Thursday, July 24, 2008

Juror Arrested for Bringing a Gun to Austin Courthouse

There are plenty of ways in which people have attempted to get out of that civic responsibility called "jury duty.” During voir dire, I have seen people respond aggressively when questioned about the subject of the case – something like, “I’ve had three relatives die at the hands of car thieves and I believe all car thieves should be shot on sight.” Others, amazingly, have had to attend the funeral of the same grandmother three times. And, there are those who simply ignore the fact that the notice ever arrived in the mail. Clayton Robinson found another way to avoid that uncomfortable chair in a jury box … he got arrested!

Mr. Robinson was going through security metal detectors to prepare for a day of intense concentration on witness testimony in a civil case. Unfortunately, as he was preparing to empty his clothing, he realized that he still had a gun in his rear pocket. Robinson was arrested for carrying a weapon in a prohibited place, which is a third-degree felony in Texas. Under Texas Penal Code 46.03, those with permits to carry a concealed weapon are still prohibited from bringing the gun "on the premises of any government court or offices utilized by the court." Robinson faces two to ten years in prison for violation of this law.

Texas has certainly been dealing with plenty of issues surrounding gun ownership and where these weapons belong, from the debate over allowing guns on college campuses to a recent petition to allow open carry in public. Yesterday’s incident at the Travis County courthouse already has people jumping to Robinson’s defense and arguing against any restriction on a law-abiding citizen’s right to carry a firearm. The debates continue!

Despite his arrest, Robinson still had to return to the courthouse two hours later to fulfill his duty as a juror. He has agreed to turn himself in after the trial is over. If you have found yourself accused of a crime like Mr. Robinson, please contact us at Bertolino LLP. We have aggressive defense attorneys who can give you the representation you deserve.

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