D.A. drops first SAFE Act charge in county - Columbia-Greene Media: News

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D.A. drops first SAFE Act charge in county

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Posted: Friday, May 24, 2013 12:30 am | Updated: 1:33 am, Thu May 30, 2013.

District Attorney Paul Czajka dropped a state SAFE Act charge Thursday in county district court against Hopewell Junction resident Gregory Dean Jr., who was the first person charged in the county under the controversal law since it was enacted last month.

Czajka told Town Justice Jessica Byrne that he would not prosecute the SAFE act violation.

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  • Manoreason posted at 9:48 pm on Tue, May 28, 2013.

    Manoreason Posts: 62

    There are many ways one license comes to be suspended. I notice the article is silent on how Dean came by his suspended license. That would seem to be relevant information to this case. The gun has a valid permit, and would not seem to be materially relevant on its face to the stop, which was for a license lamp that is extinguished. Judging from the number of faulty headlamps, break lights, signal lights, signaling in general (don't want to tip your hand?) that I see up here, not to mention, on the cellphone to the ear conversations, texting while driving, etc., etc. Let's see what the real story here turns out to be, if we ever get it.

  • Zacksdad posted at 7:46 am on Tue, May 28, 2013.

    Zacksdad Posts: 295

    I suspect he was aware that his license was suspended! He should be prosecuted for that.His attorney wasn't prepared for that charge?only ready for the grandstanding gun play.?The well connected seem to get away with almost anything under the esteemed Czjaka.

  • Tom Baker posted at 5:02 pm on Sat, May 25, 2013.

    Tom Baker Posts: 78

    Paul Czajka for Governor of New York!

  • hirider posted at 4:09 pm on Sat, May 25, 2013.

    hirider Posts: 1

    I don't live in NY, but from reading this article, it seems to me that Mr. Czajka wet his finger and held it up in the air to see which way the 2nd ammemdment wind is blowing. With the many protestors around, he didn't want that to be a blight on his record and offered to reduce the charges. Dean and his attorney refused to plead, so Czajka simply dropped everything rather than plow on full-steam ahead. Is Mr. Czajka fair-weather DA?

  • OldDemican posted at 2:10 pm on Sat, May 25, 2013.

    OldDemican Posts: 1

    Czajka is one smart DA. He must remember what happened when the Bronx DA said he would never prosecute the Death Penalty. The next day the Governor appointed a Special DA. Here, where Czajka says it is case by case, there is no basis to appoint a Special DA.

    Czajka has given all the upstate DA's a road map. Of course, if the person arrested deserves to be prosecuted, a DA can do so with this law.

    The trouble with these types of laws, which are passed for a headline, is that they remain on the books long after the politicians who try to take advantage of them for a headline, have moved on.

    Cuomo for one is delusional if he thinks that a screechy preachy opportunist like him can get any traction in the rest of the US. He has zero gravitas [unfortunately the last Secretary of State has it] and we are likely to be stuck with him for a long time, as there is no place for him to go.

    ]Amazing, he did such a great job with HUD, and now he dithers on fracking, and grabs headlines with a phoney gun law, says the right think on Weiner and tries to back away the next day....... Meanwhile Upstate NY continues to fade into Appalachia........

  • whatever posted at 1:17 pm on Sat, May 25, 2013.

    whatever Posts: 1

    say Styview,didn't the article say he has as return date..he didn't get away with anything. And the DA did the right thing .

  • Joe the Real posted at 8:53 am on Sat, May 25, 2013.

    Joe the Real Posts: 497

    All the DA determined is that no big crime was involved and that the SAFE Act violation was therefore a low probability conviction and high probability appeal with negative political impact. This was a "desk appearance ticket" violation in toto, no one was ever even arrested or jailed for a single second. This "fight" was as big a fantasy as any Don King extravaganza of two old washed up heavyweights being terms the battle of the century. DATs rarely get energetically prosecuted because there is no big underlying crime. The initial stop was over a license plate light. If the gun was not legally permitted then that would be another matter.

    If the person charged with this crime happened to be dark skinned and visiting from NYC and in possession of marijuana, watch all these flag wavers flip a 180º, even if the gun permit was valid. Most interesting would be if the gun permit was valid but the individual charged was also found to be alcohol impaired on the way to visit his ex while a restraining order was in effect (unless, of course that person also happened to enjoy a direct relation to a local politician or DA). All of these are commonplace enough scenarios given any casual scan of police reports.

  • brianjconway posted at 4:37 am on Sat, May 25, 2013.

    brianjconway Posts: 567

    jdogg22 Don't misunderstand me. If Fox News did have anything to do with this, they would have given it more coverage. I'm just saying that if they did, I would favor their actions. It is a ridiculous, ineffectual and unconstitutional piece of nonsense hastily crafted by folks who are know nothings on the subject.

