Bonnie Oliver Allamong

Call it a ricochet.

An appellate panel will soon get back the gun case it remanded to Atlantic County Superior Court after the Prosecutor’s Office argued the judge didn’t interpret the ruling correctly.

Bonnie Oliver Allamong, 52, of North Cape May in Lower Township, pleaded guilty last year in a case where she took her legally owned gun to Galloway Township after her sister, who lives there, said she was in fear of her boyfriend.

Allamong said she did not think the gun was loaded, but police who arrived at the scene found a bullet in the chamber. It is illegal for most people to carry guns in New Jersey.

Despite facing a three-year sentence with one year of parole ineligibility, Allamong was sentenced to 275 days of day-reporting to the Atlantic County jail.

Atlantic County Prosecutor Jim McClain appealed, saying the sentence imposed by Superior Judge Michael Donio was illegal.

Last week, the panel sent the case back, and allowed for a reopening of the case, and a more thorough look at how such gun cases are handled by the Prosecutor’s Office.

But when Donio sent a letter to the prosecutor asking for the full cases, the office refused, saying that was not what the order said.

“I don’t think the state has the right to tell you you’re reading the appellate decision wrong,” defense attorney Michael Schreiber told Donio.

“Well, that’s what they’re doing,” Donio replied.

The judge said he couldn’t hold the ordered hearing without the information he requested. In response, he ordered the state to get an expedited copy of the transcripts from Wednesday’s hearing. The state then must send an emergent notice of motion to the same appellate panel that made the decision so they can clarify the order. The application must be made by Friday, with the transcript forwarded to the panel by Monday.

The case focuses on the state’s Graves Act, which requires mandatory minimum sentences in gun cases. The prosecutor can grant a waiver in these cases, allowing for probation or even pretrial intervention.

Donio previously ordered county Prosecutor Jim McClain to turn over all his office’s decision on waiver requests. He presented only the letters that denied or granted the waiver. Donio said the appellate ruling allowed all of the evidence in these cases to be opened. The Prosecutor’s Office disagrees.

Contact Lynda Cohen:


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