Saturday, June 28, 2008

Wyoming man acquitted by jury : "A 12-person jury declared Randal Cosgrove not guilty of attempted second-degree murder and not guilty of aggravated assault Friday. Cosgrove, 47, was accused of shooting his fiance’s 43-year-old son, Joe Hansen in September. Cosgrove’s attorneys, Greg Blenkinsop and Traci Sampson, argued that Cosgrove acted in self-defense when he shot at Hansen. Cosgrove said in a taped interview with Teton County Sheriff’s Office investigators that he shot at the tires of Hansen’s car when Hansen tried to run him over. Blenkinsop argued that Hansen’s recollection of events the night of the shooting were ever-changing and unreliable. He said there was a shortage of physical evidence and there was no way to know “beyond a reasonable doubt” that Cosgrove was not acting legally in self-defense when he fired at Hansen.

Vermont man cleared: "A St. Albans man has been found not guilty for shooting another man on a city street. Matthew Martel, 22, was charged with aggravated assault with a weapon last August. Police say he shot Jonathan Bushee, 20, in the leg during a confrontation on Federal Street. Martel told police he shot Bushee in self-defense. A jury cleared Martel of the crime." [Background here]

McCain applauds ruling: "Presumptive Republican presidential nomine John McCain criticized his Democratic rival Thursday, accusing Barack Obama of having "elitist" gun views. The comments came after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the District of Columbia's 32-year-old ban on handguns and ruled that Americans have the right to own guns for self-defense and hunting, The Financial Times reported. McCain hailed the ruling as a "landmark victory" for gun rights. Referring to remarks Obama made during the primary campaign, McCain said Obama is out of touch with Americans on gun rights. "Unlike the elitist view that believes Americans cling to guns out of bitterness, today's ruling recognizes that gun ownership is a fundamental right -- sacred, just as the right to free speech and assembly," the Arizona senator said."

Obama waffles: "Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama Thursday sought to clarify his position on a Supreme Court ruling striking down a Washington gun ban. The high court struck down the District of Columbia's 32-year-old ban on handgun possession, ruling that Americans have a constitutional right to keep guns in their homes for self-defense. When asked about his reaction, Obama disputed the one outlined earlier by his campaign, ABC News reported. When a reporter noted in November that the District's handgun law was constitutional, Obama distanced himself from the campaign, the network reported. "I don't know what my aide said but I've been very consistent, I teach constitutional law," Obama said. "What I said was that I believe Second Amendment as being an individual right and have said that consistently. I also think that individual right is constrained by the rights of the community to maintain issues with public safety. I don't think those two principles are contradictory and in fact what I've been saying consistently is what the Supreme Court essentially said today." Obama, the junior senator from Illinois, said although the District's gun ban was overturned, the court did affirm the right of local communities to engage in background checks and other "common sense laws."

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