The police in Arkansas and elsewhere tend to suspect convicted felons of committing new crimes more so than persons with no record. That is why a good criminal defense attorney will not hold the ‘convicted felon’ tag against a person accused of weapons-related offenses when that attorney evaluates the case. The seasoned practitioner is likely to know that a convicted felon is more vulnerable to new charges simply because he or she is a convicted felon. The authorities generally find it easier to latch on to a suspect if there is a past record upon which to build a new list of aspersions.
This unfortunate dynamic may even backfire when a convicted felon tries to alert police to a crime committed against the felon or to which he is a witness. Recently, the Van Buren police got a call from a 75-year-old man who reported that a housekeeper stole five firearms from his house. The police apparently decided to look at the caller as a suspect rather than a victim.
Instead of making a normal investigation, they obtained a search warrant for the man’s home and made a thorough search for more guns. They allegedly found 12 more with nine boxes of ammunition. They charged him with possession of firearms. This elderly individual now faces incarceration on the felony charges.
He may be unable to understand the nature of the charges against him. In addition, he may not be cognizant of what is taking place. On the way to the county jail, the man stated to police that he was not going to live in “that house” without a gun.
The statement seems to indicate that he is not even aware of the proscription against felons having guns in Arkansas. He may also be unaware that he is now being slated for another house, one where guns are definitely not allowed. Therefore, counsel must be prepared to investigate these weapons-related offenses and to look assiduously for a viable defense, particularly in light of the man’s frail physical and mental faculties. It is clear that incarceration would probably be a travesty under these facts.
Source: arkansasonline.com, “Convicted felon in Arkansas arrested after reporting stolen guns“, Brandon Riddle, Sept. 7, 2016