Innocent Until Proven Guilty, But Only If You Can Pay: New at Reason

"I did something stupid, and something I shouldn't have done" are the first words of Bill Peyser's tale of how he ended up getting arrested and jailed for the first time in his life at the age of 73.

Peyser, a San Francisco cab driver, says he had been frustrated with a couple of noisy younger neighbors in the spring of 2017. Exhausted and angry after a sleepless night that had led to him skipping a day of work, he decided to confront them on the afternoon of April 17.

The "something stupid" that Peyser agrees he shouldn't have done was to bring a .22-caliber handgun with him when he went to their apartment.

Though the men did not answer the door when Peyser repeatedly kicked it, they saw him through the peephole and called the police. There was no direct confrontation, but as Peyser was leaving, he fired the gun by accident while trying to uncock it in the hallway. According to one of Peyer's attorneys, the bullet lodged in a wall in the lobby of the building a few inches off the floor. Nobody was hurt. Nevertheless Peyser was charged with attempted murder and spent six months in jail awaiting trial because he couldn't afford bail. His case is far from unique writes Reason's Scott Shackford.

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