Men convicted of illegal weapons possession to get new trial because their gun might have been an antique
The Supreme Judicial Court today ordered new trials for Liquarry Jefferson and Leslie Burton-Brown, convicted in 2009 of illegal weapons possession for a gun police and state troopers said they threw out a car window during a chase along Melville Avenue in Dorchester.
The court said their trial judge erred in refusing to let them argue the gun was manufactured before 1900, which would have made it an "antique" exempt from state gun-control laws, even though a police expert found it could still fire rounds.
[T]he defendants were denied the opportunity to raise this affirmative defense before the jury and argue that, if the Commonwealth failed to prove that the firearm was manufactured after 1899, the defendants should be found not guilty of the offenses predicated on the unlawful carrying of a firearm. The judge's ruling also meant that the Commonwealth was not required to rebut this affirmative defense to prevail at trial, and therefore did not need either to present evidence regarding the manufacturing date of the firearm or to challenge the expert's testimony that the firearm was manufactured in 1896.