Noble County man says his gun license was wrongly revoked

Jim Grimes is a veteran and a gun owner. But he said his constitutional rights were taken away.

Posted: Nov 28, 2018 11:05 PM
Updated: Nov 29, 2018 6:13 AM

NOBLE COUNTY, Ind. (WFFT)- A Noble County man said he wants his life back after his gun license was revoked in 2007. 

Jim Grimes is a veteran and a gun owner. But he said his constitutional rights were taken away. 

"On April 27th, 2006 I was taking my mother over to visit my sister when we were rear-ended twice by the same uninsured, unlicensed motorist," Grimes said. 

That motorist was Dustin Swartzlander. Grimes said he pulled to the side of the road and saw Swartzlander get out of his truck and pull something wrapped in cellophane from the backseat before running into the woods. 

A meeting Grimes had with Swartzlander later revealed that cellophane package was a quarter pound of marijuana, but in the moment, Grimes wasn't sure and was worried about his mom, who hit her head on the dashboard in the crash. 

"I only saw it for a split second, but I thought it was an explosive device and that's why I elected to stop him," Grimes said. 

Swartzlander did not reply to a request to be interviewed. 

Grimes pulled his gun and fired a blank, warning shot into the air, performing a legal citizens arrest. 

"The law says that, as a gun owner, I have the legal right to stop a crime in progress," Grimes said. 

A passing driver called 911, but when police arrived, they arrested Grimes for pointing a firearm-- a class D felony. He was later acquitted. 

A jury foreman explained in a 13 page letter to the judge Grimes was acquitted due to former prosecutor, Steven Clouse, not having an adequate witness testimony, and police not thoroughly investigating the crash. 

"I was acquitted and the State Police just decided, 'Well, we can ignore that law and we'll go a different way,'" Grimes said. 

When Grimes tried to get his gun license back, Indiana State Police denied him. In August of 2007, he was deemed unfit to carry a firearm. 

Steven Clouse refused an interview, and said on the phone he didn't make the decision to revoke Grimes' license to carry. In a letter to ISP he said he had discussed the revocation with former Major Jerome Ezell.

The two not only used the 2006 incident as evidence for revocation, but another incident from 2004. 

"Here again, I was rear-ended. Some kid tried to run me off the road because he didn't want me to pass him," Grimes said. 

Grimes said he was armed at the time, but did not draw his weapon. 

"They used that against me because I had a gun with me at the time," he said. 

Grimes said using that past incident is a violation of the fifth amendment, preventing anyone from being tried for the same case twice. 

Now, he feels stuck, and said no lawyer will help him. 

"They'll tell me, 'Yeah, what they did was absolutely illegal. They broke federal laws, they broke state laws, but Jim, there's nothing you can do about it.'"

Greg Rice, a friend of Grimes, said he didn't believe him at first, but then he did more research. 

"What they did to him, according to what I saw, was wrong. It doesn't take a law degree to show where someone is lying, where someone is fabricating evidence, falsifying evidence. It takes no law degree. It's simple," Rice said. 

Major Jerome Ezell said on the phone Grimes went through an administrative hearing and the revocation was legal. 

Noble County Prosecutor, Eric Blackman, is the man who got Grimes' gun back. 

"It does appear that this administrative hearing took place and that the finding was that Mr. Grimes' handgun permit should be revoked, but that there was also a provision for an appeal of that, which apparently was never taken," Blackman said. 

But, was there a violation and an abuse of power? 

"That's hard to say because there was a procedure that was followed... That does seem to have a lot power," Blackman said. 

Grimes said, at this point, he wants those he feels wrongly punished him to be tried appropriately. 

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