Red Flag Law Abuse: Lawsuit Plaintiff Files Dubious Red Flag Action Against New Jersey Man

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Red Flag laws, or so-called “extreme risk protection orders” strip gun owners of their gun rights without any due process to confront their accusers. And just like traditional “orders of protection,” abuse runs rampant as people use them as bargaining chips in personal disputes and legal battles.

That’s exactly what appears to have happened in New Jersey where a doctor sued a former patient for leaving negative reviews of the doc’s medical practice. In the latest move in the ongoing battle, the doc’s attorney claims that he felt threatened by the doctor’s former patient.

From the Asbury Park Press:

A Shore-area lawyer and surgeon are asking a judge to keep guns out of the hands of a former patient in a test of New Jersey’s new “red flag” law.

James Maggs, a Wall-based attorney for Dr. Matthew Kaufman and The Plastic Surgery Center in Shrewsbury, told state Superior Court Judge Paul X. Escandon Thursday that he received an increasingly agitated phone call from Alfred Conti, telling him he knew where they lived.

“It started out the first few seconds a normal call then quickly he became agitated,” Maggs said. “His overall demeanor I felt became threatening and I became alarmed.”

So, what exactly did Mr. Conti say that so alarmed the doctor’s attorney? Did he threaten violence? Did Mr. Conti threaten to murder the lawyer and the doctor who Conti says botched his neck surgery?  Did Conti threaten to get his six-shooter and ventilate the lawyer?

Not even close.

Maggs recorded the second call, which was played in court Thursday. In it, Conti used expletives and threatened to bring the police and media with him to force Kaufman (the doctor) to see him. He also said he knew where Maggs and Kaufman lived.

Maggs said he was worried; he had seen posts from Conti’s Facebook page that included references to guns.

Conti used expletives and threatened to bring the police and the media? And Conti claimed he knew where the attorney and the doctor lived. Yeah, so?

Maggs ran to the court that because Conti’s Facebook page had references to guns. Somehow because of that, Maggs claimed, Conti posed an imminent danger to attorney Maggs, Dr. Kaufman and their families. Really.

Conti’s lawyer asked Maggs about threats of violence.

Jason Seidman, Conti’s lawyer, asked Maggs if his client directly told him he was going to inflict violence.

Maggs said no. But after Conti mentioned he knew where he and Kaufman lived, “that, to me, was something that made me very alarmed,” Maggs said.

Obviously, it requires a willing suspension of disbelief to take Maggs’ filing as anything but a vexatious complaint.

Here in Illinois, we hold Guns Save Life meetings in seven regions across the state. We have all manner of political candidates and office-holders come through to press the flesh with gun owners and seek their support. Among those are judicial candidates.

One downstate family law judge described how one third to one half of the protective order petitions he sees are without merit. He went on to say that abuse of the protective order process is almost de rigueur in family law cases as one side or the other (or sometimes both) try to use them as weapons to gain the upper hand in custody and property aspects of divorces.

A Cook County judge at a Chicagoland GSL meeting indicated much the same.  He described about a third of emergency petitions as utterly without merit, maybe a third completely appropriate.

It is that last third where he said he had to rely on his gut tempered with past experience to try to make the right call. But he admitted that he often will issue the emergency order out of an abundance of caution.

The jurist noted that things usually get straightened out at the formal hearing about ten days later. However, he noted, there is that period of time when the respondent is without his or her guns, access to the marital residence or even communication with minor children.

Only blithering fools or gun-hating ideologues will assert that these “red flag” orders will not be abused by morally and ethically challenged individuals and opportunistic attorneys – just like the traditional orders have been.

This case in New Jersey proves exactly that.

comments

  1. avatar Kyle says:

    As has been said by many more eloquent than I,

    Red flag orders will get people killed. Police are going to go to enforce these things, and people are going to die. These are a really really bad idea.

    The fact that someone marginally unstable should, perhaps, not have guns will not change the fact that showing up with swat gear to take them is only going to likely take the “marginally unstable” and turn them into the “completely unstable” is secondary to the other fact.

    Its unconstitutional to strip someone of their rights because you dont like the right in the first place.

    1. avatar FunGunner says:

      There was a story I remember reading about a couple years back. Wish I could find it now.

