Thursday, September 28, 2023

MT Gun Free School Zone Case: Gabriel Metcalf out of Jail, GPS Monitor $9.50 per Day

 Vivian and Gabriel's modest home in Billings, Montana


Gabriel Metcalf is out of jail, but with a GPS ankle monitor, for which he must pay $9.50 a day, or nearly $300 a month.

In the Gun Free School Zone case in Billings, Montana, Gabriel Metcalf had pre-trial detention without bail changed to release on his own recognizance, due to the facts and the excellent work done by his Federal Defender, Russell Hart. Judge Cavan realized Gabriel was not a threat, and released him with some restrictions.

As Gabriel was about to be released, the Yellowstone Detention Facility administration told him he could not leave.  Someone had discovered a warrant for his arrest. Russell Hart said something to the effect of: we have an order from the judge for his release.

The response was, you are a federal attorney. This is a local matter. You have no say in local matters. The warrant was said to exist, but it was not served until Saturday, in court. At some point on Saturday, Gabriel was brought before a local judge, who approved of bail with restrictions. Gabriel was not supplied with a public defender at this point. This correspondent has been informed, if the defendant pleads "not guilty" it is not required for an attorney to be present at the initial appearance. Law enforcement sources have told this correspondent this is considered a valid tactical timing decision.

It appears Gabriel plead not guilty. One of the restrictions is for Gabriel to wear a GPS monitor, for which he is required to pay $9.50 per day. This correspondent is not aware of other restrictions placed on Gabriel, but they may exist.

The primary concern at the moment is for Gabriel to obtain adequate council for the local charge. It is a misdemeanor nearly three years old which appears to be a "he said - she said" incident.  With proper representation, many reasonable outcomes are possible.

The record keeping and communications systems in Billings seems to have significant weaknesses. The Billings Police Management publicly claim they could do nothing for weeks, because Gabriel was breaking no local laws. Apparently, all during this period, this old arrest warrant was available.  During Gabriel's month in pre-trial detention under the federal Gun Free School Zone Act, no one seemed to find this old warrant. Somehow, it was found just in time to prevent Gabriel from leaving the jail just as he was being released on his own recognizance for the federal charge.

David Carpenter, with a felony trial coming up, was not required to wear a GPS ankle monitor after only few months without a reported problem. David had five misdemeanor convictions and is the person who Gabriel and Vivian have the order of protection against.

Three hundred dollars a month is a considerable amount when you are on the edge of paying your bills. Gabriel and his mother went into debt to survive, keep their home, and keep the utilities on when Vivian was ill with covid and pnemonia for two months, just before Gabriel's arrest on the Gun Free School Zone charge. Gabriel had to care for her while she could not work.

Vivian, Gabriel’s mother, has set up a GiveSendGo site to help defend their home, the Second Amendment, and work to free Gabriel from this peculiar lack of a public defender and three year old charges.

 ©2023 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

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