Daly: How Come This Guy Walked on Gun Possession, and Burress and Lil Wayne Didn’t?


In today’s Daily News, Michael Daly notices that Shabia Johnakin, a “20-year-old Brooklyn high school dropout,” got mere probation for gun possession, though he was trying to use his weapon (it jammed) in the company of men who were shooting at police. The clemency was in part due to Johnakin’s youthful offender status, and seems on track to be revoked at a hearing today, as Johnakin has since then been caught holding a weapon again, the terms of his probation notwithstanding.

Daly wonders why Johnakin got off so light when celebrity offenders Plaxico Burress and Lil Wayne got sent away for possession…

Actually, when Burress pleaded out and got his two years, he was also up on reckless endangerment charges. And the prosecution appeared to be seeking more time for Lil Wayne, but settled for one year due to “difficult evidentiary issues.”

Daly does not mention any other charges in the Johnakin case — which predates those of Burress and Lil Wayne — but if they had him only on possession, we are led to wonder how trying to fire a weapon on the street doesn’t rise to reckless endangerment, and how his sentencing might have gone if he had.

Johnakin’s walk would appear to have more to do with the vagaries of criminal court proceedings than with any softening of our notoriously strict anti-gun ordinances — for which the strict prosecutions of Burress and Lil Wayne appear to have been meant as advertisements.