Man freed from jail after gun law ruled unconstitutional - FOX 32 News Chicago

Edward Hambrick freed from jail after gun law ruled unconstitutional

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Prosecutors say they've dismissed all charges against at least 103 defendants arrested for illegal gun possession in Chicago.

The State Supreme Court recently ruled that part of local gun laws to be unconstitutional. Still, a spokeswoman for State's Attorney Anita Alvarez said that anyone found carrying a firearm could still be charged with a crime.

Since FOX 32 News first reported last Thursday on the Illinois Supreme Court ruling, we've been pressing Alvarez and Chicago Police to explain their policy. On Wednesday night, a spokesperson said, "It would not be prudent for citizens to carry loaded firearms in public, whether they possess a valid Firearm Owners ID card or not. As for whether these cases would result in criminal charges...I would only say that we would evaluate any individual incident on a case-by-case basis."

One of those watching closely is Edward Hambrick.

"Just being in my own bed, in my own family home, the house I grew up in, it feels great!" Hambrick said after being freed from Cook County Jail.

Edward Hambrick also enjoyed choosing his own clothing Wednesday, something he could not do in 14 months at the Cook County Jail. He was locked up longer than some convicted of violent crimes, though authorities said the 40-year-old computer programmer's record is completely clean. He was among four defendants freed from the jail overnight.

State's Attorney Anita Alvarez dropped gun possession charges against 103 defendants Tuesday. The Illinois Supreme Court last week ruled the gun possession charges they all faced were based on a law that is unconstitutional.

"Everything is pretty much destroyed," Hambrick said of being locked up. "But that's -- I can rebuild the financial stuff and make arrangements to make payments on my debt. But one thing I can't recover is the time I spent in jail."

The unanimous State Supreme Court ruling that freed Hambrick essentially agreed with a Second Amendment argument he'd been making since July 2, 2011, the night Chicago Police pulled him over near 79th and Ashland because he was allegedly not using a seatbelt. Hambrick told them he had a firearm. When they took his chrome .45 caliber Taurus handgun, he admits becoming belligerent and lecturing the cops on his rights as an American citizen. Later, when he tried to file criminal charges against the arresting officers and the Circuit Court Judge hearing his case, the judge revoked Hambrick's bond and ordered a psychiatric evaluation. He was found to be sane, but as his case bounced through three courtrooms, no new bond was ever set. Hambrick's mug shot from 26 months ago indicates he lost a lot of weight while in Jail, refusing even to consider pleading guilty to any charge, despite pressure from some in his family.

"At times, they didn't understand why I didn't just give in and cop out just to get my freedom," Hambrick recalls. "I'd like to show them some appreciation for standing by me after all this time."

Hambrick said he may yet go back to court, as a plaintiff. He objects to the fee the State of Illinois plans to charge for a concealed carry permit and may sue to reduce or eliminate it.

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