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Judge Michael A. Greenlick (courtesy

In Oregon, Jared Padgett [not shown] stole his brother’s rifle, ammunition, magazines and a bag to carry them in. The teenager entered a Reynolds High school locker room and fatally shot fellow student Emilio Hoffman. Padgett then shot and wounded a teacher. Jared’s brother Lucas asked the police to return the rifle and accessories, valued at over $2,000. But even though there will be no trial (Jared Padgett committed suicide in a bathroom stall), the city administration refused, citing a vague “evidence” requirements . . .


Court documents show that Lucas Padgett is asking the following items be returned:

  • 1 Daniel Defense armament DDM4 carbine rifle (a variation on the well-known AR-15)

  • 8 30-round Magpul magazines

  • Several hundred rounds of ammunition

  • 1 “plate carrier” bulletproof vest

  • 1 U.S. Army-issued laundry bag

The family took their claim to court; a major expense that exceeded the value of the rifle. Lucas Pagett appears to be taking a principled position that the rifle is his property. He had not committed a crime. The government has no right to keep his property without any due process.

From the

In the papers he says the items are ‘no longer needed for evidentiary purposes’ by police, and that he has ‘never been charged with any offense connected’ with the weapon.

Judge Michael Greenlick [above] ordered the city to return the rifle and accessories to the owner. He’s given them 45 days to file an appeal.

The thought of the weapons that … were used to commit that horrific crime going back into the community is objectionable, in sort of a general moral outrage sense. For sure, I get that,” the judge said. “But unless there is a law prohibiting it, then the law as I read it requires that the property be returned.

We salute Judge Greenlock for resisting the emotional demands of civilian disarmers and the media to destroy the valuable property. To do so would be a return to the superstition of the Middle Ages, where it was held that inanimate objects could be judged responsible for illegal acts. This was known as deodand law. But even Medieval deodand law did not call for the destruction of the instrument, rather its confiscation by the state to be used for godly purposes.

Modern proponents of the deodand theory don’t want confiscated firearms sold, the proceeds used to somehow better society. Rather, they want them destroyed as political theater demonstrating that firearms themselves are “evil” and destruction of them is a pious act in the Church of Progressive Causes.

These are purely emotional responses, contrary to what is ordinarily done with other legal property involved in crimes. As a society, we don’t require that vehicles involved in fatal traffic accidents be destroyed as an offering to the gods of political correctness. We don’t require that homes in which a murder has occurred by bulldozed to appease the Church of Progressivism. But somehow it’s a logical next step to require the destruction of a gun that had been used in a murder.

Property is an extension of a person’s life. People expend their time and energy to legally acquire property. Property is required in order to live. Property is required in order to exercise and take advantage of the protections of the First, Second, Third, Fourth, and Fifth, Sixth, Seventh,  Eighth, and by extension, Tenth amendments to the Constitution. Without property rights, the other rights are rendered moot.

Judge Michael Greenlick did the right thing. He’s TTAG’s Gun Hero of the Day.

©2015 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

Gun Watch

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  1. Oh, he’ll get his rifle back. Rusted barrel, broken handguard and crushed mags. Oh, and corroded ammo too. And the laundry bag? It will have holes in it, because FYTW.

  2. Well, he’s a reluctant hero. If he could get his hands on any law that comports with his moral outrage and afforded him any discretion to indulge his superstitions, then he would.

    He’d contort the law as much as necessary. What he’s done here is resisted the urge to create the law as much as necessary. I guess that’s what passes for a principled judge these days, so I’ll take it.

    Let’s hope the City sees the light, emerges from the Dark Ages, and returns this stolen property to uts rightful owner without appeal and further delays.

  3. How did the brother steal the rifle and accessories? Was it properly secured when not in the owners possession? Where is that part of the story?

      • It should matter here, if not legally. Every time someone fails to secure their firearm from someone who uses it to murder it should be a warning to everyone to, you know, try not to be part of the problem.

        • It was in a locked case. The police investigated and said there was no grounds for prosecution.

          Gun owners should not be prosecuted for having a gun in an unlocked case any more than car owners should be prosecuted for leaving car keys in a desk drawer or on a kitchen counter. If their car is stolen and used in a crime.

          We should not blame one of the victims.

        • “…every time someone fails to secure their firearm from someone who uses it to murder…” Are you with Bloomberg’s anti-gun group? Who says guns should be “secured?” How ’bout we keep them disassembled and unloaded? Maybe keep the parts at the local Sherrif’s office where we can sign them out when we need them? Sure hope you don’t keep any loaded guns around your house. You know, so you’re not part of “the problem?”

        • Bunk. If, for some reason, there was cause for the thief/killer to believe that gun belonged to him, you’d be correct. Given that is not the case, the blame for the theft belongs with the thief, every time, not with the lawful owner. Don’t be ridiculous.

        • He could of had it inside a $5000 gun safe inside a locked vault with cameras, iris scanners and a straight to the cops silent alarm. Wouldn’t of mattered, it was his brother and even if he wasn’t trusted (maybe the case here) he could of found out the combinations and stole a key over the course of a week. Only difference in result would be his brother dead or missing an eye.

