A rapper in New Jersey was recently accused of committing a gun crime. He was also found to have reportedly possessed drugs illegally. However, those accused of drug and/or gun crimes in the Garden State have the right to defend themselves aggressively in court.
In the case of the rapper, named Juelz Santana, authorities said he was at an airport back in March when security found a handgun in his carry-on bag. At the time, the .38-caliber gun was reportedly loaded. Authorities said they also found oxycodone pills in his bag, although these pills had not been prescribed.
The rapper, 36, faces federal charges of possessing a firearm while being a convicted felon as well as carrying a gun on an airplane. He is currently under home confinement, where he is working on music. However, if he ends up being convicted on his charges, he may spend as many as 20 years behind prison bars.
Individuals accused of drug and/or gun crimes in New Jersey have the right to go to trial, where the government must prove each element of their charges beyond a reasonable doubt -- a feat that is oftentimes hard to achieve. This high standard exists in an effort to prevent innocent people from being convicted of crimes they did not commit and thus sentenced for these crimes. However, if the weight of the evidence that the prosecution plans to present at trial is heavy, it may be in the defendant's best interest to seek to plea bargain with the government instead. This may result in lighter charges and thus a more lenient sentence than what would result following a finding of guilt at trial.
Source: njherald.com, "Rapper Juelz Santana pleads not guilty to airport gun charge", May 11, 2018