Connecticut DESPP Admits ‘mistakes’ in Ex Parte Confiscations
DESPP Promises to Stop Threatening Lawful Gun Owners
Middletown, CT, October 3, 2013:
In a letter dated September 10th, 2013, the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection (DESPP) admitted to 'mistakes’ in sending threatening letters to citizens that were the subject of Ex Parte restraining orders and unlawfully demanding the surrender of their firearms under the threat of arrest. The letter comes as an apparent response to Attorney Rachel M. Baird’s criminal complaint sent to the FBI against the DESPP for deprivation of civil rights.
While the DESPP assures us that these kinds of threats are to be ‘no longer mailed when an ex parte restraining order is issued’, we still have serious concerns about this and other topics when the DESPP and their legal counsel were unable previously to properly distinguish between an Ex Parte restraining order and a restraining order. The facts of this case as well as others only serve to further emphasize the severe lack of legal understanding within the Connecticut State Police.
Connecticut Carry expects that this lack of understanding is only going to get worse considering the 130+ page gun ban implemented by our legislature as of 4/4/2013. We first publicized the topic of Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection threatening gun owners back on July 1st, 2013.
The lack of understanding of these basic legal constructs as well as the constitutional issues exposed within them was the subject of a letter to the US House of Representatives and Senate after Senators Blumenthal and Murphy signed on to try and change the legislation to cover DESPP’s tracks.
No agency, whether federal, state or municipal should be issuing threats of arrest without a full understanding of the law.
Second Amendment Rights Attacked Behind Closed Doors
It Is Time for Judge Robert C. Brunetti to Find a New Career
Bristol CT, September 12, 2013:
During a closed door meeting in the judge’s chambers during a case Judge Robert C. “Brunes” Brunetti exposed his bigotry for fundamental civil rights in front of at least three defense attorneys. The violation came during the case of State of Connecticut v. Bruce Worley, docket number H17B-CR13-0055722S.
Judge Brunetti expressed his contempt for the right to keep and bear arms, as spelled out in both the Second Amendment to the US constitution and Article 1, Section 15 of the Connecticut Constitution by stating in chambers that “No one in this country should have guns” and that he ‘never returns guns’. A judge’s role is to be impartial and to render verdicts, rulings and judgments based upon law and case law, certainly not personal opinion.
The amazing part of Judge Brunetti’s comments is that he is a sitting judge in Connecticut in 2013 after this issue has been so clearly mandated upon him by the Supreme Court of the United States on several occasions including both DC v Heller cases, McDonald v Chicago and others. Judge Brunetti has clearly decided to lead an anti-rights crusade under color of his judicial position and it must end.
Connecticut Carry Director Edward Peruta was on scene in the courthouse that day and he informed several news outlets including WTIC Fox 61, WTNH ABC 8 and the Hartford Courant who all, to our disappointment, responded that they did not have the personnel to cover such an important topic in such an important context. The citizens of Connecticut have a right to know about Judge Brunetti, who is the second judge that Connecticut Carry has caught and called out for openly advocating against settled civil rights in this state. How many more judges in Connecticut are abusing their authority like this when these judges are so willing to openly flaunt their bigotry?
It is time for Judge Robert C. Brunetti to step down as a Connecticut judge. There is no place in Connecticut for a judge who will so willingly contradict The Supreme Court’s ruling on such an important civil right.
Connecticut DESPP is ‘Chasing Their Tails’
Are State Freedom of Information Laws Optional?
Middletown CT, September 3, 2013:
For most of 2013, Connecticut Carry has been working hard to try and get basic information released from the Connecticut Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, only to have those efforts illegally denied by DESPP’s ‘Legal Affairs’ unit through determined procrastination and obfuscation. Numerous requests for information regarding firearms, potential litigation activities and other related files are being withheld without statutory authority, defying the mandates set forth in CGS §1-206:
Any denial of the right to inspect or copy records provided for under section 1-210 shall be made to the person requesting such right by the public agency official who has custody or control of the public record, in writing, within four business days of such request… Failure to comply with a request to so inspect or copy such public record within the applicable number of business days shall be deemed to be a denial.
