Saturday, January 31, 2015

Does Marin Prosecutor Beberian have an Unhealthy Obsession with Guns?

More evidence has surfaced that California's Marin County Prosecutor, Ed Berberian, has a bias, perhaps even an obsession, against gun owners and self defense.  Six months ago Dr. James Simon defended himself and his wife of 38 years from an aggressive driver who followed him to his home, drove his Mercedes part way into the Simon's garage to prevent the door from closing, and persisted in invading the home after two warning shots were fired.   Doctor Simon shot the man and called the police.

Berberian prosecuted anyway.  He has a history of aggressively prosecuting self defense cases, especially those who use guns, according to commenters from Marin County.   From

In the other case I mention, a person was arrested after shooting a knife- wielding attacker who had broken into the victim's house through the window while the victim was on the phone with the 911 dispatcher. The victim had never committed a crime in their life and had a restraining order against the attacker. The victim had called the police many times about the attacker. The attacker got in through the broken window, lunged at the victim to wrest the gun away and was shot and killed. The victim was charged with murder by our Marin DA but the judge threw out the charge, so the DA is now pursuing manslaughter charges against the victim. The victim is still in jail after many months, awaiting trial, cannot afford the bail amount. I read in the IJ that the DA will push for 21 years prison time, because he used a gun. 21 years for defending yourself in your own home against an armed intruder while you are on the phone to 911? REALLY?!

The evidence in the case involving Dr. Simon was so one sided, that the judge dismissed it at a preliminary hearing.  Berberian did not like the result, and said so in public:
“I’m very disappointed in the ruling. I think it sends the wrong message to the community. Since I have been DA, I have been extremely sensitive to the issue of gun violence. I don’t want that in our community. We have to have some community standards,” Berberian said.
Dr. Simon has an extensive gun collection of over 50 firearms, mostly WWII collectibles and hunting guns.  Such a collection could be worth tens of thousands of dollars.  All of the guns were registered and legal under California's highly restrictive gun laws.  Given Berberian's obsession with "gun violence", the possession of over 50 guns might subject Dr. Simon to more prosecutorial attention than otherwise.   Berberian has gone so far as to encourage families to get rid of toy guns.  From
Berberian is joining forces with the Center for Domestic Peace and Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream to encourage families to get rid of toy guns and violent video games.
Berberian has pushed for legislation making it a crime to possess a toy gun that does not have an orange or red tip on the muzzle.  From
Frustrated by the situation, Berberian called Assemblyman Marc Levine to see if there is a way to introduce legislation making it a misdemeanor offense to possess an altered toy gun.
Berberian pushed for symbolic gun "buy back" turn-in programs that criminologists have repeatedly said have no measurable effect.   Economist Steven D. Levitt of "Freakonomics" fame agrees that they are not effective in fighting crime.  But they make strident political theater, screaming out the message: Guns Are Bad.  Turn Them In!   From
A second gun buyback event is scheduled for Monday at the Mill Valley Police Department, but Berberian said people surrendering guns there will be told they won't receive any money. The buyback is scheduled for 11 a.m. to 3 p.m..
Berberian decided to act on his disappointment with the judges ruling in Dr. Simon's case.  He convened a grand jury, and Dr. Simon faces another indictment before another judge today, 30 January.    Berberian is personally prosecuting the case.  From
The case is being prosecuted personally by District Attorney Ed Berberian.
Prosecutors whose cases are dismissed at preliminary hearings can refile charges or take evidence to grand juries without violating defendants’ double-jeopardy rights, said legal analyst Steve Clark, a former Santa Clara County prosecutor who now works as a defense attorney.

“He gets one more bite at the apple,” Clark said.

But Clark added, “The question becomes, why are they doing it? Is it vindictive prosecution, that you’re sort of piling on a case that shouldn’t be done, or is there new or different information?”
Marin County has a low crime rate, so perhaps DA Berberian has a lot of time on his hands.  Time he can use to push prosecutions of upstanding elderly doctors who defend their families.    After all, it is not his money.  And maybe, just maybe, he will be able to destroy a doctor's life and 50 some collectible guns.  He has to send a "message".  After all, its "for the children".    No matter how many innocent lives have to be destroyed. 

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

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