Connecticut Gun Owners Guns Confiscated After Allegedly Making Private Threats
Connecticut appears to treat gun owners differently than anti-gun activists.
Last week, an anti-gun activist was caught allegedly threatening a Connecticut politician.
“If I had a gun, Id blow away Sampson and a large group of NRA,” a photo of a text message she was in the midst of creating revealed.
The sender of the text was escorted out but faced no further punishment.
“We investigated it and we didnt feel there was a threat,” Lt. Glen Richards of the Connecticut Capitol Police stated.
When a Connecticut gun owner made similar private threats, however, the full force of the law was employed against him.
On Aug. 29, 2014, Edward “Ted” Taupier, of Cromwell, Connecticut, was part of an email discussion when he said this about his divorced judge, Elizabeth Bozzuto: “Bozzuto lives in Watertown with her boys and Na! … There [are] 245 [yards] between her master bedroom and a cemetery that provides cover and concealment. They could try and put me in jail but that would start the ringing of a bell that can be undone.”
At the time he wrote the email, Bozzuto had ordered no contact between Taupier and his two children for more than three months, he told The Daily Caller.
Bozzuto was not one of the recipients of the email; instead, it was a discussion between other court litigants and activists.
One of the recipients, Jennifer Verraneault, days later shared the email with an individual at the Greater Hartford Legal Aid Society, a state legislator and others. A copy made its way to the Connecticut Judicial Marshals before Bozzuto received a screenshot, Taupier said.
Verraneault and Bozzuto did not return emails for comment.
This triggered an investigation and on Aug. 29, 2014, the Connecticut State Police filed a risk warrant against Taupier.
That risk warrant cited Taupiers gun collection: “That an inquiry through the State of Connecticut Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection Special Licensing and Firearm Unit database revealed Edward Taupier has a valid Connecticut pistol permit and twelve firearms.”
“If a referral was made to the Connecticut State Police it would have to be investigated fully,” a representative of the Connecticut State Police told the Caller, noting further that a risk warrant was determined to be appropriate.
Risk warrants are the result of so-called red flag laws and Connecticut was the first to pass such a law in 1999.
They allow law enforcement to temporarily remove firearms from individuals deemed dangerous without that individual being charged with a crime as long as a judge signs a warrant.
The risk warrant against Taupier was as a result of Connecticuts “red flag law.” Taupier said the Connecticut State Police used overwhelming force to execute the warrant.
“It took 15 members of SEAL Team Six to kill Bin Laden, but 75 to 100 SWAT members to arrest me,” Taupier said.
Though not charged with a crime, Taupiers guns were confiscated, he was taken into custody and Taupier said his bond was in excess of $1 million. He was also placed on two ankle monitors with a GPS device monitoring.
Connecticut Judge David Gold, who ordered the restrictions, did not respond to a request for comment.
Ironically, Judge Bozzuto recused herself from Taupiers divorce and the judge who replaced her ordered visitation for Taupier starting in December 2014.
Even though the risk warrant was later dismissed, Taupier was kept on ankle monitors and his guns stayed confiscated until he was formally charged on Nov. 14, 2014. Taupier opted for a bench trial, but before a decision could be made, the U.S. Supreme Court made a pertinent decision.
In Elonis vs. United States, the court heard another case involving a threat made in a divorce. In the case, Anthony Elonis said on Facebook, referring to his ex-wife, “Took all the strength I had not to turn the bitch ghost. Pull my knife, flick my wrist, and slit her throat.”
The U.S. Supreme Court, in an 8-1 decision, reversed a lower court and said those words did not constitute a “true threat.” Chief Justice John Roberts authored the majority opinion and argued that because Elonis did not have mens rea, a guilty mind, it was not enough to convict.
In light of the foregoing, Eloniss conviction cannot stand. The jury was instructed that the government need prove only that a reasonable person would regard Eloniss communications as threats, and that was an error. Federal criminal liability generally does not turn solely on the results of an act without considering the defendants mental state. That understanding took deep and early root in American soil and Congress left it in here: Under Section 875, “wrongdoing must be conscious to be criminal.”
Judge Gold was not convinced: “The objective test described in Krijger as the means of determining what constitutes a true threat continues to be good law in Connecticut even after Elonis.”
Supreme Court Chief Justice of the United States John G. Roberts, Jr. waits for the arrival of Former president George H.W. Bush to lie in State at the U.S. Capitol Rotunda on Capitol Hill on Monday, Dec. 03, 2018 in Washington, DC. Jabin Botsford/Pool via Reuters
State v. Krijger, the case cited by Judge Gold, also appears to be a poor precedent because the threat was made directly to the person.
“The defendant was alleged to have made threatening statements to a town attorney immediately after the conclusion of a court hearing at which the town attorney advised the court of the towns intention to seek to impose fines against the defendant for his continued zoning violations.” Judge Gold stated in his decision.
Even though the Krijger threat was made directly to the person, unlike in Taupiers case, was still found guilty.
Judge Gold ruled that Taupiers private email did constitute a “true threat” the legal standard he used to convict:
Using rhetorical embellishments to drive home the point, the defendants language was the rough equivalent of “I am going to shoot Judge Bozzuto and there is nothing she can do to stop me” — thereby reasonably suggesting that the defendant had become desperate enough not only to make the threat but also to carry it out.
Judge Gold even noted law enforcement tested Taupiers guns: “Trooper Matthew Eagleston, of the Connecticut State Police, a firearms expert, inspected and test fired those four weapons (from those taken from Taupier) and concluded that each was fully operable and capable of accurately firing a projectile 245 yards.”
Sunny Kelley was one of the recipients of the email and she disagrees.
“Ted was convicted for hRead More