Shaneen Allen (courtesy philly.com)

“Following a review by state Attorney General, the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office on Wednesday announced that it would allow a Pennsylvania woman – charged last year with illegally bringing a legally registered gun into New Jersey – to enter into a pre-trial intervention program and avoid jail time,” philly.com reports. “Atlantic County Prosecutor Jim McClain said in a statement that in applying factors set out in the Attorney General’s review, he had ‘determined that the defendant in this case should be offered the opportunity to be admitted into the Atlantic County PTI program’ and that within the next few weeks his office would be reviewing similarly pending cases.” As Ralph pointed out. you can thank Ray (“pre-trail intervention”) Rice for the decision. [h/t RD]

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85 Responses to BREAKING: Shaneen Allen Avoids Jail for NJ Firearms Charge

    • The real reason, New Jersey’s illegal to have any firearm if you don’t live in the state and blah blah law would have been challenged and likely gotten tossed. NRA was going to fight for her. They would have won. And New Jersey just got a chance to keep their draconian gun laws in tact.

      • Going to trial is always a crapshoot. Better that she gets pretrial intervention and the opportunity to have the conviction erased from her record, than go to trial and run the risk of being convicted and sentenced to prison and hope against hope that an appellate court in a hoplophobic jurisdiction will actually find the law unconstitutional. (It would take years for the case to get to SCOTUS, with no guarantee that SCOTUS would even hear the case.)

        • Or what the composition of SCOTUS would be when it got there. Something we all need to keep in mind for the 2014 and 2016 elections.

      • You got that right Tommycat. NJ didn’t want their perverse laws being put into a PR campaign. Perhaps this is good news that the lawmakers in NJ are (perhaps, just perhaps) aware of just how out of line the firearms laws are in NJ.

  1. Really, really happy for this woman. Not just because she’s a gunowner, but more because she’s a single mother of two little children. Thank god for her and her children that this judge used some common sense humanity.

    • Don’t kid yourself. There was no humanity in the Judge’s heart. It was politics. Pure and simple. Had they not been shamed into changing their verdict this honest woman would be in jail.

      • Screw the judge. He just wants to save his job. I’ve had a judge here tell me that firearms are a priveladge I could lose at any moment. In court.

        • Any chance we could get a transcript of that particular public record?

          In the right hands, that could possibly be a career ender for that judge I’d imagine.

      • The judge in question is really not the problem. He has a pretty great track record of leniency toward similar offenses in the past. Giving probation rather than the 3 year required, etc. It’s the DA who’s the issue. Just saying.

        • £~€< the Judge, the DA, the LEO, and the State (and the people opting in at the voting booth).

        • Hate the people of New Jersey, for they ultimately are the ones to blame.

          “Despise the masses of people before despising the tyrant. The people are the reason the tyrant rose to power and stays in power.”

        • The judge is the problem. His track record means nothing if you were the one looking at having your life ruined for being honest. Especially while that #%*^ stick Rice is allowed to get away with attempted murder simply because he is connected.

        • The way that law is written, only the prosecutor can agree to pretrial intervention. The judge doesn’t have the authority to order pretrial intervention if the prosecutor won’t agree to it. Blame the prosecutor (and the cop who pulled Ms. Allen over for DWB and then arrested her when she disclosed she had a firearm), not the judge.

      • He is not a judge. It’s Atlantic City Prosecutor Jim McClain, the same guy who gave Ray Rice a pre-trial intervention for beating his fiancee unconscious.

        • Minimum mandatory cases are generally ineligible for diversion, which is why she wasn’t offered diversion in the first place.

      • They did it to avoid having their draconian gun laws challenged in court and probably bring found unconstitutional.

        Don’t confuse their decision for being “nice” or “right”, they still hate gun owners, they just don’t want THIS to be the test case.

        • Actually I’m sure they did it because of the bad publicity over the Ray Rice case. I’m sure the “AG review” was actually a phone call from Trenton saying “look, this looks really really really bad, letting off a guy who beat his woman unconscious while insisting on prison for this lady, and the Governor has higher aspirations, so, well, you know…”

    • “No conviction, so there should be no impact on her firearms rights.”

