Several weeks ago, TheBlaze brought you the story of a New Jersey mother who was charged with “terroristic threats” and pressured to turn over her guns after reading the Constitution at a tax dispute assembly.
Hart acknowledges that she got in a disagreement with the officials, but swears: “I did not use one curse word, I didn’t say the word gun, I didn’t swear, none of that.”
But when she got home, Hart was arrested, charged, and allegedly told that if she didn’t turn over her firearms her bail would be set so high she would be unlikely to pay it. Apparently someone at the assembly called 911 and said she threatened to return to the meeting with a gun.
Now, after Hart’s story made national news, the county has dramatically downgraded the charges.
“I got a notice from the county prosecutor that my case has been downgraded from criminal felony charges to disorderly persons conduct, meaning it’s like petty harassment,” she told TheBlaze.
Hart’s defense attorney, Evan Nappen, added for the South Jersey Times: “That’s the lowest order of criminal offense…It’s still a charge that we’re going to vigorously fight, but the downgrade, I think, speaks volumes.”
Hart has not, however, gotten her guns back, nor has she been told when she will.
“A standard condition of bail is no firearm possession, so we’re waiting until she’s been adjudicated,” Nappen noted. He said they would consider legal action if they aren’t returned, but would rather see it done “in a cordial way.”
The case began when the homeschooling mother refused to let contracted tax inspectors into her home for a mandatory property re-evaluation. As an Orthodox Jew, she objected to having men in her home while her husband was away at work. As an American citizen, she objected to the seemingly arbitrary reappraisal and what she says is a violation of her property rights.
As a result, inspectors were able to “assume” the value of her property, which they believed roughly doubled in value despite the fact that she has made no renovations or expansions. Her property taxes skyrocketed.
Hart said she is planning to file an appeal with her local tax assessor, but is first concentrating on beating the “petty harassment” claim she received after protesting at the tax dispute assembly.
“We’re going to win, because I didn’t do it,” she told TheBlaze.
Hart’s court date has been set for April 11.