And CGS §1-210:
…all records maintained or kept on file by any public agency, whether or not such records are required by any law or by any rule or regulation, shall be public records and every person shall have the right to (1) inspect such records promptly during regular office or business hours, (2) copy such records in accordance with subsection (g) of section 1-212, or (3) receive a copy of such records in accordance with section 1-212. Any agency rule or regulation, or part thereof, that conflicts with the provisions of this subsection or diminishes or curtails in any way the rights granted by this subsection shall be void..
As a Connecticut nonprofit dedicated to protecting and advancing the right to bear arms in Connecticut, and in the process of investigating, researching and funding legal cases in Connecticut, we have a strong need to be able to check our information against these public records so that our reports and releases are factual and accurate. Many of these cases are brought because of actions by DESPP or other police departments and Connecticut Carry has uncovered a startling amount of illegal and abusive practices originating from DESPP policies.
In direct defiance of these laws, Christine Plourde, Esq. on behalf of DESPP ‘Legal Affairs’ sent a fiery letter to Connecticut Carry Director Ed Peruta seeking to assert her department’s policies over the law, despite the law voiding her policies for being against the law in the first place. We have made Ed’s detailed response available online.
While the information coming out about DESPP’s recent illegal behavior might have a negative impact on the image of DESPP, they must follow the law. We will see to it that they do follow the law, just like Connecticut Carry and Connecticut residents are expected to do.
FBI Encouraged to Investigate Connecticut State Police
Threats, intimidation and extortion alleged against the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection
New Haven, CT, August 26, 2013
Attorney Rachel M. Baird of Torrington, CT has sent a letter to Special Agent in Charge Kimberly Mertz of the New Haven FBI office to investigate allegations of criminal conduct. The Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection’s criminal conduct violates Federal laws: 18 U.S.C. §§ 241 - Conspiracy Against Rights and 18 U.S.C. §§ 242 - Deprivation of Rights Under Color of Law.
The case is one that Connecticut Carry has exposed previously. In this case, the subject was told to surrender all of his firearms under threat of arrest because he was ineligible to possess firearms. This was, in fact, a lie by the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection who should certainly know better. At no time was the subject ineligible to possess firearms according to State or Federal law. The subject had an ex parte restraining order against him, which is also called a temporary restraining order. At that point in the restraining order process, the subject of the order has not had any chance to answer or defend against the allegation. It would be completely unreasonable to think that a person would need to give up core rights upon any accusation by another person. This is would be a complete insult to the concept of due process spelled out in the 5th and 14th amendments to the United States Constitution.
As demonstrated repeatedly, the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection has a long pattern of misinterpreting the State and Federal laws whenever it suits their needs. More alarmingly, they have politicians that are somehow willing to try and alter the laws after their misuse of the current laws is exposed.
The Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, through their legal counsel have shown a willful disregard for the laws and the facts in this case as well as others. Their credibility should suffer as a result.
Read the letter here: http://www.ctcarry.com/Document/Download/fcfc501b-10f1-4570-ae8a-b861735035e6
Connecticut Carry Statement about ‘Starbucks Appreciation Day’
The Importance of Showing Respect to Property Rights and Owner’s Wishes
Connecticut, August 10, 2013:
Connecticut Carry leadership learned about an event called ‘Starbucks Appreciation Day’ on August 8th at approximately 9:30pm through the opencarry.org Connecticut forum. Connecticut Carry and its leadership has, since November 2010, advised against rallies or events involving firearms at Starbucks locations. This was due to a request from Starbucks to not use their stores as political rally points for the issue of carrying firearms:
We recognize that there is significant and genuine passion surrounding the issue of open carry weapons laws. Advocacy groups from both sides of this issue have chosen to use Starbucks as a way to draw attention to their positions.
As the public debate continues, we are asking all interested parties to refrain from putting Starbucks or our partners into the middle of this divisive issue. As a company, we are extremely sensitive to the issue of gun violence in our society. Our Starbucks family knows all too well the dangers that exist when guns are used irresponsibly and illegally. Without minimizing this unfortunate reality, we believe that supporting local laws is the right way for us to ensure a safe environment for both partners and customers.