      A woman was murdered in her home by her estranged abusive husband or ex after he contacted police and claimed she had threatened to kill him. Cops took her guns, just like he hoped. He showed up at her home a day or two after and stabbed her to death.

      Anyone remember where/when this happened?

    2. avatar Garrison Hall says:

      But if we can just save one life shouldn’t a little inconvenience be worth it? Afterall, we should think of the children! //sarc//

    3. avatar Fred Guercio says:

      Kyle…. you did very well, thank you

      Police Shooting of Citizens up 5X in the past 6 years for the USA, per FBI Crime Stats.
      The total USA police killings of citizens has gone from 333 yearly to 1612.
      CA had almost half the yearly number, CA has every gun law & ban, EXP Background Ck & RedFlag Law passed one of the first in the USA. No crime reductions success in CA! Liberals states have more police homicides than conservative states. Sanctuary states and cities have much higher homicide & crime rates also.

      The 9 liberal states with all the gun controls account for 50% of all USA crime. Same can be said for the boarder states of TX, NM, AZ, CA, they also account for about 50% of USA crime.

      The 2011 FBI Crime Table 1, show crime down for 20 years, 1992 to 2011, all 10 categories of crime, every year for 20 years. Current levels of crime would need to increase 200-300% in all categories to reach the 1992 levels. This is due to the conservative states with CASTLE Law, Conceal & Carry, and reasonable gun laws… these states saw their crime levels drop 60-70-80% in just a few years.
      WOW and no media coverage!
      True for the past 27 years if the Police Shooting INCREASE taken out.

      WE do not need nor want the RedFlag laws and bills…. protect the 2nd Amendment.

      Great Article…. thank you!
      Fred,
      National 2nd Amendment Advocate

  2. avatar Hydguy says:

    These BS red flag ‘laws’ have already resulted in death.
    They, just like ‘no knock’ raids are abused and the, become the default tool of use to strip people of their rights, regardless of their ‘good intention’ basis.

  3. avatar Joseph Roland Klauzer says:

    This case also goes to show how careful we must be when we are upset with someone. What we on the gun rights side must remember is that for the other side it is about “feelings”, not reality. Chicago has an assault weapons ban and it was recently upheld because, in the words of the Judge, it made people “feel safe”, and in her view, this was all the justification the city needed to enact the law. We laugh at this reasoning at our peril. Perception is reality for many people.

    1. avatar Dan W says:

      Then change their perception. They feel like it is safe to act against gun owners. Disabusing them of this feeling would be how you get them to stop.

    2. avatar GS650G says:

      Basically red flag laws are now weaponized. Whomever gets to the judge first gets to disarm their enemy.

      1. avatar George from Alaska says:

        I agree. This crap will show up increasingly in divorces and other disputes between people. From here on it wouid not be wise to publicize ones mental or physical intentions or feelings towards another. I guess deserved ass kicking will have to be done with ski masks on now.

        1. avatar BoG 2.0 says:

          “From here on it would not be wise to publicize ones mental or physical intentions or feelings towards another”

          and thus you’ve lost your 2nd AND 1st enumerated civil rights.

          Feature, not a bug.

        2. avatar Someone says:

          Even if the red flag laws were never abused, they still make zero sense. If someone is dangerous to himself or others when he has a gun in his possession, he sure as hell stays dangerous when all his guns are stol… sorry, confiscated. It’s not like the disarmament will kryptonite him.
          Looked at from the other side, if someone’s condition isn’t so bad that he needs involuntary hospitalization and evaluation, how come it is okay to infringe on his rights to property, to keep and bear arms and due process?

        3. avatar Geoff "I'm getting too old for this shit" PR says:

          “Even if the red flag laws were never abused, they still make zero sense.”

          They make *perfect* sense, to the one who weaponizes it. A real nice card to play in a divorce hearing – “He is so unstable the cops had to take his guns away! I want the house, the kids should have zero contact with a dangerous man as he is…” etcetera.

          Woman can be pure evil in divorces. I’ve seen it…

  4. avatar Dan W says:

    Incentives matter. If a red flag order can be enforced against you even if you are not violent, your incentive to be non violent goes away.
    Put another way: a dead man can’t red flag you.

  5. avatar Allen Cody says:

    The case is without merit. These laws should only apply to those who have a prior record of criminal or unstable behavior. That said, these laws give liberal judges great latitude to rule against law-abiding gun owners. It becomes a matter of who has the resources to fight such rulings if the defendant wants to appeal.

