Five-judge panel finds disgraced former AG Eric Schneiderman failed to demonstrate authority to prosecute the state’s first ever SAFE Act case

April 26, 2019 | BUFFALO, N.Y. – The New York State Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Fourth Department issued a crushing rebuke today to Albany’s far-left progressives seeking to legislate Second Amendment civil rights out of existence via imperial gun control edicts like the SAFE Act. In a unanimous decision, the State Supreme Court ruled that the New York State Attorney General’s Office, headed by the disgraced Eric Schneiderman at the time of initial legal action, failed to demonstrate legal authority to prosecute the SAFE Act violations originally levelled against Defendant-Appellant Benjamin Wassell.

In today’s decision, the Court stated:

“Here, the stipulated record on appeal does not establish that the Superintendent of State Police requested that the Attorney General prosecute this case. Indeed, there is no letter from the Superintendent in the record (see id. at 134; cf. Rogers, 157 AD3d at 1002; Marketing & Adv. Servs. Ctr. Corp., 272 AD2d at 982), nor is there any other showing in the record that a request came from the Superintendent himself. Because the People failed to establish that the Attorney General had authority to secure the indictment and prosecute the case, we conclude that the judgment must be reversed and the indictment dismissed (see Gilmour, 98 NY2d at 135).”

The result of the Court’s decision is that Wassell’s indictment “is dismissed and the matter is remitted to Chautauqua County Court for proceedings pursuant to CPL 470.45.”

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“The simple truth is that Second Amendment civil rights won today, and the agenda of unconstitutional gun control force-fed to Upstate New York by the progressive totalitarians occupying the imperial palace in Albany lost,” 2AWNY.COM Civil Rights Advocate Steve Felano said. “Attorney Jim Ostrowski, the mastermind behind Ben Wassell’s appeal, correctly pointed out to the Court that the New York State Attorney General failed miserably to demonstrate the legal authority required to prosecute Ben Wassell for SAFE Act violations, which are, themselves, unconstitutional in the first place. The Court agreed with Jim because his argument was spot-on and logically unassailable. Furthermore, disgraced former Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, likely because he wanted to insert himself into the first ever SAFE Act case for political gain, committed a massive error in failing to demonstrate the authority of his office to prosecute the Wassell case. As the AG’s office retreats to Albany to lick the wounds inflicted by this crushing defeat, its occupants should note 2AWNY is not giving up the fight to repeal the SAFE Act in total, and the assault against Albany’s imperial gun control regime will continue. Andrew Cuomo should likewise take notice.”

Because the New York State Supreme Court dismissed Wassell’s indictment due to a lack of prosecutorial authority, the judges who decided the case “do not address defendant’s remaining contentions.” Said remaining contentions, articulated in Jim Ostrowski’s prior brief to the Court, center on the unconstitutional nature of the SAFE Act. Ostrowski clearly, logically, and forcefully demonstrated that the SAFE Act should be nullified in total based on the following:

  • Unconstitutional
  • Void for vagueness
  • Due process violation
  • Lack of equal protection under the law

The above assertions regarding the SAFE Act are supported by a growing body of contemporary Second Amendment jurisprudence that has expanded in scope and prominence as recently as March 29, 2019. This is, of course, the date that the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California decided Duncan v. Becerra. As a result of this case, U.S. District Judge Roger T. Benitez ruled that California’s draconian regulations and bans on firearms magazines accepting more than 10 rounds is unconstitutional under the Second and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution. A similar fate, supported by the latest academic research from Boston University and Harvard researchers indicating that ‘assault weapons’ and magazine bans do not lower homicide rates, awaits the New York State SAFE Act. 2AWNY will not rest until that fate is secured.

To learn more about any of the above, please contact Steve Felano at (518) 852-1863 or [email protected].

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2AWNY is a force multiplier for the numerous Second Amendment civil rights advocacy enterprises forming the backbone of Western New York’s vibrant gun culture. We act as a 2A news and information distribution, policy analysis, and organizational driver for the many interest groups seeking to defend and expand Second Amendment civil rights throughout the region. 2AWNY is dedicated to assisting in the organization, promotion, and funding of legal challenges to the unconstitutional New York State gun control regime. We seek to make Western New York the epicenter of New York State’s Second Amendment civil rights renaissance. Learn more at WWW.2AWNY.COM.