-- Starbucks Corporate Policy Memo dated March 16, 2010
Connecticut Carry respects the rights of a property owner like Starbucks to ask to not be used as a civil rights battleground. We also appreciate their neutral stance even when they encounter a very vocal minority that requests absurd things like policies against firearms in public businesses.
While we absolutely respect and support the right of every citizen of Connecticut to bear arms in any manner they choose, we must also conduct ourselves in a responsible and respectful manner. Connecticut Carry had no part in organizing or sponsoring this event. Likewise, we were unable to find any organization or person that would take responsibility for organizing this event.
We hope that in the future, the wishes of Starbucks will be respected in accordance to their policy. Firearms carriers who simply carry their firearms as they wish in their daily business and save rallies and events for property that is welcoming will help our cause the most. Respecting the property rights of Starbucks is the best way to show appreciation for a business that has been through a lot of turmoil for not taking a negative stance on our rights.
Questioning the Competency and Credibility of Senators Blumenthal and Murphy
Letter sent to US House, Senate and FBI calls out unscrupulous attack on our rights
Hartford CT, August 8, 2013:
In a letter dated August 5th, Connecticut Carry through Attorney Rachel Baird put the United States House of Representatives and United States Senate on notice that we are seeking an FBI investigation of criminal deprivation of rights under color of law with regards to statements made during a news conference held August 2nd.
In the news conference, Senator Blumenthal and Senator Murphy expressed interest in pursuing legislation at the Federal level to remove the right of citizens to bear firearms who have a temporary restraining order issued against them. Playing to ignorance and emotion, the first-term Senators tried to convey a message that somehow violent offenders are still allowed to own firearms. But what they were really doing is saying that the due process protected under the 5th and 14th Amendment of the United States is somehow a ‘loophole’.
A temporary restraining order (or ex parte restraining order) is an immediate protective order issued by a single judge. These orders do not require a crime to have been committed and they have a relatively low burden of proof, being easy to obtain. A temporary restraining order is simply an accusation, not proof or even probable cause of wrongdoing. If such cause existed, criminal statutes exist for such a purpose.
Current Federal and State law only prohibit the possession of firearms after a person subject to the order has been served notice of an order and has had a chance to be heard, at which time the order can be stayed and is no longer ‘temporary’, or it can be dissolved. The reason for the delineation in the laws for a hearing and notice is because a person cannot ‘be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law’ - 5th Amendment nor ‘shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law’ -14th Amendment. The Senators apparently wish to take the basic right of due process away by allowing a single judge to remove a person’s liberty and property with a single court order and no chance to be heard, and no crime alleged.
To further exacerbate the issue, Connecticut Carry has been following leads and working on cases of abuse by the Connecticut Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection under Commissioner Reuben Bradford, where citizens have been threatened with arrest if they did not turn their firearms over upon the issuance of temporary restraining order. The State of Connecticut has been doing this without the proper legal authority to do so, and it appears that Senator Blumenthal and Senator Murphy are now working to make these unconstitutional mandates by DESPP legal instead of properly representing the citizens of Connecticut. This conflict of interest is especially interesting since Senator Blumenthal is the former Connecticut Attorney General who oversaw such measures being implemented by the DESPP.
Senator Blumenthal and Senator Murphy’s motives here must be questioned, and with it, their competency and credibility. A good, hard look at each Senator’s commitment to the Constitution which they affirmed in their oath of office is also in order.
Read the letter here: http://ctcarry.com/Document/Download/c916ee24-5588-4c72-87fe-1c375c49eab0
Anti-rights Activist Judge Caught Abusing Authority in Court
Connecticut Carry Calls for Judge to Step Down
Vernon, CT, July 16, 2013:
Prominent firearms Attorney Rachel Baird of Torrington filed a motion to recuse and disqualify Judge Edward Mullarkey from a Rockville Superior Court GA-19 case on July 15th. The Motion for Recusal and Disqualification of Judge puts forth serious and egregious ethics issues raised by Mullarkey’s courtroom behavior, who is charged with being impartial.
