Cutting Through Visibility Zero-Zero: Lobbying, Alleged Crimes, Gun Control, a State Representative & a County Sheriff

Pulling the real issues together and focusing on the pertinent facts is not always an easy task in an onslaught of multiple allegations of wrongdoing. Some commentators have been able to eloquently focus the public’s attention on the real issues surrounding Idaho State Representative Mark Patterson and his entanglement with Ada County Sheriff Gary Raney.   Ben Swann  and William Grigg are good examples.

You may listen to the Kevin Miller show to hear myself and Rep. Patterson respond to the public by clicking the links below.  The interview is broken up into three parts, so be sure to listen to all three to hear the complete story.  

A Little Background on the Interview and Choosing to Represent Mark Patterson

I find media appearances on high profile cases harder than the actual trials.  I never know what might be asked of myself or my client (we heard Sheriff Raney’s remarks for the first time during the interview), and when cases are still in their initial stages, new facts found during the investigation can change a perspective or course of action.  As I told Kevin Miller, while Mark Patterson intends to pursue legal remedies that may be available to him, it is too early to say what the right course of action will be for him politically, and the information provided in our interview will likely be supplemented in the future as new facts unfold.

The hardest part for me in representing my client in this particular case is that I am ordinarily as supportive of law enforcement as I am supportive of the Second Amendment.  My father served 27 years with a sheriff’s office, and I spent the first half of my legal career as an Oregon Deputy DA and elected District Attorney working with law enforcement officers who were some of the finest people I have ever met.  Those officers put their lives on the line every day, sometimes to protect some of the worst people I have ever met.   

In addition, one of the most enjoyable aspects of being a prosecutor for me was that I was helping to get rapists and other sexual offenders off the street while supporting the victims through the often lengthy and invasive court processes.

But Rep. Mark Patterson’s case is no more about attacking law enforcement than it is about a 40 year old rape case.  It is about protecting Idaho gun owners. 

The facts, unembellished by argument from either side, provide a roadmap.  Mark Patterson obtained two concealed carry permits from the Sheriff’s Office.  One in 2007 and a renewal in 2012.   His prior criminal history was presented to the Sheriff’s Office at the time of his original application in 2007 via an FBI NCIC report. And then:

  • On May 22, 2013, the Sheriff’s office received Rep. Patterson’s letter requesting disclosure of taxpayer money spent on the Sheriff’s lobbying efforts against HB 219;
  • On May 22, 2013, the Sheriff’s Office sent Rep. Patterson a letter indicating they would initiate proceedings to revoke his concealed weapons license (CWL) due to alleged newly discovered criminal history information;
  • On October 29, 2013, a decision is issued revoking Rep. Patterson’s CWL;
  • On October 29, 2013, a reporter from the Idaho Statesman contacts Rep. Patterson to interview him about 1970s criminal charges;
  • On October 31, 2013, the Statesman reporter advises Rep. Patterson in person and via email that he obtained confidential information about Mark Patterson’s CWL and the revocation proceeding from the Sheriff.


Mark Patterson’s Withheld Judgment is Not New Information

 For those who would say that Rep. Patterson’s CWL was revoked because his criminal history only recently came to the attention of the Sheriff’s Office, please read on. 

Rep. Patterson’s prior charges were provided to the Sheriff’s Office at the time his initial concealed carry application was submitted.  His answer to a question on the application form itself did not “hide” information from the Sheriff’s Office, because Rep. Patterson’s full criminal history, including the 1970s withheld judgment, was supplied to the Sheriff along with his application in 2007.    

When anyone applies for a concealed carry license in Idaho, they submit fingerprints with the application, which are sent to the state police.  The Idaho State Police run a National Crime Information Center (NCIC) background check on the applicant.   NCIC is a federal database run by the FBI, which discloses the person’s full criminal history.  The NCIC check produces a report, which is provided to the Sheriff’s Office.  Mark Patterson provided his fingerprints with his application, and ISP provided the NCIC report to the Sheriff.   The document is very simple and easy to read.  It is two pages long.  The very first page clearly shows the dismissed rape case.  Despite the dismissed charges, Rep. Patterson was issued a license.

Five questions to be answered:

  1. Why did Sheriff Raney oppose House Bill 219, which was supported by the NRA and Gun Owners of America, and which was designed to protect Idahoans from unconstitutional, federal gun laws?
  2. Were taxpayers subsidizing Sheriff Raney’s lobbying efforts against HB 219?
  3. Why was Rep. Patterson’s concealed carry permit issued in 2007 and again in 2012, but yanked the day the Sheriff’s Office received Rep. Patterson’s letter requesting information about taxpayer money being spent on the Sheriff’s lobbying efforts?
  4. How did Rep. Patterson’s confidential CWL application and revocation hearing information get to the press?
  5. Why is Second Amendment supporter Rep. Judy Boyle also now coming under attack?

Idaho gun owners should be concerned for two reasons:  1) Rep. Patterson’s inquiries into the illegal use of taxpayer funds to lobby against a gun rights bill remain unanswered; and 2) Mark Patterson’s personal, protected information pertaining to his CWL and revocation proceeding was somehow released to the press.