PRESS RELEASE: Monumental Decision Imposing Financial Judgment on Pennsylvania State Police for Violating Second Amendment Rights!

Addressing several issues of first impression, the Commonwealth Court on Wednesday issued a 20 page decision and entered a judgment of approximately $6,500.00 against the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) for erroneously denying an individual his right to keep and bear arms.

With eight pages of the decision addressing the factual and procedural background, the case is somewhat complex; however, stated succinctly, the individual applied for a firearm and was denied by the PSP. Although he submitted a Pennsylvania Instant Check System (PICS) Challenge, where he provided the PSP with copies of the original charging documents reflecting that he had only been charged with and pled guilty to a summary offense, the PSP ignored the documentation and issued a final determination that he was prohibited. Thereafter, he retained Attorney Joshua Prince for an appeal to the Pennsylvania Attorney General. After the PSP received the appeal, which included copies of all the documents the individual originally submitted, the PSP called Attorney Prince to inform him that the PSP was overturning its decision but that they would not issue a letter confirming the reversal.

Thereafter, Attorney Prince filed a complaint against the PSP, pursuant to the Criminal History Record Information Act (CHRIA), while the case proceeded before the Attorney General. The PSP would later stipulate, before the Attorney General, that the individual was not prohibited; however, the PSP opposed the CHRIA action and argue that (1) the PSP was entitled to sovereign immunity for any damages and (2) that the individual was foreclosed in bringing a CHRIA action, since he had filed an appeal to the Attorney General.

The Commonwealth Court, in response to the PSP’s assertion of sovereign immunity, declared that the

PSP did originally maintain incorrect criminal history record information with respect to Haron in violation of section 9111 of CHRIA, which wrongfully resulted in the denial of his constitutional right to purchase a firearm for a period of several months and required him to ultimately obtain counsel.

The court then went on to find

that the maintenance of incorrect criminal records resulting in an unwarranted denial of a constitutional right to purchase a firearm constitutes “aggrievement.” Because Haron was aggrieved, he is entitled to recover actual and real damages, consistent with section 9183(b)(2) of CHRIA, in the amount of $1,500.00, which represents the retainer fee that Haron was required to pay to obtain counsel to represent him [before the AG] in this matter. Additionally, Haron is entitled to reasonable costs of litigation and attorney fees.

In relation to the PSP’s second assertion that he was precluded in instituting and maintaining an action under CHRIA because he filed an appeal to the Attorney General, the court declared:

we do not believe that Haron’s initial choice to proceed under the UFA forecloses any potential relief under CHRIA. Indeed, the only relief available under the UFA appears to be correction of an individual’s criminal history records, whereas CHRIA provides other potential relief in the nature of an injunction and/or damages.

While the judgment is minuscule in relation to the deprivation of a constitutional right, we hope that this case will give the PSP pause in what has become its standard operating procedure to ignore documentation submitted by an unrepresented individual in a PICS Challenge and to force individuals to prove that they are not prohibited, when the burden rests with the PSP to prove that the individual is prohibited.

If your rights have been denied the purchase/transfer of a firearm or your rights violated by the PSP, contact Firearms Industry Consulting Group today to discuss YOUR rights and legal options.

 


Firearms Industry Consulting Group® (FICG®) is a registered trademark and division of Civil Rights Defense Firm, P.C., with rights and permissions granted to Prince Law Offices, P.C. to use in this article.

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5 Comments

Filed under Firearms Law, Pennsylvania Firearms Law

5 responses to “PRESS RELEASE: Monumental Decision Imposing Financial Judgment on Pennsylvania State Police for Violating Second Amendment Rights!

  1. Jason Bayne

    Keep up the good work! Our judicial system was built around the notion that individuals are innocent until proven guilty. Ultimately, when that basic tenant is flipped, and the burden of proof put on individuals, our freedom and democracy suffer greatly. These practices need to be weeded out at the local, state and federal level whenever they appear.

    Best Regards, Jason Bayne Beyond Rings 561.419.9136 http://stellaandruby.com/ http://beyondrings.com/

    ________________________________

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  2. Aloyisous Smith

    Great work Mr. Prince.

    I wish someone would bring a action against jurisdictions that refuse to issue CCW to law abiding citizens. Federal Law specifically prohibits the violation of ANY constitutional right, under Title 42 US Code Sc 1983 (of any U.S. Citizen), which states in part;

    Every person who, under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage, of any State or Territory or the District of Columbia, subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States or other person within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws, shall be liable to the party injured in an action at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for redress.

    http://federalpracticemanual.org/chapter5/section1a

    The 2nd Amendment conveys to all Citizens the Right to Bear Arms, its a shame that we constantly have to fight to maintain this right.

    Thanks again for protecting our gun rights.

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  3. H. Anthony Semone PhD Hazleton (City) PD

    Sir, outstanding effort!!!

    doc

    Like

  4. here’s hoping i’m reading about a positive decision in the monroe cty sheriff case soon… it’s been years. 😦

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  5. Erik

    Totally amazing. It’s like these people, PSP, with all their power and inept, intransigent, bureaucratic arrogance, exist solely to deny people the constitutional rights they took an oath to uphold, and to make it as difficult, time-consuming, and expensive as possible to obtain relief from their abusive behavior. Our Founders were correct in their understanding that there is no such thing as good government; Inherently evil, only government, under God, that is too small to do much harm.
    p.s. PSP still maintains an illegal, gun ownership database, in violation of law.

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