          I do secure all but the one I intend to use if someone passes the threshold uninvited. To secure that one in a safe in a panic I may as well wait for the cops to show up, I could lay down and take a nap while I wait, maybe forever.

    • Since the brother was not charged, there is no story there. This is simply the story of return of stolen property to its rightful owner.

      • Kind of hard to charge anyone, as the shooter killed himself. This will get appealed up to a much more liberal OR supreme court which will most likely defer to the local prosecutor and their ability to charge the brother for allowing access to the weapon. Not an expert on this particular crime, but the kid who took the gun and shot his classmate was aware of where Lucas Padgett kept the keys to the gun locker.

        Not taking a side here, but being an Oregonian I am fairly confident this family is pushing a rope trying to get their rifle back. Worse case scenario they charge Lucas for allowing a minor access to the weapon thereby causing him a whole lot more legal fees. I haven’t seen anything in the news regarding a civil suit, but I would guess that could be coming their way as well.

    • Why does anyone have to lock up any of their property (kitchen knives, gas cans, vehicles, nail guns, crowbars, baseball bats, etc) because someone illegally stole their property and then proceeded to illegally kill someone with whatever property they stole. The action with dire consequences should be the act of hurting or killing other people – Not locking up your stuff. Stealing and killing are already illegal. It is not fair or right to make everybody arbitrarily locking up certain things because someone “might” illegally steal from them and then illegally use those stolen goods to hurt or kill others.

      Consequences should be applied to the perpetrator. Not the victim. Regardless of popular liberal anti-freedom ideals – owning property not in a safe isn’t “enabling” anything. Those people are just ignorant, intolerant, anti-gun, and care only about what they perceive is best for themselves and vote likewise. They don’t want freedom – they want what they like, applied to everyone else.

    • The rifle was locked up, but the younger brother knew where the keys were at. The DA in the county tried their darnedest to press charges against the older brother (they even had a recently passed ‘safe storage’ law to combat just this sort of thing…. or so they claimed). There was a lot of political pressure as well to nail him. But in the end, no charges were filed as there was no evidence to proceed.

    • People who steal things are criminals. People who have their property stolen are victims. Do you understand this, or do I have to beat it into you?

    • It was properly secured and locked but those were defeated by his brother. Unless you keep them in floor safes that are always locked and bolted to the floor someone can defeat most standard trigger locks or cable locks.

    • A Sumatran Tiger named Oz (he’s in a zoo in New Zealand) tasted man flesh yesterday. Well, actually it was female flesh. He killed his zookeeper.

      Fortunately for Oz, he’s not going to be put down.

      • Interesting double standard, no? A wild animal is expected to act thusly. A pit bull or Rottweiler would be euthanized. A very progressive liberal stance; inner city animals are given room to destroy, and violent offenders put back out on the street.

        • A lot of counties have a two-bite rule. That way you can tell if it was the human or the animal being an ***hole. (Exceptions made for one dog attacking multiple people in one sitting)

          I’d imagine the tigers’ draw was worth more to the zoo than insurance premiums and that draw kept people employed and taxes paid. The dog is only valuable to its owner or family, can make a difference to a Judge (if they are of the elected type anyway)

    • I own a 1942 Winchester built M1 Garand. The stock has stippling on the right side of the buttstock where a G.I. rapped the points of his enblock clip against the stock to even them up before loading them in the rifle. The barrel was replaced in 1953. I’m fairly certain it has tasted blood. It’s genuine weapon of war.

      That said, it has shown no inclination to murder me on my sleep or go on a rampage.

  4. The kid brother stole the rifle and gear from the older brother. Kid brother tried to shoot up school, but was stopped by a goodguy with a gun in about 60 seconds (armed resource officer). Older brother now want’s his stuff back.

  5. We still have deodand law — it’s called “asset forfeiture” now. If the taint of illicit commerce (e.g. drugs or “structured deposits”) attaches to any of your property, it is automagically forfeited to the state to be used for the state’s own pious purposes.

    • Which SHOULD be illegal, yet somehow the Supreme Court found wiggle room in “May not be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law.”

      It’s the same wiggle room they somehow found in “Shall not be infringed.”

  6. They’ll probably return the rifle sans upper. Court said to return the “rifle”. The lower is technically the rifle.

  7. The city of Portland has learned to take good care of property held as/in evidence, possibly the hard way, and that includes firearms. Several of mine were seized as possible evidence, and all it took once their usefulness as evidence was over was a single letter from an attorney to get them released. I had to make an appointment to meet an evidence officer, and go through some rigamarole of swearing that they were indeed mine, yadda yadda yadda. But at the end I was asked to verify that they were in the same condition as I recalled before they were seized, and there was a form for noting any discrepancies. When I noted that they were not as clean as when seized (from external observation), the evidence officer disappeared and returned with a spray can of cleaning oil and several clean shop towels.

    Apparently Troutdale is being snotty and trying to change the way things are done in the urban area. The judge at least knows how it should be done. Hopefully, he’ll order the bureaucrat to pay the brother’s court costs… or at least the city.

  8. The city should pay legal expenses that THEY caused for violating due process and the “Bill of Rights”.
    Definitely a violation of the 2nd. I wonder if Hillary would be on the same page as this crap? No double standards put DC politicians on Obamacare and SS
    Thanks for your support and vote.Pass the word.

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