The State of Indiana not only attacked me for exercising my rights to the First Amendment, the State punished me for exercising my Second Amendment Rights as well. One of many assaults on my Second Amendment Rights by the State of Indiana came during the closing arguments made by Dearborn County Deputy Prosecutor Joseph Kisor at the end of my criminal trial:
“In the divorce decree and throughout the divorce proceedings, there's a 357 handgun, he was ordered, and you can read the order, it's in evidence, to turn it to his wife. He got it when she filed the petition for dissolution. That was her testimony. Around the time she filed, that's when he decided to get a 357 magnum handgun. It was ordered by Judge Humphrey to turn it over. He's not done that. He appealed those orders. The Court of Appeals upheld the judge, sent it back. The order still says; give that handgun to Melissa Brewington. I don't know where it is. Sheriff Kreinhop doesn't know where it is. Ed Connor doesn't know where it is. Judge Humphrey doesn't know where it is and Melissa Brewington doesn't know where it is. He does. Would you be afraid if you knew right now, based on what you've seen and what you've heard, the distorted thinking, the almost maniacal attacks that he will go, the steps he will go to, to attack people. Would you be afraid if you knew and I hope to God he doesn't but if he had a 357 in his pocket right now, would you be in a little bit of fear? Man, I would.”
Of course, he is talking about someone never accused of violent activity or negligent gun use. Also, notice that he said Judge Humphrey ordered me to hand over a .357 Magnum handgun that was purchased AFTER my ex filed for divorce to someone who has never fire a gun in her life. Not the value of the gun; but the gun. No evidence of misconduct, she simply said she wanted to take the gun away from me. They claimed I was dangerous because I had a concealed carry permit because everyone knows there are laws against robbing a liquor store or committting murder unless you first are a law-abiding concealed carry permit holder. Imagine a court telling a father to hand over his new Harley he bought after his wife left him and filed for divorce just because she did not approve. Kisor pointed out how the Indiana Court of Appeals agreed with Humphrey’s ruling of including property purchased AFTER the filing of the dissolution simply because it was a gun. Of course I was not going to give a gun to someone who, not only had no experience with handling any firearm, but someone who Dr. Connor claimed may react to imaginary things not to mention also carrying an extreme hatred for me. Kisor proceeded to implant the fear into the jury that I may have somehow snuck a .357 Magnum handgun past courthouse security in my pocket, despite the fact I arrived at the courtroom in shackles directly from the Dearborn County Jail. No one was afraid of the .357 Magnum. If I posed a risk of murdering anyone with my .357 Magnum, I would pose the same risk with the other several guns Humphrey allowed me to keep in the final decree in my divorce. .357 Magnum just sounds scarier than my 12-gauge Mossberg shotgun my parents bought for me when I was 18.
Until now, I really have not touched upon my struggles with how the Indiana Courts have persecuted me for being a lawful gun owner under the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution. The persecution began when Judge James D. Humphrey provided the following as one of reasons why he felt it was necessary to terminate my parenting time in the divorce decree filed on August 18, 2009:
“Husband began instructing Mary now age 5, in the use of firearms when she was 4 years old over Wife's concerns and protests.”
When my ex-wife filed for divorce, she began making a big deal about me having guns in the house. I just had some regular hunting shotguns and rifles, no assault rifles or handguns, I kept locked in a closet. I kept two black-powder rifles under the couch. (For those not familiar with black powder firearms, they are loaded the old-fashioned way by loading the powder and projectile into the gun, packing it down, and then igniting it with some kind of spark.) As my ex began raising a stink about a locked closet not being able to keep guns away from my daughters, who were three and not quite one at the time, I purchased a gun safe. Prior to that point, my daughters had no idea what a gun was no less had any idea that I owned any. You could imagine what a three year old would say when she saw a big black box sitting in the living room. “What’s that daddy?” “It’s a gun safe.” …and the questions kept coming.
I am a person who firmly believes if you tell a kid something is bad just because they are young, it will eventually blow up in your face. (See drug talk, alcohol speech, and lesson on birds and the bees.) Taking a hard stance and telling your child that sex is bad for all unmarried people will only increase your chances of becoming a young grandparent. My philosophy in teaching children right from wrong revolves around respect and education. If a child respects you and has a good understanding of your concerns and the facts of a particular matter, it will increase the chances the child will make better decisions in life. My ex was telling the girls that all guns are bad until you turn 18. Regardless of your views on the Second Amendment or gun ownership, my ex’s statements either served to pit the girls against me, or fuel a normal childhood curiosity about what is behind the locked door. When Mary was close to five, I let her use a plastic BB gun that we kept in the safe. It was “her” gun. The fun for her was not in shooting the gun but it was in trying to impress me with her gun safety. Mary was aware we did not point anywhere near the dogs when we were shooting plastic BBs (we lived on a farm). We wore eye protection. She understood the difference between having fun and playtime. We could enjoy ourselves shooting the plastic BB gun but it was not a game and we could not mess around. When she finished shooting, I would open the gun safe and she would put “her” gun in its spot. When she turned five, Santa gave her a pink BB gun. I set up an indoor target range and we shot at targets with a backdrop and a gun rest. She did not carry the gun. I set it up for her. The rules were when the BB gun came out and she put on her safety glasses, playtime was over. Imagine the benefit of a five year old being capable of understanding the difference between having fun as a kid and the responsibility of having fun as an adult. She was learning and growing… until my ex and Judge Humphrey labeled our experience as firearms training and cited the activity as a reason to strip my daughters of a father. However, that was just the beginning on the State’s attack on my parental rights and my rights under the Second Amendment.
