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View Full Version : Your Best Defense Is A Lawyer


Ivory Grips
April 7, 2008, 10:17 AM
I as many do, enjoy reading banter about one caliber vs. another, auto vs. revolver, etc. Yet the topic of how to survive the legal procedure usually following a shooting incident in the ultimate battle field _ in a court of law. Your comments and experience would certainly make for both an informative and interesting read.

What I wanted to ask is why isn't any thought or discussion given to what it actually takes to survive in a court of law, as a consequence of being involved in a shooting incident.

ZeSpectre
April 7, 2008, 10:56 AM
This topic has most certainly been covered before.

Glenn E. Meyer
April 7, 2008, 11:22 AM
It is covered in Internet discussions, books and classes. The primary class is Mas' LFI-1. Also read his books.

In my other classes from various folks it is covered. Also, for those inclined, there is a professional literature outside of the gun world.

It certainly is discussed.

pax
April 7, 2008, 11:23 AM
What I wanted to ask is why isn't any thought or discussion given to what it actually takes to survive in a court of law, as a consequence of being involved in a shooting incident.

If the lack of legal information & strategy bothers you, I'd suggest you look into this: www.armedcitizensnetwork.com New company, going to be big.

pax

jfrey123
April 7, 2008, 12:59 PM
Humorously speaking, I'd like to think being a brother forum member with the great Mas Ayoob would be a great thing to have in your arsenal. Should any of us be involved in a righteous shoot, I pretend that he'd be willing to at least provide some documents that help in our justification... :cool:

He does great things for 'us kind of folk' regarding your very question. Like Glenn mentioned, I'd suggest looking into some stuff Mr. Ayoob has written or cases he has worked.

Yellowfin
April 7, 2008, 01:21 PM
Get your state to enact the Castle Doctrine if it hasn't already.

Ivory Grips
April 7, 2008, 01:26 PM
I did happen to read Massad Ayoob's "In The Gravest Extreme." A most informative book about defensive shooting and it's consequences. Meaning no offense to the person who made the last post, but I fail to see the humor in regards to the main theme of this thread. Thanks for all your informative responses.

Boris Bush
April 7, 2008, 01:30 PM
Every now and then I hear reports on the news where someone has killed a badguy legaly and at the end of the report they say "no charges were filed against the shooter"

I believe if you keep it ultra legal and know the laws before hand and not learn them after a shooting, you should be fine, atleast where I live anyways........

Samurai
April 7, 2008, 01:40 PM
Years ago, before I ever dreamed of becoming a lawyer, I was a snot-nosed little college-brat in one of the professional fraternities in my local university. We were a very active organization, throwing lots of parties and managing to garner the attention of several of the local faculty members. One such faculty member actually had a criminal-defense attorney buddy of his come out to our fraternity meeting and give a lecture on "the importance of good legal representation" in a college fraternity.

Long story short, the guy explained to us that the biggest problem with criminal defense is that most people do not think of hiring a lawyer as a "precautionary" measure, but rather, as a "last-ditch" measure. In other words, people don't even think of finding a good attorney until they are actually sitting at the police station in handcuffs. And, by that time, it's often too late! He explained that his job would be so much easier if everyone had a pre-established relationship with a local attorney, and carried that attorney's phone number on them at all times.

From my experience, THAT'S the most important thing you can do to cover your bases from the legal perspective of gun ownership. I tell people who purchase guns, "You need to do the following three things: (1) Go introduce yourself to an attorney; (2) Get his/her business card and put it in your pocket; and (3) If anything ever happens, call 911 first, call the attorney second, and then SHUT YOUR MOUTH IMMEDIATELY! When the cops arrive, explain to them that you've contacted your attorney, tell them who he is, and tell them that you won't give a statement without him present. Then, go dead. Say nothing more. Ignore all questions, respond to nothing.

