UPDATE - 04/15/17 at 2:00 AM:
According to ABC 7, Governor Christie has commuted Pompey's sentence. Pompey said of the decision,“Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God, this isn't April Fools, right? I don't know how to react. I'm grateful, grateful.”
It was six years ago that active duty Marine Sergeant Hisashi Pompey brought his licensed, legal sidearm into New Jersey.
That “mistake” ended his decorated and otherwise honorable military police career and, beginning on Monday, it will land him in prison for three years.
That is, unless he gets some help from the state's governor.
ABC 7 New York reports that Sgt Pompey, who served three tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan and received medals for bravery, reports to prison Monday for the ‘crime’ of possessing a legally purchased and licensed gun that was not permitted in New Jersey:
To combat gang violence, New Jersey lawmakers several years ago tacked on mandatory sentences for gun-related offenses.
No longer do you have to be in the process of committing a crime with a gun to end up behind bars, simply possessing an un-permitted gun in the state can make you a felon and a prisoner, even if you're like decorated Marine Sergeant Pompey.
The Washington Times reports that in 2011, Pompey traveled from his Virginia home to New Jersey to visit family.
One night he went out with friends at a club where he wore his uniform. His friend got in a fight and unholstered Pompey’s gun. ABC 7 NY reports that no shots were fired and police arrested both of the men. Pompey was charged with unlawful possession of a handgun which carried a mandatory three-year prison sentence.
He lost his appeal in court.
The Washington Times reports that later Congress changed the law to allow military police officers to carry their sidearms over state lines, but it was too late to help the husband and father:
The Federal Law Enforcement Officer Safety Act of 2004, which allows certain government personnel to carry concealed weapons across state lines, did not extend to military police at the time of Mr. Pompey’s arrest. Congress amended the law in January 2013, two years too late for Mr. Pompey.
Pompey told ABC 7 NY that he’s no thug:
"I'm not a troublemaker. I don't cause trouble. I don't do anything bad, it was just a common mistake that I made.”
And he hopes that Governor Christie gives him a pardon before he reports to prison:
“Only help I am asking for is from the Governor, that's the only one, everyone from judges to lawyers say the only person who will help me now is the governor.”
Monday, he’ll leave his wife and kids and report to prison.
At the time of publication, Governor Christie had not responded to his official request for a pardon.