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VA-ALERT: Lobby Day today! Morrissey's history with guns
1. Lobby Day is here!
2. Morrissey's checkered history with "assault weapons"
1. Lobby Day is here!
Reminder: Lobby Day is TODAY (Monday, January 21)! We meet at the SE corner of 9th and Broad Streets in Richmond, behind the General Assembly Building in the courtyard at 8:45 AM. We will lobby in teams until 12 Noon.
2. Morrissey's checkered history with "assault weapons"
I hope whoever loaned Delegate Joe Morrissey the assault weapons that he brought onto the House Floor last week gets them all returned! Back in 1993, a couple of "assault" guns that Morrissey borrowed from Richmond City forensics "disappeared" from Morrissey's vehicle. One later turned up in the possession of a heroin dealer.
Here's the story (no link available):
PRODUCE GUNS, JUDGE TELLS MORRISSEY - PAIR OF MISSING ASSAULT WEAPONS WERE BORROWED FROM A STATE AGENCY
Richmond Times-Dispatch - Thursday, August 12, 1993
ALAN COOPER ; Times-Dispatch Staff Writer
A Richmond circuit judge has directed Commonwealth's Attorney Joseph D. Morrissey to produce two semiautomatic weapons, or an explanation of what happened to them, tomorrow at 9 a.m.
Morrissey borrowed the firearms, a Tec-9 and an Israeli-made Uzi, and a third weapon, an assault rifle, in May 1991 from the state Division of Forensic Science. He used the firearms as props in a presentation on drugs and violence that he gave at scores of civic meetings and schools.
His attorney, James E. Sheffield, said Morrissey believes the guns were stolen from his office, his car or the vehicle of a detective who sometimes had custody of the weapons. The office still has the rifle.
Morrissey has stepped down as commonwealth's attorney as the result of his indictment on charges of bribery, perjury and misuse of public funds.
Sources within the office said Morrissey never reported the weapons missing, even though they disappeared as much as a year ago.
The sources also said Morrissey at times left the weapons in a green canvas bag on the back seat of an unlocked vehicle. Detectives assigned to the office often found the bag and locked it in the trunk of the car or brought the weapons into the office for safekeeping.
Correspondence obtained by The Times-Dispatch shows that Dr. Paul B. Ferrara, director of the forensic science division, has been trying to get the firearms returned since December.
Ferrara said yesterday that informal requests for their return had been made earlier, but he would not be more specific.
In the December letter, Ferrara noted that a recent audit had disclosed that Morrissey's office had checked out the weapons.
"It is essential that these firearms be returned immediately to satisfy our audit," he wrote. "If you have future needs for this type of demonstration equipment, the division will assist to the extent possible."
Further inquiries did not produce the weapons, so Ferrara wrote Judge Thomas N. Nance earlier this week.
He said he did so because Nance had entered orders turning the guns over to the division for research and instruction after they had been legally seized or confiscated.
"Given the apparent turmoil in the commonwealth's attorney's office, I am asking your help in expediting the return of these weapons to the organization and purpose for which your order was intended," Ferrara said.
"I regret having to take this route to retrieve these items; we erred in relinquishing them in the first place but felt it appropriate at the time," he wrote.
"The division is responsible for these fully functional weapons and now I am concerned as to their status and security."
Morrissey's trial on bribery charges is scheduled to begin Monday.
He has asked Nottoway Circuit Judge Thomas V. Warren, who will preside over the trial, to disqualify James C. Clark, the Alexandria lawyer appointed as special prosecutor in the case.
Morrissey's attorneys, Sheffield and Larry D. Catlett, contended that Clark threatened witnesses and participated in the investigation to such an extent that he is an essential witness. Clark has denied any impropriety and says the case should be tried as scheduled.
A hearing on the disqualification motions is scheduled for 2 p.m. tomorrow in the Manchester Courthouse.
