Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Nassau County looses again

CONTACT: Robert James La Reddola, Esq.
La Reddola, Lester & Associates, LLP
600 Old Country Road, Suite 224
Garden City, New York 11530
(516) 745-1951
e-mail: rjl@llalawfirm.com
Gabriel Razzano v. Nassau County:
Court Requires Nassau County To Implement New Procedural Safeguards to Protect Gun Owners Constitutional Rights

GARDEN CITY, NEW YORK, February 28, 2011: “In deciding in favor of Mr. Gabriel Razzano, the United States District Court, Eastern District of New York, has reaffirmed the long standing tradition of protecting individual civil rights, even in cases public safety is balanced the citizen’s Fourth Amendment right under the U.S. Constitution to be free from unreasonable seizure of property without due process.” said La Reddola.

“The Police Department can confiscate pistols for good cause and has a well established process for administrative review and appeal post deprivation of the property. This is because pistols are licensed in Nassau County.”

“However, no such license is required to purchase or possess Constitutionally protected long arms. Accordingly, there’s has been no administrative review process. Guns are simply being accumulated in the basement of Police Headquarters.” Gun owners were told to hire a lawyer and initiate a lawsuit to get their property back. This is exactly what Mr. Razzano had to do in this case.”

“As long arms are not licensed in New York State, an individual has no way of getting back confiscated long arms. These long arms have been accumulating with the Nassau County Police Department in a state of limbo for years. We will be asking the Court to supervise the return all of these long arms to their rightful owners so that further legal actions will not be required” said La Reddola.

“The property does not belong to the Nassau County Police Department and must be returned to their rightful owners.”

“The Court has corrected this problem by requiring the Nassau County Police Department to implement a system that will protect the constitutional rights of the owners of long arms.  Initially, after the Nassau County Police Department confiscates long arms it is required to hold a “post-deprivation hearing” in front of a ‘neutral decision-maker’ at which ‘Nassau County shall have the burden of showing that it is likely to succeed in court on a cause of action . . . to maintain possession of the seized longarms.’  If the property owner prevails at this hearing, the long arms must be returned to him or her.  Should the County prevail at this hearing, it then ‘must timely commence a proceeding by which it seeks to maintain possession of the longarms in question.’  It should also be noted that these new requirements do not apply to long arms that were involved in a crime or are contraband.” 

“This two-step requirement is designed to ensure that the citizens of Nassau County will no longer have their Fourteenth Amendment right to due process violated by the Police Department.  Hopefully this case sends the message that in Nassau County a person can expect his or her Constitutional rights to be protected, regardless of whether he or she owns a gun.”

In this case, Gabriel Razzano was guilty of no crime, was never charged with any crime, and was never even arrested; the Nassau County Police Department just showed up at his home the day after he visited the local offices of Rep. Carolyn Mc Carthy.  Even so, the Police Department confiscated his heirloom pistols and rifles, leaving him with no avenue to recover these rifles.  At the same time, he was free to go into any store and simply purchase a long arm.  In his decision, Judge Spatt found this situation analogous to when the Nassau County District Attorney was found to be improperly confiscating motor vehicles which should have been returned to their rightful owners.

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