I've heard countless lines from people who say, "The cop told me that if I tell him what happened now, he'll let me go; but if I wait for my attorney, he'll charge me with murder..." In this situation, THE COP IS LYING!!! Remember this one thing: Police are NEVER allowed to give you disfavored treatment in response to your asking for legal representation. NEVER. If a cop indicates otherwise, then he's trying to scam you into talking without your attorney present. Don't let him do it!

Ok, enough rambling...

Ivory Grips
April 7, 2008, 01:47 PM
Thank You Sir!

svilla
April 7, 2008, 03:50 PM
How would you go about choosing the right lawyer? I'm sure you don't just call one of the guys on TV :D

jfrey123
April 7, 2008, 05:34 PM
I fail to see the humor in regards to the main theme of this thread


I was trying to mention Mr. Ayoob without implying he should be obligated to help folks on here. I don't find this thread or this subject funny at all. I'm more afraid of the consequences of defending myself than I am of dying.


How would you go about choosing the right lawyer? I'm sure you don't just call one of the guys on TV :D

This is a funny response... And it is also very true. I'll pass on a bit of teaching from my CCW instructor.

Like Samurai said, you do not want to wait til you are at the local police station to being searching for a lawyer. There is a difference between a good and bad lawyer, just like good and bad contractors, good and bad pizza men, etc. If you call a good lawyer, and say 'I'm at the police station in handcuffs, being held on suspicion of murder,' Mr. Good Attorney is likely to steer clear. He probably doesn't want to get involved with someone he doesn't know late at night. Mr. Bad Attorney, however, is more likely to be a bit more desperate for work and be ready at a moments notice.

Mr. Bad Attorney probably has ads in the phone book, with catchy graphics and quotes like 'We get EVERYONE off, GUARANTEED'. While that ad is appealing, cause we'd all like to get off the charge at this point, his version of getting you off might be having you plea to manslaughter and taking 3-5 in the pen. Also consider that your Bad Attorney will already have a reputation in your jurisdiction's courthouse. He strolls in to represent you, and the judge may suspect that you are no different than the gang banger's that Mr. Bad Attorney represents every other day. This type of lawyer does not have a good relationship with the judges in your area.


I'm told, you want an attorney with a record such as the following: former police officer/chief, former DA, military background, etc. You want a like minded fellow, one who is welcomed at the judge's office. Mr. Good Attorney can likely walk into the judge's chambers, shoot the breeze, talk golf, then bring up your case. He'll tell the judge how you're a good ol' boy who was just defending your family. He'll ask the judge, 'How would you or I react in Mr. Defendant's shoes? You'd have shot the BG too with that revolver you keep behind the bench, I'd have done it with the compact I keep under my jacket.'



I don't know, they guy telling me that story was pretty charismatic about it and it probably sounded better coming from him. But it's logical that this sort of thinking might be to our advantage. I'm still trying to research an attorney and have a good reason to talk with him. Right now, all I've got is 'Well gee wiz Mr. Good Attorney, I got's a CCW permit and I'd like to know if I can call ya if I ever needs to shoot someone...' I just don't imagine him getting a warm, fuzzy feeling and welcoming me as a future, potential client. I'd rather call him up and say, "Mr. Good Attorney, you drafted a lease or will for me a ways back, and now I'm in some trouble..." :cool:

ssilicon
April 7, 2008, 06:14 PM
I was trying to mention Mr. Ayoob without implying he should be obligated to help folks on here. I don't find this thread or this subject funny at all. I'm more afraid of the consequences of defending myself than I am of dying.

If that last bit is true, you should never use a gun for SD. Understandably one should be concerned, scared maybe even. But MORE scared than being a homicide victim? Man that's just wierd.

protectedbyglock
April 7, 2008, 06:44 PM
I'm hoping he was just emphasizing how difficult these matters can be for individuals (and families).

