When You’re Falsely Accused of a Gun Crime – 12 Things You Need to Know

Until you’re accused of a crime, you may be blissfully ignorant of the fact that “innocent until proven guilty” is a myth. In reality, it’s the opposite. Michelle Gesse, whose husband lived the nightmare of being falsely accused of a firearms related felony, explains what all Americans need to know now about the criminal justice system.

Bogus Allegations
Bogus Allegations

Boulder, CO (November 2012)—The scary part of this story is how easily it could happen to any one of us.

Steven and Michelle Gesse thought that the small dinner party they hosted on the night of April 5, 2009, would be just that: an informal, pleasant gathering of neighbors over good food and good wine.

Instead, it turned out to be the beginning of a nightmarish spiral into a confusing and frightening justice system that in practice, if not in theory, considers you to be guilty until proven innocent.

“During dinner that night, my husband, Steven, made an offhand comment that offended one of our guests,” recalls Michelle Gesse, author of the new book Bogus Allegations: The Injustice of Guilty Until Proven Innocent (Johnson Books, March 2012, ISBN: 978-1-55566-450-3, $17.95). “We were not even aware that she was offended since the remainder of the evening passed pleasantly. But what took place later that night changed the course of our lives forever. Never, in a million years, could we have imagined it could happen to us.”

Steven and Michelle were stunned and terrified when the neighbor’s son, who had also been a guest at the dinner party (and was an active Navy Seal), returned later in the evening threatening Steven and demanding an apology. Thinking, Okay, I’ll go over and apologize and be done with it, Steven went next door to try to smooth things over.

Later that night the Gesses were shocked when law enforcement officers arrived at their home in the middle of the night to arrest Steven and search their home. As it turned out, Michelle reports, the son of the offended guest had falsely accused Steven of threatening him with a gun.

Over the next seven months, she would watch helplessly as her innocent husband was treated by the justice system as a criminal whose guilt was already assumed.

“Steven’s name—but not his accuser’s!—was printed in all the local newspapers in connection with the case,” she describes. “We were in and out of court, and were forced to spend our retirement money to fund Steven’s defense. And as part of the conditions of his bail, Steven had to receive special permission to leave the state, and had to meet regularly with a drug counselor.

“He even had to appear for random breathalyzer tests,” she adds. “While it may not seem like a big deal on the surface, it meant he couldn’t even enjoy a glass of wine with dinner and had to be available for the test whenever required. That’s just how deeply this experience insinuated itself into the fabric of our day-to-day lives.”

On October 28, 2009, Steven Gesse was found not guilty of Felony Menacing and Prohibited Use of a Weapon by a jury. Yet being exonerated did not make up for the fact that he had been treated like a convicted felon. The unfairness of it all set Michelle Gesse on a mission to shine a spotlight on the injustices of the American justice system—and to make people aware of what to do in case they are ever falsely accused.

“Proving that Steven was innocent—innocent!—cost us, not Steven’s false accuser, so much time, stress, energy, and money,” Gesse says. “That’s not what I had pictured ‘justice’ to be before experience taught me otherwise. Now I know, among other things, that you need a committed lawyer and a healthy bank account to beat a completely bum rap.”

Of course, few people give much thought to what they should do (and not do) if they are falsely accused. But like the Gesses, prior to their ordeal, you too might have an “it’ll never happen to me” attitude. But the truth is, there’s no way to know for sure what curveballs life might have in store—and it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Read on for 12 lessons that Michelle Gesse has learned in the Criminal Justice School of Hard Knocks. Having this information beforehand might make a huge difference if you or a loved one is ever falsely accused of a crime.

Have an “arrest plan” in place (yes, it could happen to you). Generally, people don’t assume that their homes will catch fire. Statistically speaking, it’s not a likely occurrence. But most people still take out homeowner’s or renter’s insurance, just in case. Likewise, though you hope it’ll never happen, you teach your child to scream and run if accosted by a stranger. You’ve probably considered what you’d do if someone approached you in a dark parking lot. And depending on where you live, your family may have a wildfire, hurricane, tornado, or earthquake plan in place. In the same way, says Gesse, you should think through and be prepared for a possible arrest.

“None of us think something like this could happen to us, but it is possible that at some point in your life you or someone you love may be arrested,” she says. “It could be your spouse, your child, a relative, or a good friend. What would you do if this happened? Would you be forearmed with any strategy or knowledge, or would you be floundering, completely at the mercy of ‘the system’? Believe me, it’s a good idea to think about what you would do if you were confronted by the police at your own front door, or how you might respond if you received a phone call telling you that a loved one had been arrested. That disaster may have a higher probability than many of those for which you have prepared.”

Likewise, it is wise to have “the talk” with your kids beforehand. This particular “talk” should be about what they should do if they are ever arrested or interrogated by law enforcement officers, regardless of the reason.

Be the first to call 911. The person to call 911 is always going to be considered the victim, regardless of the circumstances. If you find yourself in any sort of threatening situation, whether it’s with a family member, friend, coworker, or complete stranger, don’t hesitate. Be the first to call 911. While it may not seem “right” or “fair,” the first person to call 911 is going to be regarded as the victim, regardless of the facts or the truth.

“Even though he was telling a blatant lie, Steven’s accuser was treated by law enforcement as the victim since they heard his version of the story first,” Gesse recalls. “As we learned, once you have been taken into custody, you have been classified as the perpetrator of the crime. The so-called victim will receive support from victims’ advocates, the press, law enforcement, the community, etc., while you and your family are on your own to clear your name. Trust me, being the first to pick up the phone can save you an unimaginable amount of stress, time, notoriety, and money.”

Everyone involved has the right to remain silent. Imagine the following scenario: Your spouse (or any loved one) has just been handcuffed and taken away from your home in a police car. You are out of your league with no idea what is going on, and you’re struggling with feelings of anxiety, panic, confusion, and fear. Meanwhile, other officers and detectives have remained at your residence. Your first instinct is to talk to them, to tell them the truth about what happened, and to prove to them that your spouse has done nothing wrong. Don’t.

“Even if you aren’t the person being accused of a crime, exercise your right to remain silent!” Gesse stresses. “Don’t talk to anyone without a lawyer present. I shouted that very warning at my husband as the police put him in the squad car, but it never occurred to me that I should follow my own advice as I sat at home with a deputy waiting for the search warrant to arrive. In court I was grilled by the prosecution about what I said and what I didn’t say. If Steven had been found guilty because of something I’d said, or a fact I hadn’t mentioned had put doubt into the jury’s minds, I would never have forgiven myself.”

Insist on a search warrant, even if you have nothing to hide. “Can we search the house?” If you know that you have not committed any wrongdoing and have nothing to hide, you may be tempted to answer this question with a “yes.” The more cooperative I am, the sooner this will be over, you reason. Maybe the officers will even see that I’m innocent, and my family will never be bothered again.

“Squelch the impulse to be open and helpful, and don’t allow anyone to search your house without a warrant,” Gesse instructs. “Insisting on the warrant was probably the smartest thing I did the night my husband was arrested. As I found out later, it can tell your lawyer what the police were looking for. And if the search wasn't executed properly, having the warrant might make whatever was found ineligible to be introduced as evidence. Remember, it’s always best to have physical documentation when you’re dealing with the criminal justice system.”

Realize that the criminal justice system is hard on the innocent. If you have ever watched one of the many television shows or movies that’s based around the legal system, you might take it for granted that the law officers, investigators, and prosecutors are going to search for the truth and examine the evidence before prosecuting. According to Gesse, that’s Hollywood—reality looks very different.

“The criminal justice system in the U.S. is a ‘flow system,’” she explains. “By that, I mean that the system wants to dispose of as many cases as quickly as possible. They do this by negotiating plea bargains. A plea bargain is the quickest and least expensive way for them and for you to end the process. Accepting a plea bargain even to a lesser offense, however, may mean having a criminal record as well as having conditions imposed on you like alcohol testing, community service, or limits on travel. Would you be willing to do that if you knew you were innocent? My husband wasn’t willing to make that sort of deal (with my full support), and we ended up paying financially and emotionally for not playing the game the system’s way.”

Expect to be treated like you’re guilty. Again, what you see on TV and what happens in real life are two different things. As Gesse has pointed out, the criminal justice system is focused on prosecution and on garnering guilty verdicts, so don’t expect a full-scale Law and Order– or CSI-type investigation. Instead, expect to be prosecuted even if the facts and evidence don’t support a guilty verdict.

“Unless your case is extremely high-profile, it’s unlikely that the prosecutor will even review the case file until shortly before the trial,” Gesse says. “And the prosecutor will proceed even when the supposed victim indicates that he or she prefers to put an end to the proceeding. Meanwhile, you might be forced to live under court-ordered stipulations that resemble nothing so much as parole.

“For instance, Steven had to submit to random alcohol testing, had to meet with a drug counselor, couldn’t be in proximity to weapons, and couldn’t leave Colorado without special permission. Not to mention the fact that we were in and out of court and his name was in the newspaper, while the supposed ‘victim’ walked free in anonymity! After Steven was acquitted, we practically had to beg the newspaper to run a story announcing that he had been found innocent.”

Proving your innocence comes with a very high price tag. Since Steven Gesse did not take the plea bargain he was offered and instead maintained his innocence, he paid a very high price. Proceeding to trial doubled the Gesses’ legal expenses and made the process last twice as long. In contrast, the false accuser did not have to pay legal fees, and his transportation to and from the trial was covered. And the sad reality is that the Gesses had no recourse to either the individuals or the legal system that falsely accused them and prosecuted them even after Steven was found not guilty.

“We do not in any way regret the decision to proceed to trial,” Gesse confirms. “It was the right decision for us, but many families will not have either the financial or emotional resources to successfully undertake this course of action. You need to know the costs in advance before deciding to go ahead. Yes, I know, it seems incredibly unfair—even unbelievable—that an innocent person would have to spend thousands upon thousands of dollars to prove that he has done nothing illegal. But that’s reality.”

Getting a lawyer doesn’t imply guilt. (In fact, innocent people need the most help!) Chances are, you’ve seen a TV show in which someone being questioned by the police asks, “Do I need a lawyer?” And the questioner responds with something like, “If you’re innocent, why would you need a lawyer?” or, “Just tell the truth. If you have nothing to hide, you won’t need an attorney.” Yes, these television personas make it seem like getting representation implies guilt. But if you’re ever falsely accused of a crime in real life, you’ve never needed a lawyer more.

“In my opinion, the innocent need legal help even more than the guilty,” Gesse says. “Think about it this way: You wouldn’t travel to a dangerous foreign country without hiring a good guide. And for all intents and purposes, the legal justice system is a dangerous foreign country. As an innocent person, you have no idea what’s going on, what to expect, or how to handle the many obstacles that will be thrown in your path. You certainly aren’t equipped to represent yourself in court. So yes, you’ll definitely need the help of an experienced professional if you don’t want to end up serving time for a crime you didn’t commit.”

Don’t skimp on a lawyer. If you are falsely accused of a crime and decide to proceed to trial, don’t skimp on a lawyer. This is not the time to save money. If your finances are tight, shop at discount stores and give up steak and wine—but don’t look for bargain legal counsel.

“If you go to trial, you want the best lawyer you can afford…or perhaps one a tad more expensive than you can afford,” Gesse asserts. “Personally, I’d rather go into debt than go to jail for something I didn’t do. If you simply cannot afford a lawyer, public defenders are an option. I’ll put in the caveat that I’m by no means an expert, but my impression is that a public defender will try to dispose of your case by urging you to take a plea bargain offer. Public defenders are overworked and have a lot of cases, so again, they’re probably looking for the easiest and fastest ‘solution.’”

You’re not as alone as you think you are. If you ever find yourself or a loved one falsely accused of a crime, you’ll probably feel alone and totally adrift. But keep in mind that more people than you would ever expect have found themselves in this situation. Unfortunately, an unwarranted sense of shame keeps most falsely accused individuals from sharing their stories. Don’t be afraid to do your own research on the subject of “false accusations” or to reach out to others who have been there. You will need to establish your own safety net of a very small number of individuals with whom you can confide.

“I have been amazed by the number of people who have told me similar stories about themselves, their family, or friends after Bogus Allegations was published,” Gesse shares. “These stories include an ex-boyfriend accusing a former girlfriend of a felony in order to get her deported, an ex-wife accusing her former spouse of hiding financial assets, and a teenage girl accusing a young man of inappropriate sexual advances. I promise you, you are not alone. And the advice and experiences of others—especially during your ordeal—can be an invaluable resource.”

Be prepared for an emotional roller coaster. If the process of going to trial is financially costly, it’s every bit as brutal on your emotional reserves. Expect for everyone in the family to feel stress, fear, anger, and exhaustion (just to name a few) on a regular basis. You might cry easily, little things will make you mad, and your sex life will likely suffer. So cut yourself and your loved ones some slack, and be easy on yourselves. This is not the time to go on a diet or start a new job. And don’t worry—feeling this way is normal.

“The seven months between when my husband was arrested and his trial were more stressful than watching both of my parents die of a fatal disease,” Gesse admits. “During those periods I could talk to friends. Everyone in my life was supportive. It was socially acceptable to fall apart. I wasn’t ashamed that my parents and I were going through the process. And there are plenty of available resources on how to deal with the death of a parent. However, none of that is the case when you’re dealing with the wrongful prosecution of a loved one. You can never escape the stress and strain, and there are very few emotional outlets available to you.”

You’ll find out who your true friends are. If you are wrongfully accused of a crime, you’ll probably be surprised and saddened by the number of people in your life who don’t want to be involved. People whom you had considered to be friends may pull away, become distant, or even refuse to help. Unfortunately, many individuals may feel so awkward even approaching the topic that they avoid it, denying you the support you need so badly. Sadly other “friends” may assume that since you have been arrested, you are probably guilty.

“A neighbor Steven and I had considered to be a very close friend attended the dinner party that sparked our whole nightmare,” Gesse recalls. “We assumed that of course he would be fully ‘on our side’ and willing to do whatever was necessary to clear Steven’s name. However, this man initially refused to even speak to our lawyer. He and his wife considered the situation to be ‘something between two neighbors’ and didn’t want to get involved. Steven and I were bitterly disappointed by what we saw as abandonment and betrayal. However, I do want to point out that other friends stepped up and went above and beyond the call of duty throughout those long seven months.”

“I can’t stress enough how important it is to know the facts about the criminal justice system, and to think about what you would do if you or someone you love is ever falsely accused,” Gesse states. “No, it will probably never happen to you. (I sincerely hope it doesn’t!) But if you ever find yourself in my family’s shoes, you’ll need all of the knowledge and resources you can possibly get your hands on.

“I used to think that the innocent had nothing to fear,” she concludes. “Now I know that the opposite is true. Our country’s criminal justice system puts the heaviest burden on the defendant…whether the accusations are well-founded or not.”

About the Author:
Michelle Gesse
, author of Bogus Allegations: The Injustice of Guilty Until Proven Innocent, is a native of Chicago, IL. She earned a BS in mathematics from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and completed her MBA at the University of Chicago. She spent 15 years in banking, working for Northern Trust in Chicago and Chase Manhattan in New York. From 1992 to 2011, Michelle successfully owned and ran a manufacturing company in Boulder, CO.

Michelle lives in Boulder, CO, with her husband, Steven. Before the incident described in Bogus Allegations, Michelle and Steven never thought that they would get involved in the criminal justice system.

For more information, please visit www.michellegesse.com.

About the Book:
Bogus Allegations: The Injustice of Guilty Until Proven Innocent (Johnson Books, March 2012, ISBN: 978-1-55566-450-3, $17.95) is available at bookstores nationwide, from major online booksellers, and at www.michellegesse.com.

  • 38 thoughts on “When You’re Falsely Accused of a Gun Crime – 12 Things You Need to Know

    1. I am currently dealing with this exact situation here in Idaho. Only difference is my support network is in Texas and Oklahoma, so I imagine the feelings are so much more difficult to deal with because I don’t have a shoulder to cry on.

      I was at a boat ramp loading my kayak and gear onto and into my vehicle. There was a family in a speed boat that was waiting behind me. They grew impatient with me and the wife of the family asked me to move out of their way so they could load up. I refused (i spoke as nicely as I could while still saying no, saying “no, I still have to load up my kayak”, i elevated my voice but certainly did not yell to her) because I only had my kayak left to load as I had already had my gear next to the ramp ready to be loaded for when I backed up. I then moved my kayak up from the dock and began threading the tie down straps through the the kayak racks. As I was doing this I noticed the husband of the couple that was waiting behind me in their SUV with the trailer repetitively backing up then pulling forward, doing so about 3-4 times, as if to insinuate to me that I was taking too long. I paused and tried to measure with my eyes if he would be able to fit between my car and the other dock, there was not enough room. He eventually moved to the other ramp when it became available. As he got out of his SUV and started walking towards his boat he mentioned to me, “It sure would be nice if you learned how to move faster”. I responded, “It sure would be nice if you learned how to act like an adult”. Although the antogonistic connotations, these sentences were spoken with a conversational tone. He then responded in a loud and aggressive manner, “Go fuck yourself motherfucker”. At this point my brain measured the situation as he is twice my size, aggressively confrontational, and displaying unpredictable characteristics, I got scared. I literally looked at my hand and saw it was shaking as a result. I decide I was not comfortable continuing to load up my kayak without my gun at arms reach. I got off the side of my car (i was standing on the door frame on the front passenger side at this time, making sure the straps were facing the correct way, if not I would have to reverse them later and that would be more time consuming) and reached into my bag that was in the floorboard of the front passenger side seat and pulled out my gun. It was in my shoulder harness but I assumed time was more important than ensuring my harness was properly positioned. As I was wearing only swimming trunks I also thought the sight of the harness would incite panic. I placed the gun, unloaded, onto my passenger side seat. I finished up with the front strap and then moved to the back passenger side seat to get up and work with the rear strap. I moved the gun to that seat at this time. I thought that having an unloaded gun would be effectively useless if he did act on his aggression, so I loaded a clip at that time (this is a new gun and it has never had a bullet loaded in the chamber, even to this day unless the cops have had their way with it). If you know how the kayak rack and straps work, the end is a metal clamp that you have to walk around the car so you don’t scratch anything or break glass if you toss it over. This means I had to walk around the back side of my car to get the strap into the proper position. I did not feel comfortable being more than arms length from my gun in this tense situation so I decided to carry it with me, laying it across the seat was not an option as the door was wide open and that was the side they were on. I carried it at my side and pointing to the ground. It took approximately 3 seconds to walk around the back side and place the gun on the seat in the back driver’s side, the whole time I was looking at the strap keeping the car in my peripheral as to not bump into it. After having placed the gun on the seat, the wife yelled out, ‘he’s got a loaded gun, call fish and game’. In attempt to de-escalate the situation, I reached into the car, removed the clip, and laid the gun back on the seat. I then tried to calm her down by telling her it was no longer loaded and that I only had it out for self-defense against her husband. I admittedly raised my voice at this time but maintain it was a more assertive tone than yelling. Calming her down was not feasible so I continued to try to ignore them and go about my business. Shortly after this, a 3rd party gentleman who was also waiting walked up to me immediately after this and offered me help. All that remained was lifting the kayak and then tightening the straps. I thanked him but suggested I do so myself because I want my body to become more physically capable of doing so alone (i am completely novice to this sport, really to any sport as i am a software developer, asthmatic from birth, small in stature, and recovering from a decade of cigarette damage). I finish up, then headed to the store to get ice for my fish, and returned to my campsite that is in the same campground as the boat ramp.
      As it turns out, when the wife called police, she initially said that I pulled a gun on them. The dispatcher then asked if I pointed the gun at anybody and she said I pointed the gun at them. Sometime before the police arrived at my campsite, it changed to pointing the gun at her long enough and with enough apparent anger to incite fear. She claimed I did so as I was walking around the back side of my car. Her story is full of claims that basically every interaction I have with anybody in the story I described involved me yelling maniacally at them. Her husbands story actually contradicts this. He specifically used the word ‘stated’ to describe the manner in which he and I spoke, although he excluded the “go fuck yourself motherfucker comment”. He never claimed I yelled. Her police statement excluded it, but in the police call she claimed when I told her no that I yelled, “no, i still gotta load my fucking kayak”. I even performed an analysis of the timeline details from both of their statements and found that based on both of their stories, the husband should have clearly seen me pointing the gun if it had happened, but he never admits having seen that act. He has admitted on facebook that he did not see it, only that his wife did. According to his statement, he claims to never take his eyes off of me at a point after she claims to yell that I have a loaded gun, but before when his wife claimed I walk around my vehicle pointing the gun at her. She also claimed that I yelled maniacally at the guy who offered me help. It strikes me as odd, as well as with many others I’ve discussed this with, but if I were acting as maniacally as she claims and pointing a gun in a fit of rage, then who in their right mind would even attempt to approach me and offer me help? The first thing any 3rd party person would have done is attempt to calm me down, not offer to help me finish. He was in a position such that he should have had a clear view of the events unfolding, I can only hope he is one of the people who provided his contact details to the arresting officers. I found out last week that the prosecutor had these contacts information and I learned from the campground host that those people should be impartial. I pray at least one comes forward and helps preserve all my hard work and promising future in software development. It’s certainly not worth losing all of that to the lies of a woman who was very likely drunk and has a history of being litigious.

      The biggest fear I have right now is proving they are lying. I already lost my job and was in the middle of applying for security clearance. If their lie never comes out and a jury doesn’t convict due to reasonable doubt, that would not be adequate enough to sue them for damages. Since I basically lost my dream job that I started 3 months prior, that I was being sponsored for security clearance for, the value of what i’ve already lost is immeasurable in my eyes, and that’s not considering legal costs and the emotional distress already endured.

      1. I am not an attorney. You have to get this women on the witness stand. Let her tell her story. When you tell yours. Look the jury in the eye and state that you never pointed the gun. A good Trial Attorney can rip her story apart. Get her to admit she is lying. Do not accept any plea bargain. No matter what. The odds are they will drop it and dismiss it.

        I wish you the best. I sure hope it gets dismissed or you are acquitted. I had something similar and I fought and won. Its still out their haunting me. In my case the witness shot his mouth off in Municipal court. When it came time to testify in circuit court he did not attend. He knew that his story would have to convince a jury. He chickened out because I had an attorney. Call their bluff. She won’t come in to court because she knows she lied.

    2. I’m a single father of a 10 year old girl in N.C. Wilmington. I took my daughter into the school on her birthday on June 2nd. Less than an hour later the principal calls me. Less than hour of that call the new Hanover county school administrators along with a srgt from the sheriff department calls with me on speaker phone. ” a concerned parent” calls the school and notifies that I was carrying a concealed weapon on me. I just walked in school, asked if it was ok to bring donuts and a bday cupcake to lunch time for my child and her class. I’m also a former capital officer. Also her mother is on drugs and has physically assaulted me. So I found it necessary to carry protection on me wherever I go, especially when my child is with me. I was later that day, on my child bday arrested and booked for felony of carrying concealed on campus. Misdomeanor carrying concealed. And also impersonating an officer. Now I have court today at 2pm. I work hard, provide stability and would never ever even think about harming anyone. Only protecting those I love and those that are incapable of doing so themselves because face it…its now a dangerous world out there. I hate to admit that…but I’m facing real hard time on this, and where is my child gonna be? Whose providing for her if I can’t cause I’m in jail or federal locked down? I cry just thinking cause she’s my love and she’s a daddy’s girl. We do everything together. I’m lost on this whole matter. I may have just hugged and kissed my baby for the last time today when she went to school….as if I’m found on any educational property I’m criminal trespassing. Please pray for me. God Bless.

      1. I am not attorney. Fight this charge. They can’t prove you had a gun on school property. Unless they searched you and found it. Never ever answer questions. when it comes to the police. It can’t be federal. Its a state. charge. Get yourself a Trial attorney. They have no case in front of a jury. They are on a fishing expedition. Do not plea bargain. Don’t fall for their threats.That charge of impersonating an police officer. that will not hold up in court. Take this to jury trial. Fight them and putting it before a jury is going to be tough for a conviction. It sounds like your statements admitted having a weapon on campus. You need to get an attorney. I wish you the best and getting acquitted of these charges. Was there a sign prohibiting weapons on campus. Is there a specific law stating guns are prohibited. You need to get the officer statements and witnesses. On the stand they need to be questioned did they see the gun. Sometimes witnesses will be bold and wanting to testify. Some chicken out because they lie and don’t want to be cross examined by an assertive attorney. That’s what you need is an assertive attorney that will get agressive in their questioning. To get the truth. please email me if you get acquitted. [email protected]

    3. I have read your short story and I think there should be punishment for the other party. I think that’s a crime how our system is so backwards and it works against us, instead of for us. I don’t believe our system will improve but only to get worse. I believe the system targets the innocent and let’s (all walks of life of criminals) the criminals walk rather its CPS, Drug dealers, or what have you, kind of like good cop versus bad cop. It’s just wrong. I hope you guys retaliated and went after your accusers. I know I don’t trust the system and I have a clean background just like the both of you and many others out there. I’m so sorry to hear that. My prayers go out to you and your family.

      1. Need proof he lied. Juey saying there is reasonable doubt is not enough. It has to come out as a clear contradiction with his statement and/or testimony, or if he ever admits to his lie, then he can be charged and they can sue. Otherwise, nothing can be done.

    4. HELP. I now am facing false accusations. Since this case is recent and pending, I will not divuldge the details. I will summarize instead. ‘S’ equals ‘suspect’. ‘A’ = ‘accuser’. ‘W’ = ‘witness’. ‘P’ = ‘police’. BACKGROUND: S is homeowner, a 100% disabled veteran with a prior non-violent felony DUI conviction. A1 & A2 are living in S’s home because A1 and A2 have been evicted from their home and have 2 small children. A1 and A2 are both unemployed and without transportation. A1 and A2 have had DHS called on them prior. INCIDENT: A2 and S go out to a nightclub, A2 gets “highly intoxicated” as per W1, W2, W3 and P’s report. S stays sober, verified by W1, W2, and W3 at the nightclub and later, recognized by ‘P’. S is approached 2x’s by W1 and W2 to escort A2 out of the club. S complies on the second request. Upon arriving home, A1 and A2 begin to fist a cuff in S’s kitchen. S hears and intervenes to break it up. A1 recieves a black eye, choke marks and scuffed knuckles. S recieves 2 black eyes. A2 has scuffed knuckles. A1 calls P and says S assaulted both A1 and A2 and also threatened them with a firearm to circumvent the truth. S gets arrested and charged with 5 felony counts and a misd. Although A2 is ‘highly intox’ according to report from ‘P’, ‘P’ does not make A2 account for actions nor report on the incident. A1 blames S for everthing in account of the evening and even gives ‘P’ a third party consent to search the premises. S does not give consent being the property owner and is well aware of rights. P report finds drug para. in A1 and A2’s bedroom and includes this find in evidence report. Still, DHS are not contacted about the two small children, nor are A1 and A2 arrested. Only S. S has now spent $3000 in a week for bail and attorney. A1 and A2 stole what they could from S while S was jailed and even used S’s vehicle to do so. No firearm has been located and was not included in P’s evidence. S is at a complete loss knowing that A1 and A2 are just skipping along merily now that nothing happened to them, although the whole incident was their ordeal. Now S is afraid of the plea process because trials are more than what S can afford. S needs advice!

    5. Most cops are kids. What do you expect? Whats wrong with most of the young today is the same that is wrong with the cops. And don’t tell me thats fine until I need one…I can’t even think of a situation where I want one, let alone need one. My chances of getting mucked over by a cop are much greater than being helped by one. No thanks.

    6. I learned my lesson many years ago. I was charged with a crime which I did not commit and spent many years of my life and most of my money trying to prove my innocence. It did no good. Many attorneys today will admit that there is an 85% chance of a conviction..innocent or not. That is the truth. Wake up to the facts.

    7. C’mon, there has to be more to this story. What was said to offend so deeply and how did a Navy Seal become so smarmy as to participate in this cowardly accusation …. unless there was merit to it.

      Did the offender have a drinking or substance problem? Did he own a gun? What happened when he went over to apologize. Why did he bother to go over to apologize. That sounds too dramatic for normal fare.

      If this is a fabrication in order to spew your advice, then you need a better story writer.

      I am aware that the majority of people in Boulder Co are insane. So perhaps this is possible.

    8. Why would an active Navy Seal be scared of a civilian pulling a gun?

      I suspect there’s more to this story than what has been told.

    9. This is very interesting reading. Mark Twain would call it socical injustice or even Biblicly reliavent. (Do not bare false witness against thy negibor). However an ounce of prevenction is worth a pound of cure. Do people know any cops in their neighborhoods?. Some fifty or sixty years ago they had policemans balls,a time to acknowlage and respect the duties of the police force in ones community. They were known by name and befriended by those they served. Do we do that now?.Having At least one cop as a friend, that knows your charector is worth 1 Judge an a Prosacutor any day!.Having one advicate on the inside can destroy an army of lies from anyside!.

    10. I have 34 years of law enforcement. Unlike these officers, I learned long ago that the person who races out to tell their story first is the one I usually arrest. I held nearly every position in Law Enforcement including Chief. A lot of comments have basis of truth. I have been a victim of incompetent law enforcement so I know and agree. I recommend suing any offending agency and officer. In 34 years I have never been sued. I was in charge of 49 officers who made mistakes. It is how you resolve the mistakes. I may read this book. I would like to know who it all started before I make a judgement.

    11. I notice the false accuser’s name isn’t mentioned above? Why not? Naming and shaming him is pretty much the closest thing you can get to justice.

      Get his full name connected to his accusation and maybe the case number circulating around the blogosphere. After his enlistment ends, this’ll follow him around every time he applies for a job. Some HR guy will Google his name, pretty much standard in hiring now, and see what a trustworthy person has applied. And who knows, maybe it’ll turn out he was lying about being a SEAL as well.

      Name him and shame him, it’s the only way to deal with scum who use the legal system as a weapon.

    12. Excellent article. However, please stop using the term “gun crime”. It’s an inaccurate term and using it legitimizes the gun-grabber’s vicious, bloody-minded, hoplophobic lingo.

      There is no such thing as “gun crime” any more than there is such a thing as “pillow crime” or “rubber tubing crime”.

      Vehicular manslaughter isn’t called “car crime”, is it? Of course it isn’t, because the car isn’t at fault. The driver is.

      By calling it “gun crime”, it blames the inanimate object for causing the crime. This is wrong, and we should not legitimize this backwards way of speaking or thinking by doing it ourselves.

    13. For too many years the public school system has been used to construct a country of Elois and tyranny instead as founded. The majority in the law business are on a brain wash agenda. The true “law enforcers” are the jury. The police men/women are peace officers. Words mean things and when a judge intentionally fails to instruct the jury on nullification that judge is derelict and should be removed.
      This action by the system to cleanse itself is not done among the “good old boys” because they want more power, not less. The Grand Jury has ultimate power over the lower juries AND the misbehaving judges. The myth prevails that even the state and federal judges cannot be removed. The Constitution of the United States of America reveals the myth when stated that a judge can be removed for simply “misbehaving”, NOT a high grade misdemeanor or above as in the case of a politician. The legislature approves the appointment, therefore the legislature can simply remove the appointee.

      Sadly, most in the legislature, as in the case of the executive, convulse, gags, and pukes at an attempt to spell the word, “Constitution”.

    14. Put a large sign up in your yard with an arrow point to the neighbor’s house saying his name and that he falsely accused you of a crime. Put a security camera with infrared capability pointing at the sign. If he call to complain, call the police and report him for threatening you. The phone calll will be documented. if he tears the sign down, call the police and repot him for maliciously damaging your property. The security video should prove your case. The system works both ways.

    15. Ultimately, it is institutions that have to change to prevent these kinds of abuses. Pressing charges should be at the expense of the accuser, just like defense is at the expense of the accused. This would be a much more just system. No I’m not crazy, thank you. 🙂 In the past it worked that way & there were private prosecution associations to handle crime:

      Despite the general assumption that the gates of the American criminal justice process have always been guarded by public prosecutors, an examination of the case law and social history of criminal prosecution suggests a much more complex transformation of American criminal justice from an eighteenth and early nineteenth century system dominated by private prosecution. In Philadelphia, this system of private prosecution kept most of the power over the disposition of a criminal case in the hands of the private litigants and petty magistrates, generated a highly articulated legal culture, and resulted in relatively few jury trials.


      English law enforcement relied heavily on organizations known as Associations for the Prosecution of Felons — also known as thief-takers’ associations. Imagine a cross between a Neighborhood Watch group, an insurance agency, and an Old West style posse. People in a particular neighborhood would pool their resources, and supply their own labor, to support their local thief-takers’ association. The association would keep its eyes open for robbers (particularly those who robbed houses displaying the plaque of association membership!). If a crime (against an association member) did occur, the association would hunt down, or pay to have hunted down, the wrongdoer, often cooperating with similar associations in other districts — and then use the pooled resources to pay for the felon’s prosecution in a government court. (Criminal justice was not free in those days.)

    16. Great article, the right to remain silent is key.

      My reservation is with the part about dialing 911 first. Too many times calling the police results in the caller suffering. With so many nonsensical things being illegal these days there’s too much that can go wrong. Once the police are involved they look at everyone not just the accused. You may inadvertently be violating the law or unwittingly admit to doing so & end up arrested yourself even though you’re the one that dialed 911.

      IMHO, in the case above the best thing the Gesses could have done was ignore the SEAL. I wouldn’t apologize to anyone after being threatened anyway.

    17. DON’T SKIMP ON A LAWYER is good advice. I worked for years in a prison full of poor guys who’d had public defenders. I wised up a few of them as best I could. The thousands of dollars your lawyer wants is small potatoes compared to being locked up for years.

      If the lawyer wants $10,000 for a charge that might get a ten year sentence, that’s $1,000 per year for freedom, $80+ a month, $20 a week.

      You can pick up cans by the roadside and earn $20 a week. It’s money very well spent.

    18. Anyone that thinks that Karma don’t exist have something to look forward to. That seal will experiance what Karma can really be like. Unfortunately it will be the bad kind. Sucks to be him.

    19. Staying away from others won’t necessarily keep you from being falsely accused. I was arrested because I fit the description of a suspect, sort of. Ultimately, it turned out that even though I was at home with my family at the time in question, AND the police decided that the “witness” had made it all up, the arrest still follows me around, 12 years later. A law enforcement friend tells me that even if I get the record expunged, cops will still see on their computers that I was arrested.

      Keeping all that in mind, don’t forget that there ARE good lawyers and judges and law enforcement officers out there, along with the bad ones. Just don’t assume you’re dealing with a good one. The advice to insist on warrants, and to not answer questions without your attorney present, is GOOD advice.

    20. Every gun owner should be prepared. Whether or not your carry for self-defense or just happen to be a gun owner. You can be pursued by malicious individuals and/or malicious prosecutors, should you be charged.

    21. I understand this completely. I was threateded with a man wielding a screwdriver as a weapon, drew a gun while still in my vehicle as he had blocked my ability to escape, and without ever pointing the gun at him told him to back up. I was charged by the Independence, MO police dept with brandishing, even though I never left my truck, never pointed the weapon, and the other party was found with the screwdriver as described by myself and my son in his back pocket. He never was charged with anything, and I spent 6 months of my life fighting this charge. In the end, I was successful, but this was a lesson learned the hard way. I would have done nothing different if in the same situation again, but let my assure you, the police are NOT your friend, are not sympathetic to CCW holders, and are not interested in the law, only charging and convicting someone, anyone.

    22. Funny, I had pretty much the same thing happen to me. I was accused of assault and battery with intent to kill. I have been into guns since I was 4 yrs. old and in the army. If I had intended to kill him, the bastard would be burning in hell now.It took me exactly 7 months to bring the same charges against my accuser. We ended up both dropping charges, but I made sure he signed the papers to drop charges first. He had already lied to get me charged in the first place. Still, if charges are dropped it follows you for the rest of your life that you were charged in big bold letters. In small print is that charges were dropped. Yes, the cops look for the easiest person to charge. They don’t care about getting the right one, any poor sucker will do. It is usually someone close to the person and they don’t look any further. They look for the path of least resistance and these obese 500 lb. cops want to cuff you, stuff you, and get home for supper. They have no interest in getting the right one because this takes a lot of work on their part. They’re fat and lazy and whom ever they can pin it on the quickest is the way to go to get their fat waddling asses to the super table. They know they can get anyone to say anything if they sleep deprive them and keep telling them they did it. Just shut up and ask to see your lawyer. Don’t answer anything.The law is crooked and so are lawyers and judges, who use to be lawyers. There is nothing honorable about lawyers or judges. The same ones going after each other, in court, meet afterward for drinks and laugh about the case. It is just a 9-5 job for them and they don’t care if they win or loose. You still have to pay and they aren’t going to do the time. Judges are nothing but ex-ambulance casters. Just because they put on a robe they thinks it makes them all high and mighty. They will screw you as quickly as a lawyer will. The whole system is crooked. That is why so many people are being found innocent through DNA, for crimes they have spent 20 & 30 yrs. in prison for. Oh well, the trail is cold now. Don’t want to bother. Have to get my fat ass to supper!

    23. renojim……You get the prize on this ! You hit the nail squarely. How I wish more people would have this sense about themselves. So now what to be done about this injustice ? I, myself was accused of false allegations, pertaining to firearms, but was not put through the wringer as these folks were. My back ground is spotless. This is not America anymore, the voters are not self-educated. Yes, self-educated, get it ? Time long past for a tea-party Revolution. My God, this is our Freedoms we are talking about !

    24. More justification for my tendency to more and more just stay home. Between the fools on the roads, the fools looking for something to complain/sue about or looking for something to be offended by, and the worsening attitude by many of the police, whenever I go anywhere, I feel like a target for some kind of trouble. I long for the country I used to know.

    25. A system created by politicians, lawyers, judges and other asssorted thugs specifically FOR politicians, lawyers, judges and other asssorted thugs.
      Justice is

    26. What can we do to avenge these poor people? Make this lying SEAL’s life a living hell? The article is silent on what was done to punish him.

    27. The LEO’s are going to support the SEAL no matter what the comment was. Just my take. Although it must have hurt his mother enough not to accept an apology then again if the Son hit Steven to get even then he could have been charged with assault and battery. Crazy situation.

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