  6. avatar GS650G says:

    The patient will be at a disadvantage in court when the suit is heard. The lawyer will bring up this and be overruled and admonished but the jury will still hear the plaintiff is crazy and had to be disarmed so he didn’t kill the defendant.

    He’ll probably it for some amount out of court now

    1. avatar Mark N. says:

      these are heard by a judge, not a jury, unless you are talking about a later malpractice suit.

      1. avatar GS650G says:

        Either way it’s serious leverage and that’s what legal proceedings are all about.

  7. avatar Overshoe says:

    I suspect as the leftists move forward with their plan of eliminating the 2nd Amendment, these laws will will be used more and more to disarm us. Look cross-eyed at some pussy snowflake… oops there go your rights…

    1. avatar Larry says:

      That’s why I removed all pro2A/gun rights stickers from my pickup truck. All it would take is one liberal with “road rage” to see those stickers and call the cops claiming that I pointed my finger at them as if it were a pistol.

  8. avatar captainlouisrenault says:

    Two things. In the above case the Doctor was more than justified on bringing in a red flag option. The Red Flag law worked as it should in that case.

    Point two. It should be made clear to people who bring a Red Flag law into play that they can be subject to fines and imprisonment and law suits if it is later determined to be false or a form of harassment. In the Doctors case he had all the evidence on his side. I would have done the same thing if I had been in the Doctors place. Never take a chance when someone threatens you and bring the full weight of the law down hard on them. The rest of the hot heads in the neighborhood or at work or even threatening you on line will get the message very quickly that they will be shortly headed for jail and a loss of their rights.

    1. avatar FedUp says:

      Swearing at somebody and threatening to sic the police and the media on them is NOT justification for red flagging.

    2. avatar former water walker says:

      I agree with you in principal especially IF everything went down as described.
      Life is rarely life that simple! And the supposed crazy guy has many other means to off a bad doctor…

      1. avatar paul says:

        you say that like it is a bad thing….

    3. avatar Someone says:

      “The Red Flag law worked as it should in that case.”
      Yes, it worked to intimidate a guy, who was not dangerous in first place and to teach him not to mess with rich doctors armed with assault lawyers. It took some guns “off the street”. It may even create another prohibited person. All wins for gun grabbers like you.

      It did nothing to protect the doctor and his family in case the patient decided to visit some violence on them. He is still at large and even more pissed than before. Even if he for some unfathomable reason couldn’t get another firearm illegally, there is a lot of other ways to hurt or even kill people.

      “I don’t mind breaking the law against murder, but this court order/law that says I must not possess any firearms is too much! So instead of killing, I just stay home and read a nice book.” Said no murderer ever.

    4. avatar GS650G says:

      Said he was bringing police and knew where They lived.
      Did the pair think he was going to hurt thwm in front of the police or just tell the judge half that story to gain leverage?

  9. avatar Mark N. says:

    Wait wait wait a second here. There are two distinct “rd flag” issues this article deals with, DVROs and GVROs. Domestic violence restraining orders have been around for decades, and as most anyone will tell you, they ain’t worth the paper they are printed on. If the ex is really intent on harm, there is nothing these orders will do to stop that harm. They are handled in the Family Law Department (or equivalent) by judges who see multiple applications each and every week, and who are aware that they are often weaponized by one spouse against the other. But the majority of those issues are sorted out at the hearing in a week or ten days, and the bad ones are usually dismissed at or prior to the hearing.

    Further, laws have also been on the books for decades that allow anyone to sue for a protective order because of threats of harm, e.g., the next door neighbor you have been quarreling with. These are harder to obtain than a DVRO, and the standard of proof at the hearing is “clear and convincing evidence.” “Feeling” threatened is not enough; an actual threat of harm, or actual harm, is required. And yes, they are typically accompanied by stay away orders and gun confiscations (or placing the guns out of the possession of the subject).

    GVROs are an entirely new species. and as far as I can ascertain, the laws vary widely by jurisdiction as to the persons who can seek them. In California, one of the original laws, only a “close family member” (defined by statute) who lives with the subject of the order can apply–ex-lovers and spouses who have left the home were specifically excluded. Now the law has been expanded to employers and teachers, and in some cases co-employees, but only if the co-employee has first given notice to the employer and gotten permission to seek an order. These too require that the applicant prove his/her case with clear and convincing evidence. I have not heard any complaints to date of these orders being abused.