  • MiserableGuinea posted at 9:11 pm on Fri, May 24, 2013.

    MiserableGuinea Posts: 12

    I find it comical that the libtards are always screaming for "common sense" gun control (like they have any idea what that looks like) yet when Paul Czajka applies a little common sense prosecutorial discretion, they get their panties in a wad. Kudos to the DA for displaying courage and compassion when dealing with an unconstitutional law.

  • Tom Baker posted at 7:05 pm on Fri, May 24, 2013.

    Tom Baker Posts: 78

    Paul Czajka for Governor of New York State!!!

  • ArtView posted at 6:49 pm on Fri, May 24, 2013.

    ArtView Posts: 85

    It's a revolt - all laws can be broken and there are people in power to make sure people don't do the time or get punished. What next? Gee, I didn't know because my driver's license was suspended meant it was illegal to drive? Oh sir, just plead stupidity because we can get a lawyer and a lot of other people to say, well, ya know, that's an unjust law.

    Noticed how Dean's lawyer told Dean not to answer any questions? Dean broke some laws and was caught... the lawyer needs to work some deals... wink-wink!

  • elaine posted at 6:08 pm on Fri, May 24, 2013.

    elaine Posts: 379

    Good. I have more respect for DA Czajka for using his best judgement . I lost respect for Gov. Cuomo for his method of ramming this law down everybody's throats. What was the rush? Publicity? He destroyed our trust in him and now must we lose faith in the constitution as well? Thank you to the DA for being sensible and restoring our confidence in the system to some extent.

  • codesguy posted at 5:12 pm on Fri, May 24, 2013.

    codesguy Posts: 125

    Great job, counselor. It's nice to know that there is some semblance of sanity
    in the judicial system, especially on the prosecutorial side. Keep up the good work the people of Columbia County have no idea how lucky they are to have you as their DA. Now all we have to do is wait for Mr. Keeler to present his ramblings.

  • Brian G posted at 3:38 pm on Fri, May 24, 2013.

    Brian G Posts: 40

    "Dean has been quoted as saying that he was unaware of the law."

    Ignorance of the law is not a defense.

    And... how is that even possible, with all the carrying on about this law since it was enacted?

  • The Crunch Man posted at 3:34 pm on Fri, May 24, 2013.

    The Crunch Man Posts: 2

    I am glad to see the local Sheriffs, and now the local District Attorneys standing up to this unjust law that criminalizes, harasses, and targets lawful citizens that have done nothing wrong.
    I don't necessarily take a side with this particular defendant , but it looks like this law is already paving the way for harassment of the public. The real people that should have charges brought against them are the legislatures, and our governor for exploiting a tragedy, and making a law that criminalizes, harasses, and targets lawful citizens, just so Andrew can advance his political career.
    What legislatures need to understand is that when you legislate and make laws that harasses, and criminalizes some several million New Yorkers, it changes the very relationship between lawful citizens, and law enforcement, and that is good for no one. I think this DA, and the Sheriffs understand that, but not our law makers obviously do not.

  • ghent12 posted at 3:12 pm on Fri, May 24, 2013.

    ghent12 Posts: 29

    Columbia County has a history of elected officials selectively fulfilling their duties. This will be a blot on Czajka's reputation, just as when Beth Cozzolino declined to prosecute Leandra’s Law.

  • The Crunch Man posted at 2:42 pm on Fri, May 24, 2013.

    The Crunch Man Posts: 2

    I am glad to see the local Sheriffs, and now the local District Attorneys making statements, and standing up to this law that criminalizes, harasses, and targets lawful citizens. The people that should really have charges brought against them are the legislatures, and the Governor that made the law that we can already see is being used to harass the public. This law violates, peoples very basic human rights ( the part that states you have to dis guard your own property) These legislatures, and the governor should have human rights violations levied against them. I would love to see them try to pull this on a liberal persons rights.
    BTW for the record that cop that charged him with this is a disgrace to the badge, and a waist of taxpayers money..

  • Stu posted at 1:51 pm on Fri, May 24, 2013.

    Stu Posts: 1

    Great job by DA Czajka in not prosecuting this Safe Act charge! He took his oath seriously to defend the Constitution!

  • dpetteys posted at 1:41 pm on Fri, May 24, 2013.

    dpetteys Posts: 1

    It is the duty of every citizen to disobey an unconstitutional law. In this case Mr. Dean did int unknowingly, however he did it and that is what counts. What further counts and sends a refreshing message to all who recognize the tyranny embodied in Governor Cuomo's assault on the 2nd Amendment and the Civil Rights Law of NY State, is that District Attorney Paul Czajka knows what his duty is to the people. This is a critical victory for liberty.

