New Jersey Superior Court Judge Michael Donio and New Jersey District Attorney Jim McClain did Ray Rice a serious solid after he knocked his then-fiancee Janay Parker out cold and dragged her body off an elevator in Atlantic City. They afforded the Baltimore Ravens running back the opportunity to enroll into a diversionary program for first time offenders. This allowed him to skip any type of incarceration for the horrifying crime.
However, Donio and McClain aren’t being so lenient in the case of Shaneen Allen, a 27-year-old mother of two. Like Rice, Allen's prior criminal record is spotless. However, they are trying to make an example of the Philadelphia mom for illegally carrying a gun that she's licensed to own in another state. She faces a felony conviction and 42 months in prison.
Last October, Allen was pulled over in Atlantic County, NJ for an unsafe lane switch. According to The New American, she complied with the standard procedure and gave the police officer her license, registration and insurance card. She even went so far as to notify the officer of 38-caliber Bersa handgun in the car that she’d purchased a week before and her license to conceal.
She didn't know that Pennsylvania gun permits are not valid in New Jersey.
In Allen, many would see a responsible gun owner that made an oversight. She got the permit because while working as a phlebotomist in Philadelphia, she’d been robbed twice and wanted to protect herself and her family. Local New Jersey law enforcement instead saw a criminal that needs to learn a lesson. She was arrested on the spot and charged with unlawful possession of weapon.
Allen was able to hire attorney, Evan Nappen thanks to the crowdfunded Shaneen Allen Defense Fund. Over 1,000 supporters have donated more than $38,000 to it to date. The case has been popular among gun enthusiasts/activists. Nappen is known for his work in cases concerning gun possession and is an activist himself.
Last week, when the judge denied her motion to dismiss charges and refused to overturn the prosecution’s denial of the diversion program, The Philadelphia Daily News reports Allen “cried for a moment in the hallway with her son Naiare and his father” before rejecting a plea deal that would guarantee a 3 ½ year sentence. It is her hope that the jury uses “common sense” when examining the case. Nappen sassed, "There is no public need to prosecute Shaneen Allen. I'm sure the public is just begging for Shaneen Allen to go to jail."
Shaneen Allen’s case is scheduled to start in October.