“. . . the defendant used violence or threats of violence or possessed a firearm, rifle, shotgun, machine gun or a weapon described in paragraph (b) of section 10 of chapter 269, or induced another participant to do so, during the commission of the offense.” And there you have it: the November 2010 amendment to Massachusetts’ pre-trial detention statutes that allows the State to detain anyone accused of violating Bay State gun laws for 90 days. It’s now a prima facie case: if you’ve got an illegal gun, you’re a danger to society and you ain’t got bail . . .
TTAG highlighted this unconstitutional affront to due process back in September. southcoasttoday.com reports that one Terrence Gales narrowly escaped spending three pre-trial months with Bubba after State cops nabbed him for driving with a suspended licence and found a .380 pistol in his car.
A Superior Court judge overturned Gale’s 90-day detention ruling, pointing out that Gales had no history of violence whatsoever. Local pols were so pissed off they called a press conference . . .
“When a decision is this wrong and this antithetical to what everybody in front of you today has done to fight gun violence … it is incumbent upon me to speak out,” said [second term Bristol County DA Samuel] Sutter, who was accompanied by New Bedford Police Chief Ronald E. Teachman and Mayor Scott W. Lang . . .
“This was not a situation of someone who was caught with a ball-peen hammer,” said Lang, who agreed with Sutter that Superior Court Judge Gary Nickerson was wrong to overturn a District Court judge’s order that Terrence Gales, 21, be held without bail for 90 days . . .
“That is a dangerous situation, inherently, in my view,” said Sutter, who added that gun violence constitutes a “reality that needs to be responded to.”
“This decision by the Superior Court judge is completely out of step with what is taking place in the cities of Bristol County,” said Sutter, adding that he hoped his public comments would “have an impact.”
“I hope the judges are listening,” he said.
That’s how you play politics in Massachusetts: threats, intimidation and wanton disregard for constitutional rights. Grandstanding in the name of political ambition. Just to be clear . . .
Gales said he carried the weapon for protection because his cousin, Cecil M. Lopes III, was killed in a drive-by shooting six years ago in New Bedford.
[Judge] Nickerson found that prosecutors did not prove Gales — who is not gang-affiliated and has no history of violence other than three arrests for disturbing the peace, which were dismissed — posed an immediate threat to the community.
Nickerson set a cash bail of $1,500.
It’s only a matter of time before Massachusetts’ anti-gun zealots detain and then incarcerate someone without any criminal history for possessing an illegal firearm. Massachusetts gun rights activists are challenging the constitutionality of the Bay State’s gun laws and this latest indignity to its citizens’ right to due process. After all, American have the right to bear arms. And if a suspected felon is a danger to the community, the Judge can set prohibitively high bail.