Sunday, September 20, 2015

OR: Judge Follows Law, orders Rifle Returned to Owner

In Oregon, a teen-aged young man stole his brothers rifle, ammunition, magazines, and a bag to carry them in from his brothers locked pelican case.  He also stole his father's .25 pistol from his father's locked cabinet.  The young man then committed murder with the stolen rifle, followed by suicide.  No prosecution is planned in the case, because the perpetrator is dead.

The brother has asked that his rather expensive stolen property be returned (the rifle and accessories are valued at over $2,000.)  The city administration refused to return the rifle, citing a vague "evidence" requirement.  From
Court documents show that Lucas Padgett is asking the following items be returned:
  • 1 Daniel Defense armament DDM4 carbine rifle (a variation on the well-known AR-15)
  • 8 30-round Magpul magazines
  • Several hundred rounds of ammunition
  • 1 "plate carrier" bulletproof vest
  • 1 U.S. Army-issued laundry bag  
The case finally went to court, a major expense that may exceed the value of the rifle.  Lucas Pagett appears to be taking a principled position that the rifle is his property; that he has not committed any crime; and that the government has no right to keep his property without any due process.  From the
In the papers he says the items are 'no longer needed for evidentiary purposes' by police, and that he has 'never been charged with any offense connected' with the weapon.
The judge in the case, Michael Greenlick, has ordered the city to return the rifle and accessories to the owner.  He gives them 45 days to file an appeal.  The judge should be applauded for resisting the emotional demands by disarmists and the media to destroy the valuable property. 

To do so would be a return to the superstition of the Middle Ages, where it was held that inanimate objects could be judged responsible for illegal acts.  This was known as deodand law.  But even Medieval deodand law did not call for the destruction of the instrument, but rather its confiscation by the state to be used for godly purposes.  From
In English law, "a personal chattel which, having been the immediate cause of the death of a person, was forfeited to the Crown to be applied to pious uses." Abolished 1846.

The modern proponents of the deodand theory do not want confiscated firearms sold, and the proceeds used to better society.  Rather, they want them destroyed as political theater demonstrating the firearms themselves are "evil" and destruction of them is a pious act in the Church of Progressive Causes.   In this case, the judge followed the rule of law, rather than the rule of political correctness, though he notes the latter:  From
"The thought of the weapons that ... were used to commit that horrific crime going back into the community is objectionable, in sort of a general moral outrage sense. For sure, I get that," the judge said. "But unless there is a law prohibiting it, then the law as I read it requires that the property be returned."
There are a number of comments on that article that call for the destruction of the rifle for purely emotional reasons.   From the comments: 

@MadBum Nothing wrong with that rifle that can't be fixed with an acetylene torch.

@Max Quinn @World B.  I would guess the gun is probably the most rational thinking member of this family

If a weapon is used in a homicide, it should be destroyed. Period.
These are purely emotional responses, contrary to what is ordinarily done with other legal property involved in deaths.  As a society, we do not require that vehicles involved in fatal traffic accidents be destroyed as an offering to the gods of political correctness.   We do not require that private houses where a murder has occurred by bull dozed to appease the Church of Progressivism, though it is a logical next step to require that gun owners homes be destroyed if a gun they had stolen was used in a murder.

Property is an extension of a persons life.  People expend their time and energy to legally acquire property.   Property is required in order to live.  Property is required in order to exercise and take advantage of the protections of the First, Second, Third, Fourth, and Fifth, Sixth, Seventh,  Eighth, and by extension, Tenth amendments to the Constitution.

Without property rights, the other rights are rendered moot.

Judge Michael Greenlick did the right thing in this case.  It would have been even better if he had chastised those who called for the abrogation of the rule of law in order to push an emotional, political agenda.

 Definition of disarmist

©2015 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.  Link to Gun Watch


Anonymous said...

I had a court ordered return once. the arresting officer scratched his name in the bluing and before the rifle was returned the gas piston was broken in half. It took three weeks to get the rifle out of the arresting officers car trunk. If I were to hand back a rifle the way he did I would have been arrested for assault.

Anonymous said...

His name is on the rifle? Maybe it should be "returned" to him.