Anyway, I was just thinking how important it is to have an attorney set up beforehand in cases like this. Very good point.
I was also thinking how some people may have an attorney they've worked with in the past who may not be suited to a case like a shooting.
I, for example, know a woman who is a former DA, and well-liked by everyone in the courthouse. She's easy to talk to, and you can tell that she has a passion for defending good people in bad situations.
However, I'm wondering how well she would handle a criminal shooting case. (lack of a better term)
I always figured I'd use her, and she advertises criminal law, but I think she specializes in estate law mostly, and DUI law (just because it's so common).
Is this something I should just call her about?
I mean, do I just say "If I would ever happen to need a lawyer on a homicide charge, can I count on you?"
Maybe she would recommend someone? Just seems like if i were a lawyer, I may steer clear of all this?

Lawyer Daggit
April 7, 2008, 06:55 PM
The most important thing to do is give the Police your name and address, ask to see your lawyer and ask for bail and access to a telephone. DO NOT SAY ANYTHING ELSE until you have seen a lawyer.

Bewary of the good cop bad cop routine. Remember the Police are not your friend and they want a result.

jfrey123
April 7, 2008, 07:46 PM
But MORE scared than being a homicide victim? Man that's just wierd.

I'm hoping he was just emphasizing how difficult these matters can be for individuals (and families).



Yes, I was emphasizing in this case. :o

However, one of my coworkers appreciates firearms just as much as I, but refuses to use them for SD for that exact reason I stated. His reasoning is both a fear of the legal consequences and a spiritual fear that he wouldn't be able to live with himself after taking a life.

Ivory Grips
April 7, 2008, 07:59 PM
I like to add, it's my impression that many individuals express interests in handguns and it's value as a tool in self defense. Myself included. Further a good lawyer is everybit as vital as our favorite handgun, and our pet load, if not more so. Again, I'm not trying to discredit anyone in here, and please know that I appreciate all your input. Thanks again folks.

svilla
April 7, 2008, 09:22 PM
Thanks JFREY123 for the good advice. This thread has lots of great points and I will find a good lawer. :D

matthew temkin
April 7, 2008, 09:29 PM
Mas Ayoob has written volumes on this topic.
A good lawyer is your best friend.

Captain38
April 7, 2008, 09:31 PM
"If the lack of legal information & strategy bothers you, I'd suggest you look into this: www.armedcitizensnetwork.com New company, going to be big."

Marty Hayes has a law degree and is a renowned firearms instructor who's paired up with Mas Ayoob, who's no slouch himself either in a courtroom or on the range. Throw in Gila Hayes and they should make a great team.

I DID as pax suggested. I'd already read Mas' books and attended LFI-1 but I now feel better having signed up with Armed Citizens' Legal Defense Network. I blow what they want a year on a good meal or a tie I might never wear, so how can I lose?

fastbolt
April 7, 2008, 09:41 PM
Well, some folks do seem to get awfully passionate when it comes to discussing the caliber of their favorite handgun ...

I sometimes wonder if such folks have invested a similar amount of attention and interest toward the subject of choosing the caliber of their legal representation. :D

EastSideRich
April 8, 2008, 12:16 AM
appreciates firearms just as much as I, but refuses to use them for SD for that exact reason I stated.

This is a little off topic, but isn't a gun for life or death situations?
How could you refuse to use a gun in defense of your own life or your family?
I'd hate to have my last thought while bleeding to death on a sidewalk be "ya know, maybe shooting someone in self defense wouldn't have been such a bad idea".

Ivory Grips
April 8, 2008, 01:56 AM
The point I was trying to raise was the importance of being aware of the legal ramifications following the shooting of another person either justified or not. I believe we all have the right to defend ourselves. But the decision to use lethal force does have legal consequences. To shoot, or not to shoot? That's a topic for a whole new thread please.

Alleykat
April 8, 2008, 11:55 AM
Mas Ayoob has written volumes on this topic.
A good lawyer is your best friend.]

Aren't these contradictory statements? Get your legal advise from real lawyers who practice in your jurisdiction, not from a gunrag-writer/seminar-giver.

