Friday, January 18, 2013
Estelle Margolis Enters Not Guilty Plea
By James Lomuscio
Estelle Margolis enters the courthouse today with grandson Jonah Newman. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Douglas Healey for WestportNow.com
UPDATE (adds link to NY Times report) Estelle Margolis, 86, pleaded not guilty in Norwalk Superior Court today to a misdemeanor breach of peace charge she faces for bringing a BB gun to the Jan. 8 Representative Town Meeting (RTM) on gun control
Her attorney Neal Rogan of Westport entered the plea before Judge William Wendel who scheduled another court date for Feb. 20.
Margolis is a longtime Westporter and peace activist known for her antiwar demonstrations on the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge. She said she brought the gun and a box of .45-caliber ammunition to the RTM to make a political statement about the easy accessibility of guns and ammunition. (See WestportNow Jan 8, 2013)
At the meeting, the town’s 36-member legislative body debated and approved a symbolic resolution supporting a federal ban on assault rifles, high capacity magazines and closing the gun show loophole making it easy to purchase firearms without background checks. The arrest of Margolis brought widespread media coverage, including a report Saturday in The New York Times of her arraignment.
Margolis, accompanied in court by her grandson Jonah Newman, would not comment after her appearance on the advice of Rogan.
Last week she went on the record to say, “I’m sorry I was so stupid,” and that it was never her intention to bring harm to anybody. She also said she intended to fight the charge.
In a letter to local news publications, Margolis added: “I deeply regret the fact that what I did was dangerous and created a great deal of anxiety for everyone and especially the young police officers at the meeting. I also failed to take account of the full extent of public fear generated by the recent events in Newtown.” (See WestportNow Jan. 9, 2013)
Margolis is the wife of the late Emanuel Margolis, a noted civil rights attorney and former chairman of the Connecticut Civil Liberties Union.
Comments: Comment Policy
Ms. Margolis needs a 2A rights attorney to defend her. As crazy as it may seem to some, as an American citizen, she too has the constitutional privilege of the second amendment guaranteed by our federal and state constitution.
Seems the charge was incorrect and should have been: CT Statutes; CHAPTER 943
OFFENSES AGAINST PUBLIC PEACE AND SAFETY; Sec. 53-206. Carrying of dangerous weapons prohibited. (a) Any person who carries upon his or her person any BB. gun, blackjack, metal or brass knuckles, or…shall be fined not more than five hundred dollars or imprisoned not more than three years or both.
I believe the article said that she was charged with breach of peace, which is quite self explanatory. If not, please see here; http://www.cga.ct.gov/2011/pub/chap952.htm#Sec53a-181.htm. If anything, it seems as if she was given the lowest possible charge here. I think we all can agree that she very well could have been charged with more, but wasn’t. I’m sure none of us here are in any position to question what charge(s) the Police used. Even if the charge(s) were to be incorrect Mr. Spoon, the State’s Attorney and/or Judge would have made the proper adjustment.
Do you know her?
Del. Joe Morrissey, D-Highland Springs, VA pulled out an AK style weapon on the Virginia State House floor to protest just like Estelle. OK, so it was not a BB gun and the Richmond area delegate promised it was not loaded…albeit he was holding the weapon with his thumb on the trigger…clearly he is not familiar with handling firearms. A negligent discharge sure would have been a surprise to many - not like that has not happened before, and with smarter people.
So anyway it appears as if Estelle is way out in front of all this stuff.
She said she was stupid - true.
She got her point across - true.
Drop the charge and call it a day.
Not guilty? I am confused… is there another way to interpret Sec. 53a-181?
Note: WestportNow Publisher Gordon F. Joseloff is also First Selectman of Westport