State drops gun charges it could not prove against Jacksonville man

After holding a man in jail for weeks, the state finally let him go after prosecutors admitted they could not prove charges against him.  The charges came after a May gun battle at a gas station that wounded two men, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. One man was found shot in a car at the gas station while police were led to another in a nearby apartment, where the man who was arrested lived with his girlfriend, the newspaper reported. The girlfriend allowed police to search the home and found two guns in a child’s toy bin, the newspaper reported. The 23-year-old suspect, who has a prior felony conviction for dealing in stolen property, was charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, the newspaper reported. The charge is a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in state prison.

The man said he did not know how the guns got into the bin and also denied that he ran into the apartment after the shooting, as some witnesses told police. Prosecutors dropped the charges because of the lack evidence and they could not prove the case against him beyond a reasonable doubt, the newspaper reported. No other arrests have been made in the case. One tactic police use in cases like these where there are likely multiple shooters and a lack of evidence, is to try to arrest someone and get them to talk in exchange for a reduced sentence. One of the charges police typically use is possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. It’s typically easy to prove – all prosecutors need to prove is that the man is a felon and he had a gun. In this Jacksonville Gun Crimes Case, however, proof a possession was the problem.

Once someone is convicted of a felony, the person loses their right to own a firearm. There are also other rights that are given up, including the right to vote and the right to work in law enforcement or other places that require a federal or state security clearance.   The case shows the importance of checks and balances in the criminal court system. Police make the arrest, but prosecutors must then take those facts and ultimately proof the case beyond a reasonable doubt to a jury of the suspect’s peers. A fraction of cases actually go to trial, and it’s also rare for prosecutors to drop felony gun charges once they have been filed.  Much of the work in Jacksonville Gun Crimes cases comes way before trial. Prosecutors typically have strong feeling they can prove the case before it gets that far. Jacksonville Criminal Defense Attorneys can investigate the charges and present evidence or make arguments to the prosecutors about the lack of evidence that could lead to the charges being dropped, as they were in this Jacksonville Gun Crimes Case.

If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a FREE CONSULTATION. Our Jacksonville Gun Crimes Attorney, Victoria “Tori” Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.