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Lawyer: Police ‘tricked’ client into illegal gun sale

2013-07-03T20:15:00Z Lawyer: Police ‘tricked’ client into illegal gun saleDON LEHMAN - dlehman@poststar.com Glens Falls Post-Star
July 03, 2013 8:15 pm  • 

MOREAU -- The lawyer for a Moreau man charged with violating the state’s Safe Act gun laws has asked a judge to dismiss the criminal charges in the case, arguing State Police “tricked” his client into selling an assault rifle the day after the law went into effect.

Lawyer Greg Canale argued the charges against his client, William Greene, should be dismissed in the interest of justice because of the circumstances of the arrest.

Greene, 51, was arrested and charged with two misdemeanors on April 16 after he sold an Rguns .223-caliber semiautomatic rifle to an undercover State Police investigator who responded to an online advertisement.

The gun could not be legally sold at that time because of a state law change, and was sold without a background check required to sell a firearm, according to police. It was the first Safe Act prosecution in the region.

The arrest came the day after the law took effect, and the investigator first contacted Greene about it on March 28. Sale of the gun would have been legal at that point and up until April 15.

The officer waited until the law took effect and the sale became illegal, inquired again about the gun and purchased it for $2,000.

In a written motion to dismiss the charges, Canale called the crime a victimless one that was created by State Police to prove a point — that the new law will be enforced.

“It is a sad commentary that some high-ranking State Police officer decided to spend valuable man hours and thousands of tax dollars trying to catch an honest citizen selling his gun one day after a law went into effect instead of informing him of the new law,” Canale wrote. “To make an example out of a hard-working and honest citizen should not be the job of our State Police.”

Canale wrote that Greene believed he had until the end of the year to sell the gun and that no background check was required until that point as well.

Greene did ask the officer “if he was a cop,” but he did so “to be funny and to break the ice.” But the officer “misrepresented” himself and replied that he was not a police officer.

Canale wrote that Greene’s family needed money because they had used much of their savings as his wife dealt with serious health problems.

Moreau Town Justice Jeff McCabe will rule on the motion after the Saratoga County District Attorney’s Office responds to it.

Saratoga County District Attorney James Murphy said his office will review the motion and will oppose the request to dismiss the charges. He said the transaction was videotaped by police and will be used as evidence in the case.

“His (Greene’s) comments after arrest might be trying to paint himself in a certain light and that’s his decision,” Murphy said.

Greene is due back in court on Thursday but the district attorney’s office will have at least two weeks to respond to Canale’s pretrial motion.

The charges are each punishable by up to a year in jail.

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(7) Comments

  1. Bill B
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    Bill B - July 05, 2013 6:01 pm
    Seems that the bad guys get to do what they want, and again the legal
    Gun owners get the shaft. I'm sure there must be something else the
    State Police could be doing,with all the gangs and drugs there are in
    The area.
  2. DWC121
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    DWC121 - July 05, 2013 4:24 pm
    " If you are doing something legally why would you even think of asking someone if they were a cop?" Interesting point. I wonder what Greene would have said/done if the buyer did say he was a cop. Would he have thought twice about selling the gun to him for fear the gun had a bad past or the sale might be illegal?
  3. something is wrong
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    something is wrong - July 05, 2013 12:31 am
    These are the people we should trust? Think Twice!
  4. Maggie1208
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    Maggie1208 - July 04, 2013 3:12 pm
    CONTINUNED……… I would only ask if I THINK I am doing something wrong and feel I might get into trouble. Also an undercover cop does not have to reveal that he is a cop if he is asked. That would defeat the purpose of being undercover. I do not want anything to happen to Greene and I hope the judge shows him mercy. I do know that this area is really good at helping others in time of need maybe a fund raiser can be held for Greene to help him with his wife’s medication and with his legal fees once all of this is behind him. I would like to say shame on you LE for putting this man through so much just so you can make a point. To the state trooper that this for whatever reasons you engaged in such “trickery” you should be ashamed.
  5. Maggie1208
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    Maggie1208 - July 04, 2013 3:12 pm
    Let me say I do not believe that Greene should have been arrested. I do believe that the State Police saw an opportunity and took advantage of the opportunity to make a point, to set an example. However as a judge I don’t see how he will be able to drop the charges because the individual feels he was “tricked”. Greene was not tricked into selling the gun he had all intentions of selling the gun. Unfortunately for him he did not know the law and ignorance to the law is no excuse. Greene had all intentions of selling the gun for the money for his sick wife. (I am so sorry for your wife’s health). The judge can use it against Greene that he asked the state police if they were a cop. If you are doing something legally why would you even think of asking someone if they were a cop? Example: If I am selling a lawn mower to someone off Craig’s list I am not going to ask the person when I meet them are you a cop. I am not doing anything illegal. CONTINUE
  6. loggerman
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    loggerman - July 04, 2013 10:09 am
    why is it that a man who has never done anything wrong sells a gun to pay for is ill wifes medicine gets in this much trouble, when two men in hudson falls just got arrested for showing a hand gun in a dispute and they get off with a 500 bail when if you took a look at their records they both have been in alot of trouble before it must be because the two men together dont have 2 nickles to rub together and mr. greene has some money so they know he can pay fine it all boils down to money in the end
  7. travist
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    travist - July 04, 2013 5:03 am
    I agree with the defendant. Over-enthusiastic prosecution of a new and capricious law.


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