A Nurse with a Gun

Friday, January 16, 2009

A Matter of Appreciation

Imagine serving your country, losing both legs, traveling on your own dime to get rehab, and then having your firearm confiscated and being charged and jailed for the simple act of possessing it, in the country you lost your limbs defending. Imagine having the hope of walking again stripped away because you chose to carry the means to defend yourself. That is the outrage that happened to USMC Corporal Melroy H. Cort.

On his third tour in Iraq, Cpl. Melroy H. Cort was severely injured by an IED that cost him both of his legs. He was traveling in his privately owned automobile to Walter Reed Army Medical Center when he had a flat tire. Unable to change the wheel himself, he and his wife limped the car to a service station. There, he removed his handgun from the glove compartment and secured it underneath his jacket. Cort had an Ohio CCW license, and was anticipating an extended stay at Walter Reed. He had been advised by his commanding officer to transport the firearm with him to Walter Reed and have it secured in the armory there.

Unfortunately, a bystander saw the young black man secure the handgun underneath his olive drab jacket. Law enforcement arrived, handcuffed the wheelchair bound man, and placed him in jail. He was charged with three counts of carrying a pistol without a license, possession of an unregistered firearm and possession of ammunition. Felonies.

The first impact of a felony conviction for most gun owners is loss of gun ownership rights. For this young Marine, such a conviction meant the loss of the medical benefits that would allow him to walk again. The stakes were high. Cort's public defender advised him to plead guilty. Another day another dollar for the court appointed attorney.

Fearless in the face of overwhelming odds, Cpl. Melroy H. Cort fired the lackluster lawyer, and took on the role of defending himself. He would be judged by a jury of people not quite his peers. Cort tried to tell the jury his story, how he enlisted in the Marines after achieving a business degree from Wright State University in Ohio. He tried to tell the jury how he was on his third tour of Iraq when he lost his legs in the service of their country. Judge Lynn Leibovitz declared the testimony inadmissible.

The arresting officers described how Cort surrendered peacefully and how he behaved cooperatively. Although they may have seen a black man with a gun at the time of the arrest, I can not help but think Cort now had the officer's profound respect. But would the jury?

On January 13, 2008, a jury acquitted Corporal Melroy H. Cort of all felonious charges. He was convicted of possession of ammunition, a misdemeanor. He would keep his medical benefits and the chance to walk again. Cort was sentenced to time already served. "I had to fight for myself..... I wasn't going to plead guilty and lose everything," said Cort. He and his wife are returning to Columbus Ohio, where she works in real estate. Cort plans to appeal the misdemeanor conviction.

It is my sincere hope that Corporal Cort applies the same fearlessness to rehabilitation with two new legs. Semper Fi.

Labels:

31 Comments:

Blogger Farm.Dad said...

Where can we support this wounded warrior ? This young man is an example to all of us as to what is right and how to do right . I for one would kick a few bucks or likely more important to him an email of appreciation to help him out .

Thanks Xav for bringing the story to our attention .

6:50 PM  
Blogger nature223 said...

what a frickin excellent story,
THANK YOU MARINE,you made us proud

7:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am proud to have served with people such as this.

LTC(R), FA, USA

7:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have no pity for this guy. He broke the law. Is he above the law? Throw him in prison. He knew the law, and he chose to break it. Who cares if he didn't violate anyone else's rights. Lawbreaker. Criminal. If people did what they wanted but didn't violate the rights of others, we'd have chaos. This is a nation of LAWS. We have people who know better than us who tell us what we can do. Throw him in prison and let him think about his heinous crimes.

7:50 PM  
Anonymous Greg Tag said...

Hmmm...

I think Mr. Anonymous is being funny, I hope. If not, he needs to take his meds and settle down, and then contemplate if his sentiments are the product with some sort of totalitarian fetish.

As for this brave young Marine, he lost his legs, but not his courage. I am glad he is on our team.

Thanks Xavier for the news.

8:18 PM  
Anonymous cw said...

This sort of case is a good example of why the right to a jury trial is so important.

Shame on the DC US Attorney's office for not dropping the case. This aquittal was after two mistrials.

8:21 PM  
Blogger El Capitan said...

Despite a preponderance of evidence, and no doubt a judge's instructions of "You must find him guilty if Conditions A, B & C are present", the jury chooses to acquit on the felony charges.

Makes me happy to see that jury nullification is alive & well, despite the efforts of the judiciary to stomp it out.

8:40 PM  
Blogger kbarrett said...

Hey, Anon ...

Look up the Penn trial some time. Then try some light reading at fija.org.

Despite the beliefs of some judges and lawyers, juries still have a right to try the law itself as well as the defendant.

No jurist has been successfully punished by a judge for nullification in this country. There is a reason for that.

10:39 PM  
Blogger Glenn Bartley said...

