Somewhere near Grand Junction, Colorado, supposed would-be stand up comedian, Nathen Channing , was charged with Felony “Menacing” for allegedly pointing the insidious fruit at law enforcement Officers.
Channing allegedly drawing and pointing a banana at officers “in the same manner someone would draw a standard handgun from a concealed holster,” according to an officer at the scene. Channing claimed he was simply joking, but the cops did not have a sense of humor.
Can piss-poor timing and innapropriate prop usage land a comedian in jail on a Felony?
Well…Channing was charged under Colorado’s Felony Menacing statute, punishable by 1 to 3 years in prison. Under this law, to “menace” someone on the felony level in the Rocky Mountain State, you must:
- Knowingly place or attempt to place another person in fear of imminent serious bodily injury; and
- Use a deadly weapon or object used or fashioned in a manner to make a person reasonably believe it is a deadly weapon; or
- Represent verbally or otherwise that he or she is armed with a deadly weapon.
THe second element is where Law enforcement are hanging their hat on this seemingly trumped up charge. Sheriff’s deputies who encountered Channing contend that he drew the banana from his coat and pointed it at them like a gun. When Deputy Donald Love began to draw his own handgun, Channing yelled to the deputies “It’s a banana.”
Intent, Knowledge, and Bananas
Channing’s story is that the banana stunt was simply a joke material (not to mention, he was a standup comedian). Even if it was not Channing’s intent to cause the deputies to fear for their lives, all that is required in Colorado is that he knowingly put someone in fear for their life where they reasonably could have believed he was exhibiting a weapon.
Is it reasonable to believe that a yellow object pointed at you was a gun? How many banana guns have you ever seen?
Have you been charged with a crime?
If you are accused of ANY CRIMINAL OFFENSE it is crucial that you have an aggressive criminal defense attorney in your corner. You need someone that will fight for your rights. You need a tenacious lawyer that will put the state to their burden.
Contact attorney Tristan LeGrande IMMEDIATELY by calling 281-684-3500.
Houston Criminal defense attorney Tristan LeGrande
If you have purchased a firearm you may have seen the signs: “Don’t lie for the other guy” warning those purchasing firearms for someone else buying a firearm for someone that is not allowed to own one (Eg., Convicted Felons) you can end up in jail. However, the supreme court attenuated the law a little in the case of Abramski v. United States. What seems odd from this opinion is that The majority holds that even if both the “straw” purchaser and the intended recipient are eligible to purchase and possess a firearm, it still can be an illegal straw transaction.
In my opinion this decision ignores the purpose of the legislation – to prevent criminals from acquiring guns. However, the court disagreed, seeming to say that the real purpose was to be able to account for who are the actual purchasers and holders of specific firearms.
In a 5-4 opinion, the court held that the law applied to a Virginia man who bought a gun with the intention of transferring it to his uncle in Pennsylvania — even though the uncle is not prohibited from owning firearms.
The debate centers around federal gun laws intended to prevent sham buyers from obtaining guns for the sole purpose of giving them to someone else. The laws were part of Congress’ effort to make sure firearms did not get into the hands of unlawful recipients.
Defendant Abramski bought a Glock 19 handgun in Virginia in 2009 and later transferred it to his uncle in Pennsylvania. Abramski, a former police officer, assured the Virginia dealer he was the “actual buyer” of the weapon even though he had already offered to buy the gun for his uncle using his expired police identification to get a discount.
During the transaction, Abramski answered “yes” on a federal form asking “Are you the actual transferee buyer of the firearm(s) listed on this form? Warning: You are not the actual buyer if you are acquiring the firearm(s) on behalf of another person. If you are not the actual buyer, the dealer cannot transfer the firearm(s) to you.”
Abramski purchased the gun three days after his uncle had written him a check for $400 with “Glock 19 handgun” written in the memo line.
Justice Kagan spoke for the majority, espousing that the federal government’s elaborate system of background checks and record-keeping requirements help law enforcement investigate crimes by tracing guns to their buyers. “Those provisions would mean little if a would-be gun buyer could evade them by simply getting another person to buy the gun and fill out the paperwork.”
In dissent, Justice Scalia said the language of the law does not support making it a crime for one lawful gun owner to buy a gun for another. Expectedly, Scalia was joined by the court’s other conservatives — Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito.
Abramski is being too honest where he doesn’t need to be, and too dishonest where it is most important to be honest! How could this problem have been avoided? He should have said he was buying the gun for another person that could have lawfully owned it…wait…would they have allowed that transaction to occur?