I get my legal advice from real lawyers, and I'd strongly recommend that others do the same. I can't believe some of the folks on here who live their lives making fear-based decisions. To actually be more afraid of taking action and facing the consequences, than acquiescing to some uncvilized savage is unthinkable to me.

The last think you need on your mind, if your life is threatened, is the legal consequence of your defending yourself. If you're involved in a righteous shoot, the odds are greatly in your favor of not being charged, and, depending on the jurisdiction, not being sued.

I have a problem with taking advice from somebody who's existed in the New England culture. They're just not like the rest of us, when it comes to s.d.!!!

M1911
April 8, 2008, 01:09 PM
Aren't these contradictory statements? Get your legal advise from real lawyers who practice in your jurisdiction, not from a gunrag-writer/seminar-giver.

Ayoob has testified as an expert witness in the aftermath of many self defense incidents in many different states (and not just in New England). Many attorneys primarily defend guilty defendants and try to plea bargain them out -- they don't have experience with defending a self defense incident.

Ayoob never claims to be an attorney. And he won't claim to know the details of the laws in your jurisdiction. He is not a substitute for a competent criminal attorney. But he probably knows a heck of a lot more about self defense law than the lawyer who wrote your will.

Glenn E. Meyer
April 8, 2008, 01:55 PM
I have a problem with taking advice from somebody who's existed in the New England culture. They're just not like the rest of us, when it comes to s.d.!!!

And which galaxy are you from? NH, VT, Maine - all have a reputation as pretty decent gun law states.

If you went to trial, you would need a good lawyer - but many plain old lawyers don't know the intricacies of gun usage. Don't you think writings like Mas have some informative value? Or is it better to rant.

The righteous shoot argument is just forum BS - if you are charged, someone thinks it isn't righteous. And there are plenty of cases with folks charged in SD incidents.

Marty Hayes
April 8, 2008, 02:44 PM
Gee, it sounds like a voice of reason is required here, before this thread turns into a full-fledged Ayoob bashing.

First, I am the guy who has started www.armedcitizensnetwork.org. I do have a law degree, although I have not taken any bar, so I am not an attorney. But, having said that, I learned about 10 times more about self-defense law from Massad Ayoob and the Lethal Force Institute than I ever did in law school. Law school doesn't teach any attorney about defending justifiable homicides, so if an attorney wants to specialize in that field, they have to take additional training, (such as going to one of the gun-rag writers seminars). Having worked with Mas for almost 20 years now, and being an LFI staff instructor, I can say with some authority that each and every attorney who has taken the LFI courses when my training company, The Firearms Academy of Seattle, Inc. sponsored the course, felt they got a lot out of the training.

Ayoob has even taught Continuing Legal Eduacation courses for attorneys, and his LFI training is accepted as such in at least one state that I know of.

And, Ayoob himself will be the first to tell you not to give any statements about your actions to the police after a shooting, and to get your attorney there to interact with the police.

BTW, there is a distinct difference between legal education and legal advice. Legal education incompasses principals of law, and is generalized. For our purposes here, it would include when and when not to shoot in self-defense. Legal advice is specific to individual cases, (like when you actually shoot someone in self-defense). I took four years of legal education, but receive no legal advice. Most every gun school in American addresses the legalities of use of deadly force, some do it better than others, but in my opinion, none do it better than the Lethal Force Institute, my own company included.

Marty Hayes, President
The Armed Citizen's Legal Defense Network, LLC.

BreacherUp!
April 8, 2008, 05:20 PM
Tactics and training????

Mas Ayoob
April 8, 2008, 10:19 PM
It's amazing how many gun people talk about "sheeple" yet have the same wooly thinking.

The "sheep" says of the potential armed encounter, "That'll never happen to me! If it does, I'll worry about it then! All that matters is that I don't go looking for trouble."