    1. avatar Someone says:

      “And yes, they are typically accompanied by stay away orders and gun confiscations (or placing the guns out of the possession of the subject).”

      – Oh my, he killed her with an axe! But luckilly we issued an order to stay away from her and stole all his guns! So now she isn’t really dead, as if she was shot and can just get up, pull that axe out of her skull and walk it off.

    2. avatar Geoff "I'm getting too old for this shit" PR says:

      “These are harder to obtain than a DVRO, and the standard of proof at the hearing is “clear and convincing evidence.””

      Mark, the problem is the judges who act “with abundance of caution”. No judge will ever be blamed for being seen as being prudent. But the first time he fucks up and woman dies who was denied a GVRO for taking her killer’s guns away…

      How’s that gonna go over the next time that judge is up for election? Far safer for a judge to just rubber-stamp every fucking GVRO that crosses his desk…

  10. avatar Sam I Am says:

    Your rights end where my exquisite sense of alarm begins !

    1. avatar UpInArms says:

      Best shot of the day!

      1. avatar Sam I Am says:

        ” in response to Sam I Am:
        ‘Your rights end where my exquisite sense of alarm begins !’
        Best shot of the day!”

        Thank you, thank you, thank you. I will be performing here nightly all week. Invite your friends. And do try the Veal Scaloppine.

        1. avatar Geoff "I'm getting too old for this shit" PR says:

          “And please tip your waitresses…” : Ralph…

        2. avatar Sam I Am says:

          “And please tip your waitresses…” : Ralph…”

          Aaahhh. I forgot that. Thanks for the save.

  11. All of these treasonous ‘red flag laws’ needs to be fought in courts all the way up to scotus. They are clearly unconstitutional and have no place in our Constitutional Republic.

    1. avatar Hannibal and the Elephants says:

      Which Constitutional Republic? This country has not been a Constitutional Republic since they started infringing on our Constitutionally Recognized Rights.
      Welcome to the new Socialist Democratic Dictatorship formerly known as the United States of America.

      1. That’s only if We The People choose to continue to accept that lie:

        When men enter into society, it is by voluntary consent; and they have a right to demand and insist upon the performance of such conditions and previous limitations as form an equitable original compact.–Samuel Adams and Benjamin Franklin, The Rights of the Colonists, Nov. 20, 1772.
        http://www.shall-not-be-infringed.org/original-intent/rights-of-the-colonists/

  12. avatar "keep yur beaks outta my roadkill" possum says:

    True story. My cousin was/is nutz, prohibited from firearms, he killed his roomate with a machete. Good thing he couldnt pocesses a gunm.

    1. avatar Someone says:

      Exactly! The roommate is one lucky man that he didn’t get shot.
      #SayNoToGunviolence!

    2. avatar Geoff "I'm getting too old for this shit" PR says:

      “My cousin was/is nutz, prohibited from firearms,…”

      Probably got some brain disease eating roadkill when he was hanging out with you roadside one night…

      *snicker* 😉

  13. avatar Icabod says:

    Then there is Gary Willis.

    “Police had come to the house Sunday night to speak with Willis, a longtime resident of the neighborhood, said Michele Willis, who was on the scene Monday morning and identified herself as his niece. She attributed that visit by police to “family being family” but declined to elaborate.
    She said one of her aunts requested the protective order to temporarily remove Willis’ guns.”

    At 5:15 AM police arrived to serve the order. Willis met them armed with a pistol. However he put it down to read the order. Police also told him to move out of the house he’d lived in for almost 20 years. They then demanded he hand over the gun.

    There are no recordings of what followed. Police claim Willis picked up the gun and a struggle began. At some point Willis’ gun went off and a police officer shot Willis five times. The police chief immediately boasted that red flag laws work and declared the case closed.

    https://www.baltimoresun.com/news/crime/bs-md-aa-shooting-20181105-story.html
    https://www.capitalgazette.com/news/ac-cn-red-flag-20191001-zjzsbra735eatkkm2qmobz5z4a-story.html

  14. avatar Alan says:

    The judge mentioned instituting property seizure (firearms) “out of an abundance of caution”, which translated into plain English means exactly what. There is also the following. Re this judicial “abundance of caution”, that leaves an individual without defenses, what happens if during that time period, the individual suffers injury or worse, having been as a result of some judges “abundance of caution”, disarmed? To whom might the individual, or his or her survivors look for recompense, I wonder. And what happens given the following. It turns out that the complaining party was flat out lying,and the disarmed innocent individual suffers injury? The plot thickens, one might note.