      Except that she (and everyone else) still can not exercise the right to “bear arms” in New Jersey.

    • That was my big question in all of this. I hope she can keep her PA permit, and get on with her life. She sure didn’t need all of this crap to deal with.

  2. A special thanks to Evan Nappen.

    There is more politics going on here than with the NFL. McLain was given a way to get his dumbass out of the political sling he put it in. Christie gets the situation defused before he looks incompetent again and the gun grabbers in general breath a big sigh of relief. After all the law was written to catch red necks and OFWG’s not hard working, independent, black, working mothers.

    America may be divided but at least I’m proud the side I am on is honest and forthright.

    For what it’s worth I am both red neck and OF&W.
    .

  3. Yaaaaay! This mother absolutely needed to be given PTI. There is no reason why she should have been made a felon (and lose her gun rights forever) just because she drove with a completely legal concealed handgun stoked with completely legal hollowpoints beyond an imaginary line on the freeway. Shaneen, we were praying for you!!

    • “Yaaaaay! This mother absolutely needed to be given PTI.”

      While PTI is a pretty good outcome, and not to look a gift horse in the mouth, she should have never been charged in the first place. Or prosecuted to the point of “needing” PTI. Or, this case could have been a good candidate for nullification (though risky, especially in NJ).

      The downside of PTI, and really, no qualms with her taking it and not wanting to go this route, is the bad NJ law still stands to trap someone else.

      Who knows, maybe someone up there will look at the situation and say “Hmmm, all these cases seem to go PTI, so what is this law doing? Maybe we should just repeal it and save the taxpayers some money and citizens some hassle.”

      Too much to ask?

  4. If they do take her rights away, hopefully she can use the money she’s raised to argue them back in court. I’ve heard stories of people with felony MURDER charges getting their RKBA back through the court system.

    • With PTI, that should not be necessary. There’s no actual prosecution and conviction with PTI, so it should not be a problem for her. That’s my understanding, anyway.

      • If PTI is the same in NJ as it is in SC, you are absolutely correct and the record of her arrest will be expunged allowing her to truthfully claim to have never been arrested when all is said and done.

  5. Shaneen Allen owes her freedom, first and foremost, to the gun rights community, who made her case a cause célèbre; then to Ray Rice, whose case showed how hypocritical the DA was being; and finally to her lawyer, who was savvy enough to work the right angle.

    I’m very happy for this Non-Demanding Mom for Gun Sense in America. And I can’t help but wonder what Shannon Twit was doing while Shaneen was slowly twisting in the wind.

    • Shannon was doing exactly what her master demanded – lying, cheating, deceiving, denigrating, obfuscating, bullying, etc. Shaneen Allen means nothing to her because she has no PR value for “the cause.”

      • You don’t think a good PR Hack could have found a way to spin it as “She’s a victim of misogynist gun culture that convinced her she needed a gun”?

    • + 100. This is a win, with wide ripples in the bigger sea nationally of political consciousness on gun-rights, than just a slap-down in the little pond of NJ insider corruption.

      Those new to TTAG should know Ralph is the resident legal beagle who is quite familiar with the politics of the DA discretion and politics of the courts in the NY and NJ area.

      Bravo Zulu to all 2A rights defenders who spoke up for Ms Allen,
      and lets just ask again:

      WHERE WAS MOMS DEMAND ACTION for JUSTICE FOR A POOR BLACK SINGLE MOM?
      Progtard gun-grabbers were using her as the example if you dare to leave the plantation…FAIL!!!.

      • “Those new to TTAG should know Ralph is the resident legal beagle who is quite familiar with the politics of the DA discretion and politics of the courts in the NY and NJ area.”

        Ralph is the most outspoken (and humorous), but most assuredly not the only “Legal Eagle” gracing TTAG. There have been many who have popped in for commentary on particular things they have had experience in.