And then someone smart enough to realize that trouble comes to us without us looking for it, smart enough to carry a gun and know how to use it, says of the predictable legal aftermath:

"That'll never happen to me! If it does, I'll worry about it then! All that matters is that the shoot was righteous!"

Same syndrome, just two different levels of the game.

When the street attack comes, you won't have time to go home and get a gun. That's why you carry one now.

When the legal attack almost inevitably follows the street attack, you won't have time to formulate a strategy; it's best to have already prepared yourself with one.

+1, by the way, for Armed Citizens' Network.

grymster2007
April 8, 2008, 10:33 PM
So what makes for the most "legally benign" SD weapon?

A shotgun?

38 SPCL revolver?

I have an 1858 Remington in the garage. If I shoot some hoodlum trying to rob me in my driveway, will I stand accused of being a cowboy?

protectedbyglock
April 8, 2008, 11:03 PM
I don't think the gun has too much to do with it. (Unless, of course it's a mac-10.. or something equally absurd or illegal).
The point of this thread is being prepared for the legal ramification of a shooting that someone may not find "justifiable".
The problem I'm having is how exactly to go about finding a good local lawyer for this defense.
I haven't checked out Mr. Ayoob's stuff (which I will), nor Armed Citizens Network (which I will), but I doubt they can hook me up with a lawyer in my hometown who can handle a case like this (maybe you can?). I doubt that very many lawyers in my area would be competent to handle something this important.
Do you go around to a bunch of attorneys and set up fake cases and ask how they would handle the defense? Then decide based on a book you read or something?
I know that may sound silly, but you see what I mean. How do you decide?

Mas Ayoob
April 9, 2008, 07:22 AM
ProtectedbyGlock, you might want to check with your local police department's or sheriff's office union or fraternal organization (FOP, PBA, etc.). Ask them who they, and other police groups in the area, hire on behalf of wrongly accused officers. That attorney almost certainly has a leg up on the dynamics of gunfights, and is thoroughly familiar with applicable law and local caselaw.

best,
Mas

grymster2007
April 9, 2008, 09:14 AM
I don't think the gun has too much to do with it. (Unless, of course it's a mac-10.. or something equally absurd or illegal).

I understand that being prepared with legal council is the main topic here (and I am prepared in that sense), but I'm thinking the lawyers might have a tougher time defending someone that utilized a Desert Eagle in .50AE as opposed to an S&W Model 36.

pax
April 9, 2008, 09:17 AM
I haven't checked out Mr. Ayoob's stuff (which I will), nor Armed Citizens Network (which I will), but I doubt they can hook me up with a lawyer in my hometown who can handle a case like this (maybe you can?). I doubt that very many lawyers in my area would be competent to handle something this important.


One of the benefits from the Armed Citizens' Network is that they will have experienced self-defense lawyers and knowledgeable expert witnesses available for their members' lawyers to contact immediately after an incident. What this means is, even if there are no experienced self-defense lawyers in your area (and if you live in a quiet area there might not be), you may simply find yourself a decent trial lawyer instead, and then the Network can put him directly in touch with people who do have the experience of defending self-defense cases to help him figure out the best legal strategy in your particular case.

Down the road, the Network will have an attorneys' referral list for members, a list they're building right now. But even before that is in place or is extensive, the members will benefit from having access to resources which will help them educate otherwise-good but inexperienced lawyers about strategies specific to self-defense cases. That's a huge value right there.

pax

Samurai
April 9, 2008, 09:28 AM
Another question people always ask me is, "How do you go about finding a good lawyer?" And, I'm glad it was asked on this thread, because it's actually REALLY EASY to find a good lawyer! You just have to know how the business works.

As a general rule, you can find a good lawyer the same way you would find a good doctor: By referral from another person in the profession. When you go looking for a brain surgeon, for example, you do not simply look at an ad in the phone book. And, you'd be STUPID to follow some TV ad to the nearest brain surgeon in your area. No! If you wanted a good brain surgeon, you'd go to your family doctor (or one in your neighborhood) and ask, "Can you recommend a good brain surgeon?"

