Prison guard avoids jail time for gun crime

September 3, 2015

justice 2A former prison guard who was convicted of a felony for pointing a loaded gun at a vehicle during a Paso Robles road rage incident will avoid serving jail time as punishment for the crime. [Tribune]

Anthony James Behrens, 53, was a sergeant at Kern Valley State Prison. Last month, a San Luis Obispo jury convicted him of brandishing a weapon at a person in a motor vehicle, a felony, as well as unlawful laser activity, a misdemeanor.

The incident occurred on July 27, 2014 on Highway 46 east of Paso Robles. Shortly after, Behrens told California Highway Patrol officers that he aimed the gun at the other vehicle and activated the laser because he was afraid about the safety of his family.

On Wednesday, San Luis Obispo Judge Roger Picquet sentenced Behrens to three years of formal probation and one day in the county jail. Behrens already has credit for serving the day in jail.

Based on the convictions, Behrens could have been sentenced to a maximum of three years in jail, according to the district attorney’s office. A probation department report recommended that the judge sentence him to 180 days in jail.

During the road rage incident, Behrens pointed a loaded .40-caliber Springfield handgun at a vehicle that was tailgating his car. Occupants of the the other vehicles called the police.

When CHP officers stopped Behrens’s car, they found a duffel bag with “Behrens” and a Department of Corrections badge pin on it.

A loaded gun registered to Behrens was inside the bag. The gun contained eight rounds, and it had a red targeting laser mounted on it.

Attorney Ilan Funke-Bilu, who represented Behrens, said he was extremely pleased with the sentence. Funke-Bilu argued that Behrens overreacted while acting in defense of his family.

Supporters sent 65 letters to the judge on behalf of Behrens, and they also attended the sentencing, Funke-Bilu said.



  1. Jorge Estrada says:

    This was a bad idea/prank and Behrens did get luck but he will not return to nursing.

    (-3) 3 Total Votes - 0 up - 3 down
  2. BeenThereDoneThat says:

    Yea let any of us regular Joe’s try this and see what happens.

    (21) 25 Total Votes - 23 up - 2 down
  3. 805code4 says:

    Hes a felon now. He cant own or buy firearms, or work for dept. of corrections any longer. The light jail sentence was probably decided with the interest of his kids in mind so he can seek employment and continue to support them. I believe the sentence is in proportion and balance with his offense however, if it were a regular citizen with no authority status, the sentence would be far more severe. That imbalance is what really bothers me, and the problem lies within the ethics of the courts.

    (6) 24 Total Votes - 15 up - 9 down
    • kayaknut says:

      What employment??? He likely is going to or has retired and will be able to sit back and collect his pension which likely will be more than he made while working. Kids?? the driver of the car was his 20 year old daughter, time for her to seek her own employment, dad can not support her forever.

      (13) 13 Total Votes - 13 up - 0 down
  4. kayaknut says:

    The double standard judicial system. If a “regular” person, would have done this they(us) would have been sentenced to jail time.

    (28) 36 Total Votes - 32 up - 4 down
    • CentralcoastRN says:

      The takeaway lesson here is to hire a VERY good attorney and don’t say a word until your lawyer shows up. Then pull the “I was frightened for my life” card. It works, because most people have encountered a road rager at some point in time.

      Thumbs down if you like, but if it worked for OJ, and it worked for this guy, get yourself a good lawyer’s business card and keep it in your wallet (and all your family).

      “Normal” folks need the same protections as “special” people.

      (12) 16 Total Votes - 14 up - 2 down
  5. SpeakTruth says:

    “Red laser scope”… I believe it had a red laser, but “scope” implies optics; and I find it highly unlikely that he had that on his pistol. A rifle maybe, but on a pistol, it’s usually just a red laser sight, especially when built into the grip as other publications have claimed.

    Whomever CCN got this information from, they need to stop using this:

    (2) 8 Total Votes - 5 up - 3 down
    • Stunned says:

      Ok, you’ve laid out of few things and you’re clear to make your point. CHP stated “it had a red targeting laser mounted on it.” and he was subsequently charged with “unlawful laser activity”.

      What did CCN state that upset you?

      (1) 9 Total Votes - 5 up - 4 down
    • Stunned says:

      Also your fake link is just a bunch of photos of weapons from five years ago.

      (-1) 7 Total Votes - 3 up - 4 down

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