A former Marine scheduled to go to prison in New Jersey after being convicted of a gun crime will not have to serve time after all. As reported by WUSA9, Governor Chris Christie commuted the sentence of Hisashi Pompey on Friday, keeping him out of prison after being found guilty of felony possession of an unlawful firearm.
Today I signed the commutation order for former Marine Sergeant Hisashi Pompey. pic.twitter.com/4rXl6r2Epu
— Governor Christie (@GovChristie) April 14, 2017
The conviction centered on an incident involving Pompey and a friend that led to the discovery of a firearm in Pompey’s possession. Six years ago, Pompey’s friend was involved in a fight at a nightclub near Fort Lee, where both men were present, and grabbed Pompey’s gun from its holster. The friend was holding the gun when police arrived. Both Pompey and his friend were arrested.
Pompey had been in New Jersey for a training exercise that included teaching other Marines the proper use and handling of firearms.
As reported by ABC 7, the firearm was legally registered in the state of Virginia, but not in New Jersey. This led to a charge of unlawful possession of a handgun, a charge that carried a mandatory minimum sentence of three years.
Pompey lost an appeal and was scheduled to surrender to authorities to serve out his sentence on Monday. His only hope for avoiding prison time was an intervening action on the part of Governor Christie as the state’s Graves Act prevented the judge from having any discretion in regards to sentencing.
Governor Christie commuted the sentence, meaning Pompey’s current conviction still stands, but he will not have to serve any prison time. A full pardon is under review which, if approved, would remove the conviction from Pompey’s record.
New Jersey is considered to have some of the strictest gun laws in the nation. Law involved with Pompey’s conviction was originally put in place to combat gang violence in the state. The circumstances surrounding Pompey’s case led to changes in the New Jersey law a year after he was charged, including specific exclusions for members of the military. However, the change did not apply retroactively.
A married father of three, current lives in Bowie, Maryland with his family.
While serving as a Marine, Pompey completed three tours of duty in Afghanistan and Iraq and received an award for bravery during one of his tours. At the time of the incident, Pompey was a member of the military police. The conviction effectively ended his career as a Marine, though he was ultimately medically discharged.
Pompey’s friend took a plea deal for his involvement in the incident.