Judge rules Jakubowski can't discuss gun rights at trial
MADISON--The man who led Rock County and federal authorities on a 10-day manhunt in April wanted to discuss his beliefs about the 2nd Amendment during his upcoming trial, but a federal judge has ruled he can't.
Joseph A. Jakubowski, 33, faces charges of stealing firearms and silencers from a federally licensed firearms dealer in Janesville and being a felon in possession of those firearms and silencers.
The maximum penalty for each count is 10 years in federal prison, or a total of 20 years. The trial in U.S. District Court in Madison starts Monday.
The Janesville man is accused of breaking into Armageddon Supplies gun shop April 4 and taking 18 firearms and two silencers. Just before the break-in, Jakubowski sent to President Donald Trump a 161-page manifesto in which he talked about being upset that he could not legally possess firearms because he is a convicted felon.
Jakubowski wrote that he needed guns to protect his businesses and family. He said he spent $12,000 in trying to regain his right to possess firearms, according to federal court documents.
Wisconsin court records show Jakubowski was convicted of two felonies: possession with intent to deliver marijuana in 2003 and disarming a police officer in 2008, both in Rock County.
Jakubowski made similar arguments in a letter he left for the gun shop owner, court documents show.
Jakubowski argued in the letter that the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution does not say that gun ownership can be limited for any reason.
The letter includes a statement that Jakubowski had never met the owner and an apology for the theft.
“I have the right to protect the ones I love and the property I own just as well as everyone else,” he wrote in the letter. “So I have taken what I need to protect myself as well as others!”
At the conclusion of the letter, he writes: “I'm not only protecting my people but am now fighting for our freedom. The time has come for revolution!”
Federal District Judge William Conley ruled Wednesday in favor of federal prosecutors' motion to keep Jakubowski from discussing those ideas in front of a jury.
The prosecution argued that “Jakubowski's motivation ... and his beliefs are not relevant to any consequential fact, and such argument can lead to ... jury nullification.”
Jury nullification is when a jury finds a defendant not guilty even though the weight of evidence should have led to conviction.
Jakubowski's beliefs that certain laws are unconstitutional are not valid defenses, prosecutors argued, citing court precedent.
Further, prosecutors said Jakubowski would not be able to show that he broke the law to meet an imminent threat, and he could have taken legal steps to address his concerns about the government.
The prosecution attached portions of Jakuboswki's manifesto to its motion, including the last page, which includes a signature that includes the words “Ghost of Freedom” and GOF.
The “O” in GOF has an A inside it, possibly an attempt to replicate a symbol used by some anarchists.
The trial is scheduled to last two to three days.
Conley also ruled Jakubowski may not introduce information about how a conviction might affect him or his family, and he can't introduce information that could lead to an insanity defense or about his mental condition.
Jakubowski is also charged in Rock County Court with burglary while arming himself, felony theft and possession of burglary tools. That trial is scheduled for Oct. 23.