The possible theft of the weapons from Morrissey's vehicle would not be the first time he has had property stolen from a car.
He reported in July 1989 that $5,000 in cash was stolen from his Jeep in the 2000 block of Riverside Drive.
Morrissey said his law partner had received the cash from a client after business hours and he had taken it home for safekeeping but stopped to campaign on the way.
He was elected that year, but a former assistant, David M. Hicks, defeated him in the Democratic primary in June.
Hicks has no opposition for the general election in November and will assume the office on Jan. 1.
Richmond Times-Dispatch - Saturday, August 14, 1993
From racking up dozens of traffic violations before becoming Commonwealth's Attorney, to a contempt-of-court-conviction, to doing jail time for fighting, to his present indictment on charges of bribery, perjury, and misuse of public funds, Joe Morrissey appears to have compiled a record of playing things fast and loose.
So it should come as no surprise that Morrissey has not yet returned two semi-automatic weapons he borrowed from the State Division of Forensic Science for a presentation in May, 1991. Morrissey's lawyer says Morrissey thinks the guns were stolen. Thinks?
Evidently Morrissey used to leave the guns -- a Tec-9 and an Uzi -- lying around. They may have disappeared as much as a year ago, yet Morrissey appears never to have reported them missing.
Morrissey lost the Democratic nomination to David Hicks. Come January 1, Hicks will take over -- bringing to a close one of the more turbulent, if not exasperating, reigns in recent Richmond memory. Until then, perhaps Morrissey will do us all a favor by simply sitting still -- breathing softly.
HEROIN SUSPECT HAD GUN IN LOCKER - MORRISSEY REPORTED UZI WAS MISSING
Richmond Times-Dispatch - Saturday, April 2, 1994
MARK BOWES ; Times-Dispatch Staff Writer
A man arrested last year on drug charges was found to be in possession of an Uzi that former Richmond Commonwealth's Attorney Joseph D. Morrissey borrowed more than two years ago from the state Division of Forensic Science. The suspect, whose name was not immediately available, was arrested by Richmond police in September on a charge of possessing heroin with intent to distribute it, state police said yesterday.
"He was arrested in Richmond . . . and the gentleman had a storage locker rented to himself in Chesterfield County," said Special Agent Anita Derby. "A search warrant was conducted on the storage locker and that's where the gun was found."
Derby said she didn't know specifics of the man's arrest because "the city placed the charges." Richmond authorities with knowledge of the case couldn't be reached for comment yesterday.
Derby, who was assigned to investigate what happened to the gun, said police never learned how the man got the Israeli-made Uzi.
"He just said he got it from a friend of his," she said. "Of course, he didn't know what his friend's name was."
Derby said she didn't know whether the gun had been used in any crime since leaving Morrissey's possession.
The Uzi and another semiautomatic weapon, a Tec-9, turned up missing last April, Morrissey has said. Morrissey had borrowed them in May 1991 to use as props in a presentation on drugs and violence that he gave at civic meetings and schools.
Dr. Paul B. Ferrara, director of the forensic science division, had tried to get the firearms returned since December 1992.
Last August, Morrissey was directed by a Richmond Circuit Court judge to produce the two pistols or explain what happened to them.
During that hearing, he said the weapons were kept in a green canvas bag along with a "street sweeper" shotgun and an assault rifle.
Morrissey told Circuit Judge Thomas N. Nance that he recalled not finding the pistols last April when he opened the bag to take them out before a presentation to a civic group.
The guns, Morrissey said, apparently were "either lost or misplaced."
Former staff members said that Morrissey at times left the bag on the back seat of an unlocked car. They said detectives assigned to the office often locked the bag in the trunk or took them inside the office for safekeeping.
Morrissey said yesterday that he believes the guns were taken from his office.
Ferrara said the Uzi is back in the custody of his office.
"I was glad to get at least one of them back," Ferrara said. "To my knowledge the other weapon . . . is still God knows where."