Juvenile conviction in Colorado
1. Colorado law says an underage person cannot possess a handgun, with exception for possessing it with parental permission on land controlled by the parent.
2. The juvenile defendant posted pics of himself with guns on myspace.com. The exact nature of the pics is not described, but it sounds as if they were meant to alarm adults. This is a teenage male, after all.
3. But the pics were made on the parents' property, and the father testified he had his permission to possess.
If that's all accurate, the case should be over. I don't care how distressed a person might get over the pictures, they've been proven innocent of the offense. But he was convicted. The defense attorney says this is a difficult case in his argument. Reading between the lines, with 30 years of experience, that suggests to me either (a) the defense attorney doesn't know his art -- when you've got a slam dunk, go for it, don't apologize or (b) he knows his art and his judge, and knows that the judge might convict despite the law.
The prosecutor is said to have argued the juvenile didn't have permission to do everything with firearms, which sounds like a real stretch -- a general permission isn't permission if you implicitly have outer limits on it. That's like prosecuting a person for trespass when I gave them permission to come on my land, because I implicitly didn't allow them to come on it to bugger my dog and call al Qaeda. Of course the press account is probably inadequate. But it is suggestive that this is a media-driven case... once word of the pictures got out, the prosecutor felt driven to prosecute, whether the law merited it or not. And the judge may have felt driven to convict for the same reason. Cripes, according to the news reports the juvenile has been held since February, will be sentenced June 1 and won't be released until a "safety plan" is formulated. At least around here, that's 2-3 times the detention he would have gotten for a repeat offense burglary of an occupied dwelling (which does hurt someone and is likely to get someone shot).