Thursday, March 24, 2011

What The Hell Is Wrong With Judges In New Jersey?

Jeff Muller was kidnapped from his pet foods store in Newton, New Jersey last year. The five kidnappers from Missouri thought Muller was the man who had swindled one of their friends. The only problem is that they had the wrong Jeff Muller.

Photo by Lake Ozark Police Department
Fortunately, Mr. Muller was able to escape his kidnappers in Missouri when their car broke down. After his return to New Jersey,  he applied for a concealed carry permit in New Jersey as, at the time, some of the kidnappers were still at large. While approved for it by the NJ State Police, he was turned down by Judge Philip Maenza. This denial is at the heart of the Second Amendment Foundation case brought challenging NJ's concealed carry laws.

Fast forward to today. In Morris County Superior Court, Judge David Ironson denied Mr. Muller's appeal of his permit denial saying that "failed to provide 'proof of justifiable need' to carry a handgun and said he should take his case to a state appeals court." Currently, four of the five kidnappers are in jail awaiting trial in Sussex County, NJ. However, the fifth kidnapper, Roy Slates, has served his time and is now out of prison.

As Mr. Muller said:
In an interview after the hearing, Muller said he needs to carry a handgun because “there’s the potential” of the five kidnappers’ family members “coming after me to get revenge.”

“They could send anybody out after me,” Muller said, noting that “the way we live has changed” since the ordeal. “Everything’s locked,” he said.

“I think about it every day,” Muller said. “I look at everybody who comes in my store.”
If anyone has ever met the definition of "justifiable need" for the State of New Jersey to approve a concealed carry permit it is Jeff Muller.

Judge Ironson has been on the bench since 2008. Before his being named a Superior Court judge, David Ironson was a personal injury lawyer. You would think that even a pond-scum sucking ambulance chaser might recognize that the concept of "justifiable need" applied in Jeff Muller's case.

Independence. Integrity. Fairness. Quality Service. Those words are emblazoned under the logo of the New Jersey Court system. Judge Ironson just made a mockery of at least two of them.


  1. Lets not forget about about NJ Superior Court Judge James Morley who was removed, not for railroading Brian Aitken, but because he thought it was ok for a cop to get oral sex from a cow?

  2. Based on what I remember reading this is entirely consistent with NJ's CCW de facto issuing policy, which is about the same as Hawaii's de jure policy: unless you're in a profession where you're doing something like moving large amounts of cash, you just don't get a license. They've issued only 1,900 or so for 9 million people.

    What do we expect from a state where the legal regime for firearms is that they're 100% illegal unless you happen to fall under one of the exceptions in the law?

  3. If you do get a license because you haul a lot of cash/valuables, it's restricted to times you're hauling those valuables. The judge may set whatever limits he or she likes on teh permit, and most do.

  4. So, protecting property is a good reason to have a gun but protecting your life is not? Or you have to wait until you're a victim of a crime before trying to get a gun?

  5. Basically, yes. Though, to be fair (hah) to NJ judges, carrying a lot of money regularly isn't a rubber-stamp for a permit either.

    For a nominally may-issue state, there are damn few permits. I was just informed via a forum I follow that there are judges who can't get permits...

  6. @llbangs - Or you could be Jeff Muller AND be a victim of crime and get denied twice.

  7. The worst thing, from my POV, is that given a different judge, it's possible that he would have gotten his permit.

    I know from second-hand and direct experience that, while my my local police dept is in routine violation of the black-letter law in regards to issuance time (aided and abetted by the NJ court system), there are much worse places to be in NJ to get the requisite paperwork; and that there are places in NJ that really do try and issue with all due haste as you would expect the law to require.