of Walter Reddy: Patriot's Legally Owned Guns Seized
is the patriotic organizer of the Committees of Safety, arguably
a founding father of the modern Tea Party movement, and his right
to keep and bear arms has been taken from him. It doesn't matter
that he has committed no crimes, and has not been charged with a
crime. A Connecticut judge told him at a hearing that Reddy had
no right to an attorney and that "I'm ready to rule" to
take Reddy's guns away before the patriotic organizer had the chance
to say one word in his defense.
Ready had organized
the first modern-day Tea Party rally, a December
2007 rally at Boston's Faneuil Hall that featured the then-little-known
Rand Paul as a keynote speaker. Rand Paul, an eye surgeon and son
of Rep. Ron Paul, has since gone on to become the most prominent
U.S. senator associated with the Tea Party movement.
facts are undisputed by both sides of the legal dispute over possession
- Police in
Weston, Connecticut, based in part upon an unsubstantiated FBI
statement that Reddy was a "person of interest" in a
domestic terrorism investigation, executed a search and seizure
warrant at Reddy's home on February 14 that involved the local
SWAT team. The police took a pump-action shotgun and an antique
revolver from Reddy.
Reddy has no criminal record of any kind.
- Reddy was
never charged with a crime, but his legally held guns were taken
from him anyway. He is, however, a widely known constitutional
political activist and persistent critic of big government.
- Reddy repeatedly
asked for an opportunity to get a lawyer before a February 25
hearing on possession of his guns, and was denied his request
- The chief
witness brought by the state against Reddy explicitly stated that
Reddy had never acted in a threatening or violent way.
- No other
witness even attempted to claim that Reddy was threatening or
that he wasn't given the opportunity to get a lawyer [for the hearing]
is just wrong," Reddy's lawyer Joseph
Secola told The New American. "It just seems to
me that he was not accorded the necessary due process of law. He
asked repeatedly for a continuance to get counsel and it was repeatedly
the hearing transcript provided by Secola, Connecticut Superior
Court Judge Bruce Hudock ruled that, because Connecticut law requires
a hearing within 14 days of a seizure of private property, the judge
couldn't delay the hearing long enough for Reddy to hire a lawyer.
"Well, as I read before I turn to the State as
I read the statute, in particular, 29-38c(d), it says no later than
fourteen days after the execution of the warrant, the Court shall
hold a hearing to determine whether the seized firearms should be
returned to the person, or held for the State for a period not longer
than one year. So I see a 'shall,' and shall means that there is
no shall means shall. That means weve got to have a
hearing in my opinion."
stressed that the purpose of the 14-day limit in the Connecticut
law is to protect the property owner, not the state. "When
he says that the law forces me to deny the continuance, that's absurd....
The law can be waived by the party getting the benefit of the legal
right," Secola told The New American, who termed the
judge's ruling "legal error" subject to appeal. In Reddy's
case, the lawyer he had initially selected to represent him had
a court date for another client that day and couldn't appear at
the scheduled hearing on such short notice. "This guy was just
railroaded throughout the entire process," Secola concluded.
How badly was
Reddy railroaded? Not only was he denied an opportunity to get a
lawyer, Judge Hudock told Reddy at the beginning of the case: "Unless
you have anything further to say, Im ready to rule."
The unusual part of that statement was that the judge said this
before Reddy had the chance to give any testimony, call any witnesses,
or present any evidence. How could the judge have possibly been
"ready to rule" fairly without hearing both sides first?
Reddy did have
something to say in his own defense. But not surprisingly, the judge
ruled: "The court finds that ... you are a risk of imminent
personal injury to other individuals." He ordered Reddy's guns
be kept from him for a full year.
How the court
came to such a conclusion is interesting, and possibly frightening
for conservative political activists in present-day America.
the rest of the article
him mail] is a high school history teacher in
Southeastern Massachusetts and a freelance writer who contributes
to The New American,
AntiWar.com and – of
course – LewRockwell.com.
© 2011 The New American
R. Eddlem Archives