I am happy he was not convicted of a felony, and happy he will be able to continue with his rehab. Yet I think, this brave patriotic man exhibited extremely poor judgment, and his C/O or whomever it was who told him to bring his pistol was an asshole for telling him to bring it. Based on that advice to essentially disregard the law this poor fellow wound up getting busted. Being a hero does not change this, a hero can still exhibit truly poor judgement when he returns home, and in my opinion this was one such thing.

Now for those of you who want to defend him by saying it is our right to keep and bear arms, yep I believe that too. I also believe we live in a republic and are ruled by laws that We the People make by way of our elected officials. Some of them are lousy laws, and need to be changed, such as gun control laws; but that does not give us liberty to disregard them out of disrespect, poor judgment, criminal intent or our belief that they are not fitting to us. Let's get them changed but let's also obey them before we get them changed. Just think of some other laws that other folks may decide to disregard, then yet some others, and yet some others, and next thing you know we have anarchy leading to tyranny.

Does any of this diminish what he did in Iraq. No it does not. Does this make him any less of an American hero. He is still a hero, he deserves our respect for that and whatever support we can offer him for that; but even heroes can make poor decisions. He seems to have made bad one by having that gun with him when he almost assuredly knew it was against the law. If he did not know, he should have known, my guess is he was capable enough, though maybe not wise enough, to have checked on that before he traveled.

He probably was lucky to have gotten off as easy as he did. Of course his heroism helped there, as did popular attitude toward firearms. I hope his appeal overcomes even the misdemeanor conviction, but I also hope the whole affair pounds some sense into his head. Just because you are a hero does not mean you can disregard the law. There are ways to overcome lousy laws, such as through the courts, but disregard for them is not one of the better methods unless of course they are truly tyrannical and are placing your life or limb, or that of another innocent, in imminent threat of serious danger.

All the best,
Glenn B

11:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you Cpl. Melroy H. Cort

Thank you for doing what was right based on the Constition and it seems your commanding officer.

Thank you also to the jury that saw the law was wrong.

11:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"A Nation of LAWS?" I suppose Liberty, Justice, and rights are right out, huh?

Read Bastiat, you fool.

Bring the troops home, we need to remind the pampered proletariat that their freedoms are paid for with the blood and limbs of heroes.

11:41 PM  
Blogger Jordan said...

Living in Columbus, I can only hope that someday I run across this shining example of a human being. I will shake his hand and thank him for his service. Thank God for people like him.

11:46 PM  
Blogger Tmagnum62 said...

He is the type of man that gives me hope in these times.

12:08 AM  
Anonymous eeky said...

"I also believe we live in a republic and are ruled by laws that We the People make by way of our elected officials. Some of them are lousy laws, and need to be changed, such as gun control laws; but that does not give us liberty to disregard them out of disrespect, poor judgment, criminal intent or our belief that they are not fitting to us. Let's get them changed but let's also obey them before we get them changed. Just think of some other laws that other folks may decide to disregard, then yet some others, and yet some others, and next thing you know we have anarchy leading to tyranny."

Yeah, wasn't it Rosa Parks who said, "Best just go to the back of the bus. Laws are laws-don't want to incite any anarchy, after all!"

12:57 AM  
Blogger Divemedic said...

Glen B-

We do not live in a Republic. We live in a CONSTITUTIONAL Republic, in which the Constitution that established the Republic places limits on the power of that Republic to prevent it from passing laws that violates the rights of individuals.

In our legal system, for a citizen to challenge a law, the court has ruled that one must have "standing," which means that you must break the law and be charged before you can challenge it in court.

5:13 AM  
Blogger Loyd said...

I admire this young man and his fight for to uphold freedom for himself and his country against the forces who despise individual liberty and Constitutional governance and work to reduce all of us to slavery.
I also respect his service in Iraq.

7:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"We live in a CONSTITUTIONAL Republic, in which the Constitution that established the Republic places limits on the power of that Republic to prevent it from passing laws that violates the rights of individuals."

In other words, the State is charged with the responsibility of limiting its own power. Yes. That is a funny catch, isn't it?

The fox promising to protect the henhouse from the most dangerous aggressors to the lives and liberty of the chickens.

4:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Bring the troops home, we need to remind the pampered proletariat that their freedoms are paid for with the blood and limbs of heroes."

Yes. Religious freedom and your right to keep and bear arms are protected by men getting their limbs blown off by IED's 5,000 miles away. The thin camo line that stands between us and and hordes of Muslims invading this land and imposing Shariah law. It would cause me to well up with tears of gratitude, if it were true.

4:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Eeky, and don't forget that dutiful subject, Harriet Tubman, who said, "It'd be plain wrong for me to break the fugitive slave act, 'cause it's a law, and the law's the law. The law makes sure we obey the law, not that we don't hurt nobody."

4:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To be perfectly honest, the guy should have locked the piece in a case, and stowed it in the trunk. It then would not have been seen by anyone, and he wouldn't have gotten arrested.

I realize that there is a state's rights thing going on here, but we really do need complete 50 state reciprocity with permits to carry in this country.

6:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon @6:36,

No, we don't need 50-state CCW. We need people to leave other people alone for carrying a firearm to defend themselves, concealed or open.

10:18 AM  
Anonymous RickR said...

Dumbass cop that arrested him should have done the right thing by talking to him, making sure everything was on the up & up then letting him go. Arresting this man was a travesty of justice. Thankfully, the jury had more brains & guts than the cop had.

9:47 AM  
Blogger The Saj said...

Xavier,

I blogged about my views on this incident the other day. It left me so infuriated that I contacted my Senator. I think Congress needs to !@#$% slap the DC council. Sadly, we won't ever see what they really deserve - which is to all be hauled off by Federal police and thrown in jail.

That said, today I wrote Cpl Cort a letter. I am mailing it off to the Walter Reed Medical Hospital "care of". Hopefully it will reach him...


http://nugun.wordpress.com/2009/01/15/an-incident-in-dc-has-left-me-outraged/

:-(

10:51 AM  
Blogger The Saj said...

Anonymous...

No he did NOT break the law.

a) Federal law allows him to transport a firearm. (Granted whether he was transporting it correctly, unloaded, etc may be of issue.)

b) DC is breaking the law. So do you take such a similar view on the City Council of DC?

***

The real issue is that the laws are poorly written. The Federal law protects said transport. However, it does not take into account the very real aspect of vehicle break down. What was Cpl Cort to do? Leave an unattended firearm in his vehicle in breech of the Federal law.

No, Cpl Cort did the responsible thing in lieu of a poorly written law that left him in a no-win scenario. And if you have issue with that anonymous, I hope you choke on a chicken bone.

"but that does not give us liberty to disregard them out of disrespect, poor judgment, criminal intent or our belief that they are not fitting to us."

No, but when those laws fail to take account of certain real world scenarios and thus become injust laws. We have no moral duty to oblige them.


***

I am really getting sick of judges not allowing beneficial testimony. This seems to be the latest craze. It's how Ramos and Compean got convicted. It's how rapists have gotten off when judges have refused to let rape victims testify about the incidents.

It's disgusting... and if I ever find myself in such a situation. God help me. Because I believe "Justice" is always my right. I only abdicate it to the judicial system for the benefit of society.

10:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

RickR,

The cop was just following orders. He doesn't make the asinine laws, he's just the one that enforces the asinine laws against innocent people. He doesn't load the gun, he just pulls the trigger. Cut him some slack.

7:11 PM  
Blogger Thernlund said...

http://wethearmed.com/index.php/topic,2070.0.html


-T.

9:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Glenn Bartley--"NEW YORK COP" (self explanatory, I think)

2:57 PM  
Anonymous Doc said...

WELCOME TO THE UNITED SOCIALIST STATES OF AMERICA!

In return for free health care, housing, food and education for anybody who refuses to support themselves, you must support the benificent elitists who provide all this largess at the expense of those who choose to work for a living.

You must also agree not to try to protect yourself from those ungrateful and greedy individuals who believe, along with your new Socialist government, that whatever you have can be theirs by simply taking it… along with your life occasionally, but then, what's a life, in the effort to save one criminal from death by firearm?

The Old, outdated and obsolete Constitution provided that you have the right to protect yourself, your family and your home, but since your new and beloved Socialist Government is now caring for you from cradle to grave, you no longer need to do that, do you? God (who is, by the way, illegal!) forbid, you may want to do something foolish... like protect yourself. You don’t need guns to protect you, to hunt with, or to shoot for fun at a range. The police protect you, (sometimes, when they find out you need protecting, and if they can get there in time, or you are important enough); nobody needs to hunt for food, because food is provided by the government; and if you want to shoot for fun, why – go to a bowling alley, or play video games.

This is sarcastic, but all too true in reality. When did we become a country where you cannot protect yourself, even in a place as dangerous as Washington DC, without being charged as a criminal? The place is a sewer and smells like one too.

Way to go, Cpl Cort! Semper Fi!

'Doc' Aylsworth.
HMC, FMF, USN(ret)

12:29 AM  
Blogger Fred said...

"...the right to bear and carry arms SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED."

What part of that Second Amendment do these idiots not understand?

7:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jordan,
I live in Columbus and the had the honor of meeting this young man today.
How sad that our Veteran's are coming home to such uncaring humans...humans they fought, and lost their limbs, to save. Including our own Government. We bring these men home, say "thanks...if you need us, call us", and then don't do shit to actually help them. These men have experienced horror beyond anything we can imagine. They don't sleep, feel watchful, and forgotten....that easily.
My heart went out to this honorable soldier, and I only hope and pray that he believed me when I told him, "I care!!"
God Bless you, Melroy! God looks down on you and smiles for theheart you have!!

6:02 PM  
Anonymous cz said...

Jordan,
I had the pleasure/honor of meeting this fine young man today! What an honor it was for me to be able to sit and talk to him. I only hope he believed me when I said, "I care!!"

6:49 PM  

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