Why Brian Aitken Wasn't Pardoned


When it was announced that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie had commuted the sentence of Brian Aitken, the man sentenced to seven years in prison for carrying a gun in the trunk of his car—even though he appears to have done everything he could to comply with the state's unfortunate gun laws—there was some speculation in the comments here at Hit & Run and elsewhere around the web as to why Christie didn't grant Aitken a full pardon.

I spoke with Evan Nappen, Aitken's attorney, about that today. Nappen actually didn't ask Christie for a full pardon, which he says would have been premature while the conviction is still being appealed. It also would have been a more difficult petition to win. Nappen says his primary interest was to get Aitken out of prison and home for the holidays. He'll now work to get the conviction overturned on appeal, preferably with a ruling that strikes down or at least clarifies New Jersey's gun laws and prevents similar arrests and prosecutions in the future. Nappen says that while he thinks Aitken's chances of having the conviction overturned are good, if he is not successful he can always go back and ask Christie to clear his record once he has exhausted his appeals.

CORRECTION: Fixed a brain lapse typo mistaking New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie with ex-NBA player Doug Christie. Will no longer blog with SportsCenter on in the background.