        In particular I like hearing Mark N’s take on the prosecution side.

        And I for one am most grateful for their presence and wisdom.

    • Even my “Dimmycrat” wife was outraged at the legal tolerance of a woman knocked out, then dragged off an elevator, in contrast to persecuting a harmless administrative violation to “set an example”.

    • +1, and kudos to the gun rights community folks who donated to her legal defense fund, as well as Tom Gresham’s “Gun Talk” radio show listeners who helped with the billboard campaign that shamed the [expletive deleted] prosecutor.

  6. Good news. Although nobody wants to be in her position and nobody should face jail time for what she was arrested, it would be interesting to see how a case like this would play out in courts. I think the state would lose and the law would have to be changed. As it stands, the next careless guy or gal may not be so lucky.

    Hey Evan, how about donating the unused portion of her defense fund to the SAF? The 2A community gave generously.

  7. This Texas redneck girl sent some money to her defense fund. I couldn’t bear the thought of her going to prison. McClain had to be forced into doing the right thing. What an awful man, whose actions did make it seem he had it in for black women.

  8. The prosecutor was publicly humiliated with the disclosure that he was more lenient on a man who hit a woman with such force that she lost consciousness versus Ms Allen who harmed no one. If that footage of Rice was not made public, I have little doubt that he would have stayed his course and, barring jury nullification, Ms Allen would be heading to prison and a destroyed life. Laws like the one she was jammed up with have to go, I’m sure that plenty of otherwise good people have fallen victim to them.

  9. It made this OFWG & my beautiful black wife very happy. I know the poverty whores gave a rats a## about her.

  10. Ms Allen made a mistake. She will have to atone for it, but at least not unjustly abused by the DA.

    Another example why NJ citizens need to change some of the laws there… and start with the corrupt pols,
    like State Senator Loretta Weinberg, who has put how many NJ single moms at risk, for her role in crafting stupid gun-grabbing legislation that denies citizens their right to self defense. War on Women, indeed!

    http://www.guns.com/2014/05/07/nj-senate-leader-offers-to-rescind-smart-gun-law-if-nra-makes-concessions-video/

    • “Ms Allen made a mistake.”

      A good way to handle that mistake:

      Cop on the Side of the Road: “Ma’am, you’ve misunderstood our laws. Thanks for telling me you have a gun, now let’s see what you need to do to be ‘legal’ here. Next time, you’ll know.”

      Cheap, easy and effective.

  11. Reciprocity Now! She and others like her should never have been charged. You don’t have to have a drivers licence for every state you drive in just the state you live in.

    • Drivers license reciprocity isn’t federally mandated, though. It’s a voluntary compact among the states. True, the Beamer Resolution of 1958 PERMITTED states to form compacts like this, bu they weren’t mandated to form them or join them. Moreover, that compact was ostensibly created for the purpose of coordinating traffic safety initiatives, and that did happen, along with reciprocity of licenses. However, don’t kid yourself into thinking that the states had altruism in their hearts and the well being and convenience of out of state drivers on their minds.

      Nope. They had their mind on their money and their money on their mind. States didn’t want drivers with suspended licenses and unpaid fines just to scamper next door and get a license from another state. Same with insurers, who didn’t want your to escape your poor driving record in that state. So they created this compact which allows them all to share your driving information, making it more difficult for you to hide from your history.

      And do take note, just because your drivers license is recognized, you still must abide by the other state’s laws. Standards for auto liability insurance differ between states, for example. NJ and PA’s are identical, but neighboring DE, MD, NY and CT are all higher; some much, much higher than those two. You don’t get a reciprocity pass on out-of-state insurance just for having it. It must meet the current state’s requirements.

      As for concealed carry reciprocity, there is nothing that prevents states from implementing that multilaterally, bilaterally, or even unilaterally, tomorrow. Insofar as some don’t participate, they have their reasons. Just as with auto liability insurance, states have different standards. Criteria include age of eligibility and training requirements. Federally mandated reciprocity would deny states the right to select their own standards, which the Supreme Court has already ruled is within the states’ purview.

