JEFFERSON TOWNSHIP — 38-year-old Franklin Green was found not guilty after deputies found a gun in his car.
That incident happened in March 2020 in the parking lot of a business on Germantown Pike in Jefferson Twp.
Deputies were called to the parking lot to break-up a potential fight. While they were investigating, they spotted a gun in Green’s car.
Green had a previous felony conviction that made it illegal for him to possess a weapon.
Deputies arrested Green for having a weapon while under disability.
Fast-forward a year and Judge Steven Dankof is hearing Franklin Green’s case in a bench trial, no jury.
“There’s no physical evidence tying Mr. Green to the gun, no DNA, no fingerprints,” said Judge Steven Dankof.
Green’s lawyers argued the gun belonged to his brother and Green didn’t know it was in his car.
Judge Dankof agreed, “I find Mr. Franklin Green not guilty of the sole charge.”
Judge Dankof made it clear he did not believe deputies or prosecutors did anything wrong in this case.
However, before announcing his verdict, he spoke at length about a Harvard study on institutional racism in Massachusetts.
“Only an idiot would think that the only state where institutional racism is a problem would be Massachusetts,” Judge Dankof said.
We reached out to the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department, who told us there was enough probable cause to arrest Green and that “It will continue to be a top priority for the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office to curb gun violence and to get any and all illegal guns off the street.”
The judge didn’t specifically call this case an example of racism but he did say, “We should be doing a better job and we aren’t.”
Meanwhile, Judge Dankof says he has several ideas he’s working on to make the system what he calls more “fair and equitable” for everyone.