The best way to obtain an indictment from a grand jury in Dearborn County is to tell the jurors the target of the investigation is dangerous and the only way he can lose his ability to own a gun is to convict him of a felony. The following is an exchange between a member of the grand jury and Dearborn County Sheriff Michael Kreinhop:
JUROR: Sheriff if he took a psych. eval. and he flunked it or it came back with a negative report, would he lose his license to carry firearms?
MR. KREINHOP: He would have to be convicted of a felony and someone would have to petition the court and show evidence that it possibly could be taken away if he's demonstrated to be unstable but otherwise as far as an automatic loss, uh, it wouldn't be done immediately but if he was convicted of a felony, he would lose his license to have a handgun at that point, but otherwise it would have to be demonstrated in court that he's unstable to continue to possess or have a firearm.
During the course of the grand jury investigation in my case, words like gun, firearm(s), concealed carry permit, etc., appeared over 120 times. At no time did Sheriff Kreinhop or Dearborn Prosecutor F. Aaron Negangard allege that I did anything illegal with any gun, they just said I was dangerous and the only way the state could strip me of my Second Amendment Rights was to convict me of a felony. That is exactly what happened.
Things did not get any better after my conviction as the Indiana Supreme Court failed to protect my rights under the United States Constitution. Writing the decision, Justice Loretta H. Rush, who has recently assumed the role of Chief Justice of the Court, wrote:
“[Brewington] bought a .357 Magnum handgun shortly after his former wife filed for divorce, but never returned it to her as the Decree required, purportedly for concern about her mental stability.”
Not only did Chief Justice Rush acknowledge the State forced me to hand over property I purchased after my wife left me, she used the firearm scare tactic in her decision:
“There would be no doubt about that conclusion if Defendant, all in a single episode, had violently shouted and slammed piles of books in the courtroom, shaken his fist at the Judge and the Doctor, and told them, ‘You crooked child abusers! I’m a pyromaniac, I have guns and know how to use them, I’d like to beat you senseless, I know where you live, and I’m going to hold you accountable!’ Under those circumstances, it would be obvious that Defendant was making an unprotected ‘true threat’ against the victims, even if the phrase ‘crooked child abusers’ was protected speech. Defendant’s threats neither lose force, nor gain protection, merely because he built them up over the course of a years-long campaign of harassment.”
Rush stated my “skill in the use of firearms, and long-running expressions of hostility towards” Judge Humphrey was reason for Judge Humphrey to fear me. This was just another one of Indiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Loretta H. Rush’s assaults on the United States Constitution. I may have been able to harshly criticize Judge Humphrey but if all of my other legal activities, such as law-abiding gun ownership, are taken into account, Chief Justice Rush opined my criticisms became threats. Somehow a combination of legal acts became an illegal act. In the math world, no matter how many times you multiply one times one, it will always equal one. In the world of Indiana Chief Justice Loretta Rush, one times one equals whatever she wants. (NOTE: Justice Rush and Judge Humphrey served on the Indiana Juvenile Justice Improvement Committee for at least six years. Judge Humphrey, who was the alleged “victim” in my case, attended committee meetings with Justice Loretta H. Rush at the same time my case was being decided by Justice Rush. Chief Justice Rush refused to recuse herself from the case.)
So now, I am a felon and cannot possess firearms. The fact that I cannot shoot recreationally anymore does not bother me as much as the fact that the Indiana Judicial System has a complete and utter disrespect for the United States Constitution. The gun issue pales in comparison to the fact these people are responsible for my children being fatherless for the past five years. On the bright side, now I can criticize Chief Justice Loretta H. Rush and the other four concurring justices in my case as much as I want because I am no longer dangerous because I have lost the ability to possess firearms. Seem ridiculous? Why do you think I keep writing?
I am appealing my case to the US Supreme Court and welcome any support from individuals and/or groups who still believe in the United States Constitution. Help send a message to Justice Rush about the importance of the First and Second Amendments of the United States Constitution. Please note Loretta Rush is up for a retention election in November. Get out and vote. Please forward this to other gun owners and supporters of the Second Amendment. If you have any questions about my integrity or the facts of my case, please feel free read more info on my blog. You can also email me with any questions or concerns at firstname.lastname@example.org as transparency is very important to me.