Tuesday, June 3, 2008

NYC's Bloomberg Scores Victory in Gun Dealer Case

The New York Times is reporting that the Atlanta gun dealer, Jay Wallace sued by NYC will be forced to accept a default judgment against him and his business, Adventure Outdoors:
Saying he could not afford what he feared would be an unfair trial, a Georgia gun dealer accused by New York City of illegally selling handguns that made their way to New York backed out of his federal trial on Monday, the day it was set to begin.

The city will now negotiate with the dealer, Jay Wallace, to allow a “special master” to oversee gun sales at his store, potentially joining 20 other dealers who have settled lawsuits filed by the city.
According to the article, Mr. Wallace seems to have decided that the trial judge, U.S. District Court judge Jack Weinstein, was likely to rule against him:
Mr. Wallace, who owns Adventure Outdoors in an Atlanta suburb, presented his decision to withdraw not as a retreat or a defeat, but as a strategy to avoid financial ruin by speeding up the process of appeal. By entering a so-called default with the city, Mr. Wallace can now skirt the costs of a trial and move more quickly to an appellate court with what he claims are fundamental frailties in the case.

Mr. Wallace, 51, was referring to a ruling last month by Jack B. Weinstein, the presiding judge, to put in place what is known as an advisory jury — one whose decision would not be binding and would leave the judge himself as the final arbiter of fact and law. Mr. Wallace’s lawyer, John Renzulli, argued that Judge Weinstein had already made up his mind about the case, making any trial “a mere formality.”

“Unlike the city, which can spend unlimited amounts of taxpayers’ money, Adventure Outdoors is a small retail dealer with limited resources and cannot afford to participate in a four-week bench trial, the result of which is a forgone conclusion,” Mr. Renzulli wrote in a motion.
Mr. Wallace is paying for his defense in this civil suit out of his own pocket. In contrast, Mayor Bloomberg has the vast resources of New York City taxpayers at his disposal. Sadly, if you don't have the funds to fight, it doesn't matter how strong a case you have.

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