When you contact your congressman and senators about this case, some of them will tell you there is nothing they can do because the Raven 23 litigation is ongoing. They are wrong. One important issue Congress can tackle--right now--is the DOJ's egregious abuse of its prosecutorial discretion in applying federal weapons charges to secure 30-year mandatory minimum sentences against Dustin, Evan, and Paul.
Leading the charge on correcting the DOJ's misuse of the weapons law in the Raven 23 case is Dustin Heard's Congressman, John J. Duncan, Jr., of Tennessee. What follows is a "Dear Colleague" letter Congressman Duncan authored to every member of Congress explaining why the weapons law "was not intended to apply in a prosecution such as this one and why this injustice should be corrected."
Please take a few moments to read Congressman Duncan's letter and its attachment. Then, write your congressman and senators and let them know that the DOJ's misuse of the weapons law in the Raven 23 case concerns you and that you expect them to take steps to clarify this law was never intended to apply to individuals, like the men of Raven 23, who use government-issued weapons in the course of their official duties. A sample letter is available on the What Can I Do? page.
In addition to his "Dear Colleague" letter, Congressman Duncan has also expressed his belief that the DOJ's application of the weapons law was more than just an abuse of its charging discretion. He has also indicated he believes that the DOJ used the weapons law vindictively, in retaliation because the men of Raven 23 would not accept plea deals. Specifically, Congressman Duncan wrote that, because the weapons charge was added "only following Mr. Heard's rejection of a plea agreement, it would also be reasonable to conclude that [it was] used as a tool of retaliation by the state and not in pursuit of justice."
But Congressman Duncan is not the only member of Congress to speak out against the DOJ's use of the weapons law in the Raven 23 case. Senator Ayotte, of New Hampshire--home of Evan Liberty--has also written that she is "troubled" by the DOJ's use of this law and that she has "concerns with whether this is what Congress intended":