise.”
Then, in what can only be described as a fit of petulance, Judge Galluzzo ordered all of John Rogers’ ammunition be destroyed.
Galluzzo did order that all ammunition to be destroyed. [sic] He said it was too old and dangerous.
The judge might not agree with what the law called for. It seems likely that John Rogers tends to be violent when drunk, and he seems to get drunk fairly often. But he has never crossed the law far enough to be convicted of an offense that would disqualify him from owning guns. We are a nation that is supposed to be ruled by laws, rather than men.
The destruction of the ammunition falls under the latter category. Judge Galluzzo, clearly piqued at his inability to deny John Rogers his firearms, made the unsupported claim that the ammunition was “old and dangerous”. There’s no justification in the law for destruction of such property, or any legal support for Judge Galluzzo’s actions. After spending nearly two years in jail on a now dismissed charged, it’s unlikely that John Rogers has the stomach for a legal contest with a judge over a few rounds of ammunition. The ruling appears spiteful, made simply because the judge knows he can get away with it.
The judge’s actions, in my opinion, show that he is unfit for the bench. This sort of emotional fit, under the color of law, should never be seen in court. Unfortunately, it’s seen all too often.
©2014 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.