Friday, April 07, 2006

Emery related gun charges dropped

In an update to an earlier story the felony firearm possession charges that Maryam Williams faced have been dropped. The charges stem from an incident last month where Williams's daughter accidentally took a bag containing the handgun from the trunk of her car on her way to Emery Elementary School. The D.C. Superior Court judge, Magistrate Judge Ronald A. Goodbread, dismissed the charges after he found that prosecutors did not have adequate evidence that the mother herself was in possession of the handgun outside her home.
The District has one of the nation's strictest gun control laws, barring anyone but a law enforcement officer from carrying a gun within city limits. But the statute sets a strict standard, and proving that a person possessed a gun can be difficult, particularly when it is not on the person when it is seized. To prove the felony charge, the gun must be carried outside the person's residence.

The fact that the gun was in the trunk, which was locked, was not necessarily enough to prove the charge. Complicating matters, Williams gave police three addresses when she was arrested -- two in the District, including one where her mother lives, and one in Maryland. Prosecutors tried to convince the judge that Williams had carried the gun on a District street, from her car into her mother's home on North Capitol Street, and that she had carried the gun inside her mother's home.

But Williams's attorney, Premal Dharia of the D.C. Public Defender Service, challenged that argument, and without more precise evidence about where and when Williams carried the gun, Goodbread was unwilling to let the charge stand.

Even as he ruled in Williams's favor, Goodbread had little good to say about her actions, calling her conduct "stupid and potentially tragic."

No comments: