Attorney claims gun owners are making it hard to file murder charges

AP Photo/Brennan Linsley, File

The demonization of gun owners and the Second Amendment is hitting a new low in Indianapolis, Indiana. First, Mayor Joe Hogsett proposed an ordinance that flies in the face of both the Bill of Rights and Indiana preemption law by banning gun sales to adults younger than 21, prohibiting the sale of so-called assault weapons, and requiring a license to carry even though Indiana is a Constitutional Carry state. Now a local defense attorney is absurdly claiming that the local prosecutor in Marion County is having a hard time filing murder charges because of all those darn gun owners in the city.


Of the 103 homicides investigated by IMPD this year, about 85 percent are considered criminal in nature.

[Defense attorney Jeff] Mendes said Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears may be finding it harder to file gun homicide cases that are less than murder.

”That person’s gonna say, ‘He or she was trying to inflict some type of deadly force against me. That’s why I shot him or her.’ If that’s all your evidence, you’re gonna have a difficult time to file a charge, number one, and, number two, if a charge like that is filed, you’re gonna have a difficult time persuading a jury that you’re guilty of a major crime like murder or manslaughter, so forth and so on.

“It’s becoming more difficult, I believe, to file murder charges,” said Mendes. ”I’d say 30-40% of individuals who are on juries either have a license to carry or are gun owners and its difficult to persuade 12 people on gun cases because they have a certain mindset or mentality that if anything arises that may harm a person, that may harm them, protecting someone else, they’re gonna bring out their guns and you go into court, you’re gonna find someone probably not guilty.”

Look, Mendes has spent far more time in a courtroom than I have, but I’m having a hard time buying his argument. Even assuming that Mendes is right about gun owners being less likely to convict on murder or manslaughter charges, especially when there are allegations of self-defense, why would the potential makeup of a jury cause a prosecutor to have second thoughts about bringing charges in the first place? It’s not like the Marion County prosecutor or the assistant prosecutors who handle the majority of the cases in his office know how many jurors are going to be gun owners ahead of time, and if they were really concerned about gun owners nullifying a prosecution they could use their jury challenges to try to weed gun owners out of a potential jury pool.


Generally speaking, before prosecutors consider what, if any, charges to bring against a potential defendant they’re going to be relying on the initial investigation by local police. Does Mendes honestly think Ryan Meares is going to disregard a murder arrest and all the evidence that went into it because he’s concerned that any gun owners on a future jury are just going to vote to acquit regardless of the information that comes out at trial?

It’s disappointing that Fox 59 in Indianapolis would air such a ridiculous assertion while letting it go unchallenged, especially in a story that’s ostensibly about two cases of possible armed self-defense over the weekend.

Among the several shootings that IMPD officers responded to over the weekend, in two cases the people who pulled the trigger stood by to talk to detectives and were not arrested and charged.

Those cases are under investigation as possible self-defense shootings.

In the 4400 block of Arcadia Street early Sunday morning, a woman shot a man she said had attempted to turn her doorknob and enter her home as he said he was staying there.

The man lived and was rushed to the hospital.

On the western edge of Indianapolis, just off Country Club Road, in the 300 block of Meganwood Court, police were aware of a report of a suspicious person when a homeowner fatally wounded a man on his back porch late Saturday night.

I’m gonna go out on a limb here and predict that if authorities wind up not charging one or both of these individuals, it won’t be for fear of a jury pool “tainted” by gun owners, but because the facts don’t support criminal charges. If Mendes has any solid evidence that prosecutors are laying off charges because they’re worried about what gun-owning jurors might do, I’d love to see it, but this seems like nothing more than a low-handed attempt to once again blame legal and generally law-abiding gun owners for the acts of violent criminals.


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