#1 Mother of Two Avoids Prison Time in New Jersey Gun Case by algernonpj 26.09.2014 17:48


Friday, 26 September 2014 14:34
Mother of Two Avoids Prison Time in New Jersey Gun Case
Written by Bob Adelmann

Shaneen Allen, a phlebotomist from Philadelphia and single mother of two, started breathing normally again on Wednesday when Atlantic County, New Jersey, prosecutor Jim McLain decided not to prosecute her under New Jersey’s draconian Graves Act and offered her New Jersey’s Pretrial Intervention Program (PTI) instead.

Allen accepted the offer as an alternative to the mandatory three-to-five years she was facing for mere possession of a firearm while traveling from Philadelphia into New Jersey last October. Pulled over for a minor traffic violation, she made the mistake of informing the arresting officer that she was carrying a weapon in the car along with a concealed weapons permit from Pennsylvania. She had just received the permit and had purchased the handgun a week earlier and, despite going through some training, she was not aware that her Pennsylvania license wouldn’t apply in New Jersey. By offering information to the officer that wasn’t requested, Allen was immediately arrested and charged with possession of a firearm under New Jersey’s Graves Act. She has had this monkey on her back for nearly a year.

With the help of a savvy Second Amendment attorney in Eatontown, New Jersey, Evan Nappen, she was prepared for war. Nappen asked Superior Court Judge Michael Donio to dismiss the case, claiming her ignorance of New Jersey’s law. After Donio denied his request, Nappen then asked him to offer Allen New Jersey’s PTI program. Donio turned down that request as well.

Thanks to support from highly placed individuals in the state and a well-financed defense team, it became clear that the state of New Jersey was in a no-win situation. Allen received support from New Jersey’s Second Amendment Society, State Senator Jeff Van Drew, Assemblymen John Bramnick and Ron Dancer, and most importantly, Frank Minor, the mayor of Logan Township, who also happened to be chairman of the South Jersey Political Black Caucus. In addition, Allen received support from the Morris County Freeholder Board, which, during its September 22 public meeting, approved a resolution urging McLain to “exercise prosecutorial discretion” in Allen’s case.

As her case caught national attention, funding for her defense rolled in. In early August, the Shaneen Allen Legal Defense Fund had attracted more than $34,000 in support from nearly 1,000 contributors. As of September 26, that support had nearly doubled to $67,400 provided by more than 1,800 contributors.


All’s well that ends well, it seems, now that Allen can breathe again. Her threatened incarceration not only raised the ire of thousands of individuals around the country, but it also forced New Jersey to back off on enforcement of this outrageous law. Following Allen’s acceptance of the state’s PTI, her attorney said: “She’s absolutely gratified that she could help others like her.”


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