Without any further facts or explanation, it would appear that Judge Mullarkey took it upon himself to harass Attorney Baird in the presence of her client due to her prominent and public support of firearms civil rights. In one hearing, Mullarkey checked to make sure the court reporter had stopped recording the proceeding, and then the judge proclaimed from the bench that those who support the Second Amendment should be “ashamed”.
Judge Mullarkey also made mention of ‘The Hidden History of the Second Amendment’ by Professor Carl Bogus, a rabidly anti-gun propaganda piece written by a devoted anti-gun activist. Professor Bogus has been or is currently on the National Advisory Panel for the Violence Policy Center, the Board of Governors for Handgun Control, Inc., and the Board of Directors for the Center to Prevent Handgun Violence. These are all zealous anti-rights organizations with histories of advocating for bans on firearms.
According to the language and allegations brought forth in Attorney Baird’s Motion, Judge Mullarkey has clearly used his position as a Superior Court Judge in order to act as an activist for anti-rights in defiance of our Constitution and our Second Amendment right to bear arms. The judge’s actions are also in direct defiance of the Supreme Court decisions in DC v Heller. Legal precedent requires that Judge Malarkey is bound to uphold the rulings of the High Court, regardless of his personal advocacy mission. In addition, serious concerns about discrimination and misogyny can be raised from other behaviors that the motion describes regarding Judge Mullarkey’s conduct, whereby he appears to harass Attorney Baird about her gender and background.
Based on the above Motion for Recusal and Dismissal of a Judge, Judge Mullarkey has no place as a judge, nor in holding any position of power, when he is so willing to abuse his position of power to push an anti-civil rights agenda from the bench. Connecticut Carry calls for Judge Mullarkey to immediately step down from the bench and retire.
Judge Mullarkey is not alone in his bias and contempt for our rights. Connecticut Carry is following up on allegations of judges across Connecticut with similar prejudices.
Doutel v Norwalk Prevails on Claims of Fourth Amendment Violations
Unreasonable Search and Seizure Case against Norwalk Withstands Summary Judgment
Hartford CT, July 22, 2013:
Claims of Fourth Amendment violations by four Norwalk police officers have survived the City of Norwalk’s motion for dismissal: A Connecticut Federal District Court has rendered a ruling in favor of the innocent and injured spouse of Duane Doutel from Norwalk, CT.
The City of Norwalk sought to have all charges in the complaint brought by the plaintiff, Barbara Casey Doutel of Norwalk, dismissed on the grounds of summary judgment. The charge that survived this motion was ‘Unreasonable Search and Seizure in Violation of the 4th Amendment’. The search and seizure of Mrs. Doutel’s firearms stemmed from Mr. Doutel’s February 2010 arrest.
When the charges against Mr. Doutel were brought to court, the charges were reduced and then ultimately dismissed entirely after a protracted and costly legal battle that spanned over 18 months and more than a dozen court appearances.
The Norwalk police had called Mr. Doutel prior to arriving at his home under the false pretenses of ‘just wanting to talk to him’. Mr Doutel had replied that they had no need to come to his home unless they had an arrest warrant in hand. Officer Jared Zwickler and fellow officers arrived at the home, ordering Mr. Doutel out of his home and then marching past the handcuffed Mr. Doutel into his home to search for firearms.
Judge Vanessa Bryant has found that material differences exist regarding whether or not police had consent to initiate a search of Mr. Doutel’s home as well as the subsequent seizure of Mr. and Mrs. Doutel’s firearms and other property. Before a jury sees the case, the case must survive settlement negotiations with a Federal Magistrate. Whether the City of Norwalk will come to their senses and recognize a losing case or not is anyone’s guess at this point. Courts, towns and politicians have certainly shown a gross bias to anything related to firearms since the Newtown massacre; the actions of Norwalk and the Federal Magistrate will be interesting to observe.
Attorney Rachel Baird filed Mrs. Doutel’s complaint in Federal court on July 25, 2011. Mr. Doutel has yet to file his own lawsuit against the City of Norwalk for their role in his arrest.