  15. avatar Jerry says:

    These judges have no right to do this Constitution is becoming worthless

    1. avatar Sam I Am says:

      “These judges have no right to do this Constitution is becoming worthless”

      Perfectly legitimate and constitutional actions, justified by “compelling government interest” and “exigent circumstances”.

      1. And you of course are LYING. All laws or rulings which violate the Constitution – THE SUPREME LAW OF THE LAND -are null and void. That which you are suggesting would make written Constitutions utterly worthless. You have proven repeatedly that you have no idea as to the INTENDED meaning of our Constitutional Republican form of government.

  16. avatar Alan says:

    The following comes to mind regarding this RED FLAG ORDER business. Based on one version being heard, that is the complaining party, one of these orders is issued by a judge. The police execute the order, no physical confrontation problems develope. Ten days or so pass, as has been described, and a full hearing is had, both parties with legal representation appear before the judge. Turns out that the complaining party, the instigator of proceedings, was flat out lying, in all respects. What action is now taken against he or she, who caused, by flat out lying, the problems, or does the judge merely shrug it off? Interesting question, I would think. Any interesting answers come to anyone’s mind?

    1. avatar Sam I Am says:

      “What action is now taken against he or she, who caused, by flat out lying, the problems, or does the judge merely shrug it off?”

      Read somewhere that at least one or two states do have penalties for false reporting related to “red flag”; the vast majority may not. However, filing a false police report is generally prohibited/illegal in most jurisdictions. The judge in your example could order the local authorities to arrest the liar, and charge the offender with false reporting.

  17. avatar Sam Hill says:

    Red flags requests go directly to a judge or magistrate as I understand some of them. So no false police report. I’m not current on the Indiana state constitution nor am I a shark (lawyer by correct name) but at one time that Constitution obligated the citizens to resist a false arrest by any means necessary up to and including lethal force. An interesting conundrum.
    One other interesting point of law, at least to me, is wavering ones rights. I’ve never read anything in the Constitution authorizing or giving authority for doing that. It might just be a breach of our rights when cops or anyone in the jurisprudence system asks for a waiver.

  18. Ahhh, Yeah! We the People already knew this as the end result…When one throws out the U.S. Constitutional-Bill of Rights…And replaces it with the the “Jerry Springer Show, or MTV Reality TV 📺!” Since when did I.Q. levels reach zero to figure out that “ALL Constitutional Rights matter for everyone!??!”
    ” HELLO 👋!!!! PEOPLE!!!! IS ANYONE OUT THAT’S EVEN REMOTELY INTELLIGENT ANYMORE !!!???” Our Forefathers wouldn’t have tolerated this absolute BullShit! Why should We The People!!!???

  19. avatar Bob Wyman says:

    You all are debating red flag laws just as you have been debating on Rights. THERE IS NO debate, we are born with Rights. Any “debate” gives the subject a credibility. Those who do not believe in Liberty Independence and Freedom simply do not have any reason or Right to undermine the Constitution and our Representatives simply cannot speak for those people at all.
    Police are not effective in their job and were not needed. Citizens were the police with a sheriff doing the “gofer” work for the citizens who formed grand juries to deal with criminals.; The advent of private agencies led to the forming of police in cities and are a complete failure. They police through fear only.
    Stop using made up definitions and obeying illegal “laws”, it only gives those things legs after time. Misdirection and propaganda is the tactic. Firearms are dangerous. People are a threat to others. A phobia of firearms is not grounds for disarming citizens nor basis for a proper court action. The courts are tyrannical. Court is too costly to retain your Rights and nobody will have firearms returned plus they are labelled and defamed for life as a result of allowing the Constitution to be ignored yet again. Reading comments shows most are not grasping what the Framers intended and made Law of the Land. Qualified immunity cancelled that notion…

    1. avatar Jerry Sweet says:

      Well said and damn the torpedoes full speed ahead when Americans have finally had enough then the graves of progressives can be filled

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