      Besides, federally mandated reciprocity really should require no more than a few sentences, a paragraph at most, of a bill. What do you want to bet that Congress would use the occasion of such a reciprocity bill to write a 500 page monstrosity packed with a whole lot of extra crap that actually restricts your freedom more than before? Sounds far fetched? With the 1986 FOPA, we supposedly got freedom of interstate transport of firearms. Some hardcore states still violate that law, so it’s marginally useful. Meanwhile, most people effectively got instantly locked out of the full auto market forever.

      It also supposedly banned a federal registry for non-NFA firearms. Yet, today we have the FBI’s NICS, which is essentially a database of gun owners, if not the specific guns. We also now have the ATF Firearms Tracing System, which consists of multiple databases tracking specific guns. Then there’s the Lautenberg Amendment, which has come back to bite a lot of people today, who had plead guilty in the distant past, when social mores were, shall we say, a bit different.

      Just know that writing your Congressman and petitioning for a bill can be a lot like dialing 911: very tempting, given the dire circumstances you think you find yourself in, but opens the door to potentially much worse outcomes than you ever anticipated.

      • I was wondering about fopa re-transporting of firearms in relation to this case.
        In general this confirms what I’ve told people before. It’s one thing to say that federal law says you can transport a firearm in other states; it’s another to say that to the LEO who pulls you over.
        Good for this lady. She got justice of a sort.

        • Well, FOPA would still require the transported firearm bei unloaded and locked in the trunk, or similar compartment unavailable to the occupant of the vehicle. NJ isn’t a firearms fair, let alone firearms friendly, place, but I don’t see FOPA specifically at play in her case.

  12. Even PTI is unjust, but God forbid the People’s Republic of New Jersey should admit their stupidity and just drop the charges, preferably with an apology, then correct the defective law.
    PTI is “rehabilitative”. This woman needs no “rehabilitation” — she did no harm to anyone. She broke an arbitrary, even unconstitutional and therefore illegal, restriction on her RKBA while in possession of documentary evidence of her qualification to exercise that right — her Pennsylvania CCW.
    I recall that the prologue to “Teahouse of the August Moon” includes the statement “Morality is a matter of geography”. It appear constitutionality is likewise subject to geographic redefinition.
    When George Washington crossed the Delaware River, it helped him to win the Revolution. When Shaneen Allen crossed the Delaware, she lost her constitutional RKBA.

  13. It is examples of injustice like this that will lead to a fracturing of the Republic and it’s restoration toward a more perfect Union.

  14. Laws like this are a rest of having a “reasonable discussion”. Thank God this woman avoided jail time, but shame on NJ for having such an unconstitutional law in the first place.

    F$#% that state. It’s an embarrassment to the country and those that think Christie is somehow immune to the corruption in that state are fooling themselves.

  15. Good that she avoids jail. Bad that she was so recklessly ignorant of the basic, prominent laws in her immediate area; including the notorious, nearby neighboring state. Let it also be a teachable moment for others, those who spend Election Day whistling past the graveyard, that elections have consequences.

    Maybe now observers of this firearms freedom infringement will concentrate on candidates’ philosophies, judgment, and fitness for office, rather than just voting by skin color and party affiliation. Or not.

  16. I don’t understand why in the H*ll she needs to be rehabilitated though. What are they going to make her do? Write on a blackboard 1000 times that she will memorize their laws before bringing a weapon there? Or that she won’t be honest with a policeman when and if she gets pulled over again? It is great that she is getting off without jail time or a criminal record. But I fail to see why she needs to be rehabilitated?

  17. Still would like to see gun owners hold a protest in front of the home of the NJ state trooper who arrested Allen. He could have used discretion given that she had no criminal intent. I think this trooper needs to be embarrassed in front of his neighbors. That is if the First Amendment still applies in New Jersey.