The State Furthers Its Hypocrisy in Pennell Case
DESPP Caught Lying in Court Complaint
Middletown CT, July 15, 2013:
On June 21, 2013 the Connecticut Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection (DESPP) filed suit against the Board of Firearms Permit Examiners (BFPE) and a Mr. Glenn Pennell. The lawsuit is an appeal to the courts to overturn the decision of the BFPE to return Mr. Pennell’s pistol permit.
Paragraph #17 of the complaint alleges:
“17. By reinstating Pennell’s Permit at a future time and subject to one or more conditions, the Board has exceeded its statutory authority and created obligations for the plaintiff with respect to the issuance of this permit that are not permitted by Conn. Gen. Stat. § 29-32b. These conditions are not available to issuing authorities such as the plaintiff and other municipalities as set forth in [sic]”
The above cited allegation is particularly interesting given an exchange in a BFPE hearing, the recording of which was captured and pointed out by Connecticut Carry Director Edward Peruta. Kenneth Tramadeo, a public member of the BFPE inquired of Detective Barbara Matson why and how she was making ‘deals’ with permit appellants before BFPE hearings and how those appellants were chosen.
The particular ‘deal’ discussed in that recording is extremely similar to the ruling that the BFPE made regarding Mr. Pennell’s permit being returned. The ‘deal’ directly conflicts with the DESPP’s assertion in its complaint that both the DESPP and BFPE lack the authority to make this kind of a deal. Detective Barbara Matson, in fact, indicates that this kind of thing is quite common.
Has the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection been knowingly violating its authority for years? Or is it suddenly trying to forget its common practices so that it can push a political agenda that smears the Board of Firearms Permit Examiners?
DESPP using Deception to Confiscate Firearms
Misleading Interpretations and Threats by State Police result in Permanent Loss of Property
Middletown, Connecticut, July 1st, 2013:
The Connecticut State Police through the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection have been sending threatening and misleading letters to Connecticut residents telling them that they must turn in their firearms to the State Police without any lawful justification.
In one such example, a resident was the subject of an ex parte restraining order. State law clearly states that such an individual is only ineligible to possess firearms when:
a restraining or protective order of a court of this state that has been issued against such person, after notice and an opportunity to be heard has been provided to such person, … -- 53a-217(a)(3) and 53a-217c(a)5
Federal law provides that a person is ineligible to possess firearms when they are:
subject to a court order that (A) was issued after a hearing of which such person received actual notice, and at which time such person had an opportunity to participate … -- 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(8)
Instead of following the law and waiting until the resident had been given notice and an opportunity to be heard as the law prescribes; the State Police sent a letter threatening arrest if the resident did not turn over all of their firearms. The restraining order ended up being dissolved before the resident became ineligible to possess firearms, but because of the 2013 gun ban that went into effect 4/4/2013, some of the firearms and magazines this person possessed can never be transferred back to them.
Because of the Connecticut State Police and DESPP not knowing or following the law, a resident of Connecticut may have permanently lost property that rightfully belongs to him and should have never been in the possession of the State Police to begin with. This is yet another case involving the seizure of firearms where members of the State Police, DESPP and the Special License and Firearms Unit (SLFU) have been found doing business their way rather than following the law.
Attorney Rachel Baird is the attorney investigating this particular instance as well as several other questionable practices and misunderstandings of existing laws. She went on to address these in a recent letter to Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection (DESPP) Commissioner Reuben Bradford.
Cases like this demonstrate the fact that experienced members of law enforcement who are assigned to firearm related cases on a daily basis lack the required understanding of firearm laws.
Connecticut Carry will continue to work to educate members of the public and the members of these state agencies as well as local police departments about the rights of the public and the laws of the state. We will also work to stop these rogue units from engaging in abusive behavior towards the public.
More information on this issue can be found on http://ctcarry.com.
Connecticut Carry is dedicated to advancing and protecting the fundamental civil rights of the men and women of Connecticut to keep and bear arms for defense of themselves and the state as guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Constitution of Connecticut.