James Kauffman’s motion to throw out his indictment on weapons offenses has been denied.
Defense attorney Lou Barbone argued last month that the suspended Egg Harbor Township doctor broke no laws when he pulled a gun and threatened to kill himself when law enforcement came to serve a search warrant at his office on Ocean Heights Avenue.
Barbone said he is reviewing the decision with Kauffman and is “contemplating an immediate appeal.”
Several law enforcement agencies came to Kauffman’s business and his homes June 13 to serve search warrants for files pertaining to an investigation into health insurance fraud.
A Linwood officer’s body camera captured most of the action, with Kauffman denying guilt and saying he was “not going to jail for this.”
He then pulled the gun.
An investigator is heard telling him that they are just serving a warrant, but he doesn’t believe them.
Kauffman allegedly thought they were trying to arrest him in the unsolved May 10, 2012 killing of his wife, veteran’s advocate and radio host April Kauffman.
The warrant did also mention a homicide, attorney Ed Jacobs has said.
Kauffman legally owned the gun he had in his office and a gun found inside his car, and could have them both places, Barbone argued at last month’s hearing.
But Superior Court Judge Bernard DeLury said in his written decision that certain questions are for trial, not a grand jury.
CLICK HERE FOR FULL DECISION
While a legally owned gun can be transported between a home and place of business by car, it was not clear whether the spot where Kauffman was parked was part of his office lease, and therefore counted as his place of business, DeLury wrote in the decision letter.
Also, when Kauffman went outside of his medical office, it’s likely he was no longer on his premises and protected by the exemption, the judge said.
But he said that, too, could be argued before a jury at trial, he said.
In the case of the grand jury, they were able to indict based on “a common sense understanding of ‘premises,’” DeLury wrote.
Barbone argued at the hearing in November that the only person Kauffman threatened that day was himself. But Chief Assistant Prosecutor Seth Levy said that the issue was not who was threatened but the reason the gun was pulled: to delay law enforcement.
“The circumstantial evidence presented to the grand jury was sufficient to permit the grand jury to reasonably infer that the defendant’s purpose in drawing his gun, holding it to his chest and threatening to kill himself was to thwart police from executing the search warrant and arresting him,” DeLury wrote.
Kauffman was successful in that, the judge added, noting that approximately one hour passed from when law enforcement arrived until Kauffman surrendered.
DeLury previously granted the state’s request to detain Kauffman pending trial.
He has not been charged in the ongoing prescription drug investigation nor has anyone been charged in his late wife’s killing.