  18. Yeah the NJ law is wrong, and good for Shaneen to get the PTI and avoid bs mandatory sentencing, but the bottom line is she broke the law. AFAIK carry reciprocity is covered in every ccw class I have ever heard of and it’s not like it takes more than an IQ of 70 to understand the content. If she is ignorant of something so basic I wonder what else she is ignorant of?

  19. I suspect that the reason the prosecutor allowed the woman beater off with Pre Trial intervention while at the same time disallowing this woman the same opportunity maybe because the prosecutor is a misogynist since nothing else explains why he treated the fiancé beater better than the single mother.

  20. I’ve taken a couple classes on Constitutional Law, and while I am no expert, I learned enough to know that in order for anything to change in court, someone somewhere may have to put there freedom and liberty on the line to be the test case. And it’s hard to find a good test case for anything because character flaws are usually easy to find. Just look at George Zimmerman. Shaneen was a woman that the entire gun community was behind, and with the NRA’s legal support I think she could have proven to win back rights for folks in NJ and set a precident to dismantle more draconian gun laws across the country.

    As it is, Shaneen seems like a nice lady and good for her that she didnt have to battle it out in court to keep her rights that should have never been denied in the first place. But someone is going to have to do it eventually, and it may be a while before we see someone fitting enough to carry that torch for us. I for one am not going anywhere near NJ so it’s not going to be me.

    • “it may be a while before we see someone fitting enough to carry that torch for us.”

      That’s very, very unlikely.

      Check out MIranda for a good example.

      Much of the time, these larger Constitutional questions come piggy-backed on other, less “attractive” cases. The defendants are often not “poster children.”

      If we wait for perfection, the perfect defendant, we’ll NEVER win. This is one of the reasons why I deplore the finger-pointing and name-calling our side is so quick to rush to in cases where the subject of a given case is not “ideal.”

      We don’t have a choice who our “test case” will be. I don’t see many of the “he’s a nutjob attention whore” finger pointers jumping to get themselves arrested to be the test case, either.

  21. and now nj wants bail reform and give judges ability to lock you up before trial. well in this case, the lady would still be in jail before even being convicted even though nj gun law is unconstitutional. this judge would have locked her up and then dragged out her case until she plea bargained. the judge would have used jail to make her plead out so she could get back to her kids. she would have lost her job, her house, everything, while being pilaged and plundered by her lawyer. nj public question #1 this november – vote no. never give human political judges the power to lock you up before trial. never ever compromise your constitutional rights. do not let them your right to bail. vote no – public question number 1 – vote no.

  22. thous shalt not infringe. the lady should decline to plea out. the nj gun law is unconstiitutional. there is not a chance in hell that she would go to prison. if she wants to fight this, their are quite a few lawyers that know how to get this to supreme court and win. she needs to get rid of her current lawyer and get one these other guys. plus it won’t cost her a dime.

    • Easy to say.

      Why don’t you put your money/life where your mouth is and go get arrested for illegal carry in NJ. Then you can find one of those lawyers that is guaranteed to “take it to the Supreme Court and win.”

  23. The last thing they need is a case that goes to the SCOTUS and this could have gone there. Coupled with the election cycle and her being a black woman meant upsetting the core democratic base a bit by locking her up.

    If circumstances were different they would have prosecuted. Done it before.

  24. So, the lesson here is…

    Push back with threat of vigorous, thorough legal defense through all available channels. (Oh, that’s the law. Let’s get that changed!), Plus an accompanying media / issues campaign & PR exercise to make it an issue for every official involved, elected, or appointed with “approval”.

    Make them own it, every night on the news, for as long as it takes to exhaust every legal avenue. Feed the media every night with “working single mother of two, who got a gun to protect her children in the high-crime area that is the best she can afford…”

  25. I suppose that PTI is appropriate when your ‘high crime’ is not any type of crime next door. Better to correct the insanity and fix the laws.

  26. I want to hear someone has given this brave lady a job that she can have enough money to raise her two little ones and pay off her attorney fees. Let’s see that she goes forward with living a positive life and just thank God that the state of New Jersey forced this DA to back down.

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