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Shame, Shame, Shame on the Government

Liz Gini, Las Vegas Tribune Dec 31, 2004


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They can break laws in order to induce you to do the same.

They can lie under oath and judges do nothing. They can video tape you for hours, then edit everything out of the tape which might exonerate you. Then they can present it in court as evidence against you.

Thanks to all the new Homeland Security laws and John Ash[croft], they no longer even need a search warrant to invade the sanctity of your home. All they have to say is they believe you present a terrorist threat. Shame shame shame on the government. Who are the terrorists now?

It's been said the government could indict a ham sandwich if they were so inclined. Well, if you don't believe me, I'll introduce you to Danny Peterson.

Who is Danny Petersen? He is Mr. Ham Sandwich. Mr. Middle-class American. He was born, raised and educated in America. So were his parents. So were his grandparents. So were their grandparents. He's not a terrorist. He's not Tim McVeigh.

Danny's been married for 26 years, and that's to the same woman. He has two kids and is grandpa to four. It's a good thing Danny and his wife are young grandparents because they are raising two of their grandkids.

Danny drove a truck for 25 years. He's owned several businesses, made payroll, paid his taxes.

[S]hame on the government. It's against the law to purchase a gun in Nevada if you are not a Nevada resident. Not only did these BATF agents commit federal felonies by conspiring to purchase guns for a California resident, one of them falsified federal forms to do so.

The sting went like this: Day one, Ms. Anderson from California told Danny she wanted to purchase guns as wedding presents for her fiancée.

Fifteen years ago, Danny obtained a Federal Firearms License to sell guns. For someone like me, who pays someone else to file my income tax because the forms are too complicated, complying with 250-plus pages of Federal Firearms Regulations might be a bit intimidating. But not for Danny; and comply he has. With no problems for fifteen years.

In 46 years, Danny has never had a run-in with the law... except for one speeding ticket.

Just like most of us, he has committed no felonies, violated no laws. That is, until three agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF) decided to set him up. Well, I call it a set up. His attorney calls it INDUCEMENT and ENTRAPMENT.

Entrapment, as a matter of law, requires a showing that the government furnished the opportunity to break the law, and that Defendant was not predisposed to violate that law.

Hampton v. United States and Jacobson v. United States illustrates the standard. There, the Defendant ordered two magazines of nude boys which was then legal. Over a 2 year period beginning in 1985 two government agencies and five fictitious organizations explored his willingness to break a newly enacted law relating to minors, which, after years of government coaxing, he finally did. It was held that he was entrapped because he had no predisposition to break the law and did so because of the government.

Back to the ham sandwich. It was BATF agent Anderson's first sting. The most senior of the two male agents involved in thesting, Chris Bort and Tim Watkins, had been four year BATF veterans ... Bad example for Agent Anderson, guys. Then you had her lie on the witness stand. Shame shame from Nevada. Danny said no, she coult not get the guns, the purchaser of the gun must be a Nevada resident.

Day two, Anderson returned with Chris, then again with her fiancee, Tim (Nevada resident). Money passed between them. Guns were bought by the Nevada resident. Agent Anderson would later testify under oath this was not her sting and she was not there.

But, by golly, there she is on the video tape for the jury to see and hear.

The BATF did not want the jury to see the video tape without a 'transcript'. Danny found three dozen deletions or errors in this tape, and called them to the attention of Judge Howard McKibben, who ruled the jury would view the video without reading the inaccurate transcript.

To convict Danny Petersen these three BATF agents spent hours planning dialog, filming, editing that film, and preparing a transcript to enter into evidence. United States Attorney, Darin LaHood and his staff, spent days preparing for trial.

And what did they have?

During the presentation of the firearms to the undercover agents, Danny specifically told them he would sell them guns, "As long as it's legal."

To which one agent replied, "We have another option."

Did Danny say, "What would that be?"

Did Danny say, "Can I help you with that?"

Did Danny say, "Be careful"?

NO! He said, "I don't want to know."

These BATF agents were telling him they were going to break the law. They were basically threatening to take their business to someone who knows how to get around the law.

Danny Petersen did not want any part of breaking the law. He didn't even want to know about it. Danny Petersen told these BATF agents he didn't even want to hear about their "other options" for purchasing guns. Just like other successful businessmen, he wanted to sell his product, "As long as it's legal."

I submit to you that if three government agents ... let's say from the IRS... tried to entrap you, then edited the tape to fit their scenario, you very well could have been Mr. Ham Sandwich sitting on the hot seat two weeks ago facing a federal jury.

A famous Las Vegan who often stood in court used to say "Shame shame shame on the government." That famous Las Vegan is your mayor, Oscar Goodman.

Liz Gini is a Certified Legal Assistant employed by the law office of Robert Glennen III Esq. She is the author of two book and is presently completing "The Abuses of Child Protective Services." Copyright 2004.

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