  • eman223 posted at 1:30 pm on Fri, May 24, 2013.

    eman223 Posts: 1

    This is a great decision by the District Attorney. He has stood up for individual Liberty and The Constitution. This law is so ridiculous and will do nothing to deter criminals from violating the law. I can only HOPE that there are like minded DAs throughout the state that refuse to prosecute nonsense like this. Kudos to you DA Czajka

  • littlewarlikeone posted at 12:55 pm on Fri, May 24, 2013.

    littlewarlikeone Posts: 177

    way to go czajka.. never knew you had it in you..thumbs up.. @styvesantview..you have a flair for the dramatic..unsafe vehicle? having a plate light out makes a vehicle unsafe? high capacity firearm? that doesnt make sense he had a pistol with a STANDARD capacity nagazine in it...a high capacity magazine for that pistol is 15 and 20 rnd not 9..even if you call an apple an orange its still a apple

  • Good Ole Gus posted at 11:57 am on Fri, May 24, 2013.

    Good Ole Gus Posts: 134

    Hey Cuomo, the "SAFE ACT" ain't the law in Columbia County!!!! Czajka is the big boss here not you!!!!

  • outofthisworld posted at 10:12 am on Fri, May 24, 2013.

    outofthisworld Posts: 3

    @ Toby. The DA has the legal ability to prosecute, dismiss, or lesson the charge against an individual, it doesn't matter what an unconstitutional "law" says. Cuomo is the person that needs to be fired immediately. Pushing his own political agenda under the cloak of darkness and without the 3 day waiting period so there wasn't any public opposition toward his suppression, affecting everyone's constitutional rights, yeah, fired. Something that serious needed to be thought through more carefully, making sure the i's were dotted and t's were crossed. That did not happen as he needed to be the first announcing it nationally. Didn't matter how it affected the citizen, as long as he hit the national news, that's what mattered. Fire him!

  • jdogg22 posted at 10:07 am on Fri, May 24, 2013.

    jdogg22 Posts: 4

    doesn't matter if Spilbor is a FOX news contributor, DA Czajka took a position in this case. The DA should be congratulated for standing up for the common man, a person who is allowed to have a 10 round magazine and lawfully load the magazine at a shooting range, forgets to take two rounds out.....this person should not be jailed for such a violation......maybe the person that doesn't like Fox News should look at Benghazi, the IRS targeting certain people and DOJ targeting media reporters.........if anything, DA Czajka takes a position and doesn't use the common liberal answer, "I don't recall", "I just learned about it from the news", or better yet, "I don't know where I was"...............maybe if more people looked into all sides of an issue, they would make better decisions and understand that the DA did an awesome job here...........

  • stuyvesantview posted at 9:54 am on Fri, May 24, 2013.

    stuyvesantview Posts: 175

    Wow, white guy drives without a license in an unsafe vehicle with a high-capacity firearm (currently illegal) and gets off in Columbia County?

    If he were a Chechen he'd be on his way to Gitmo. Would a Fox News attorney be defending his 2nd Amendment Rights then or would they be yowling about immigration and terrorists?

    But the interesting questions of just what the DA "is" prosecuting were not addressed. I hear that prosecutions are down 30-40% since Czajka took prosecutions away from local law enforcement. Word is local constables aren't bothering to write traffic tickets because the DA is a no show. Miracle is that this guy got pulled over at all---or was the whole "crime" just a "Faux News" scam? Hmmmm....? Maybe Czajka smelled a rat?

  • Redneck posted at 9:46 am on Fri, May 24, 2013.

    Redneck Posts: 70

    And who said Czajka was not a good DA?.. Way to stand up.. You got my vote for anything you run for.

  • brianjconway posted at 9:24 am on Fri, May 24, 2013.

    brianjconway Posts: 567

    Just a note in the margin. Fox news conservative commenters have been vocal in opposition to the SAFE Act and other knee jerk hastily passed anti-gun laws in other states. Deans attorney Jonna Spilbor is in addition to her law practice, a Fox News legal analyst and news contributor.

  • StuyvesantviewToo posted at 9:14 am on Fri, May 24, 2013.

    StuyvesantviewToo Posts: 62

    Bravo to DA Czajka for exercising the judgment we expect of a District Attorney!

  • Toby posted at 8:45 am on Fri, May 24, 2013.

    Toby Posts: 13

    This is appalling. How can he not uphold a law that has been legally passed? He needs to be fired immediately.

  • Joeybar posted at 6:15 am on Fri, May 24, 2013.

    Joeybar Posts: 368

    Good job !!!!!

    When the safeact is repealed i'm sure the state would give a refund with