Lawyers work the SAME WAY! The best way to find a good criminal defense lawyer is to look up the phone number for a divorce lawyer, or a real estate lawyer, or a corporate lawyer, in your area. Call them first, and explain to them, "I'm trying to get a referral to a good criminal defense attorney in this area. I know that you are much more familiar with the legal practice in this area than I am, and I was hoping you could recommend someone." They will (usually) give you the names of at least 2 or 3 good lawyers in your town.

It's that simple!!!

Then, call the recommended lawyer, explain who you are and what you're into, and ask if you can come by their office and pick up a business card, in case you ever need them. Most criminal defense attorneys will be THRILLED to shake hands with you and let you have their card. After you get the card, follow the instructions in my previous post in this thread.

Remember: Shop for lawyers by referral from other lawyers!

RR
April 16, 2008, 08:25 PM
"ProtectedbyGlock, you might want to check with your local police department's or sheriff's office union or fraternal organization (FOP, PBA, etc.). Ask them who they, and other police groups in the area, hire on behalf of wrongly accused officers. That attorney almost certainly has a leg up on the dynamics of gunfights, and is thoroughly familiar with applicable law and local caselaw.

best,
Mas"

Mas, I read some of your work and am familar with what you teach in your classes-great stuff. However, I am very skeptical regarding this use of an expert witness in non-leo self-defense shootings. The need for an expert in such matters is, in my opinion, very rare. Most such shoots are may need such experts are incidents between bad guys, i.e., such as drug dealer rippoffs, spouse/significant other shooting the other.

I would appreciate if you would explain in very general terms such cases that went to trial that you were involved in. Again, non-leo self-defense shootings that didn't involve both the shooter and victim involved in criminal activity or a relationship.

Note I have never read that you espoused otherwise.

But again, I just don't see these situations happening.

Also, I see alot of this notion you should have an attorney on retainer that will come down immediately upon your arrest.

Before you get the chance to reach your attorney, they will already have attempted to get a statement from you.

It is not like the movies, where you and your attorney meet with the investigators and discuss the incident. I am a practicing criminal defense attorney and your response would be appreciated. Thanks.

Mas Ayoob
April 16, 2008, 09:57 PM
RR, in my opinion, the only person who needs to keep a criminal defense lawyer on retainer is a professional criminal. However, it doesn't hurt to know who you're going to hire if you're in trouble, and pay him or her for an hour of their time to explain to you the "mood of the courts" (which is largely the mood of the prosecutor's office) as regards defensive shootings in your particular jurisdiction. That's an entirely different thing from having one on retainer.

While not every case needs an expert, many do. Rules of engagement as generally taught and practiced; speed of action/reaction and similar paradigms (explaining why an attacker might have been hit in the back, for instance), explaining why a suspect might have taken multiple hits and still presented a threat, demonstrating how quickly the defendant might have been killed if he or she had not fired, etc. The only difference between civilians and cops in this regard is that the police generally have more of their own trainers who can be brought in by the defense as material witnesses to explain why the officer was taught to do as he did.

For you, or anyone else who's interested in how the whole expert witness thing works, I can recommend Adam Kasanof's book "How to be an Expert Witness" (Ulpian Press, Arlington, VA, 2006). Adam is an attorney, a retired member of the NYPD, and a gunfight survivor, and he learned at the knee of his father, the late Bob Kasanof, whom I worked with back in the '80s and who was one of NYC's great defense lawyers.

RR
April 16, 2008, 11:31 PM
"While not every case needs an expert, many do."

Thank you for your response.

I have worked with many experts. There are many areas where an expert is used in a firearms case. For example, the last expert I used involving a firearm involved the type and firing rate of a small automatic pistol. Another area is whether the shot(s) caused the death etc. But the use of an expert to testify regarding whether the use of force, or the level of force used was justified involving a self-defense shooting? Leo shooting, not uncommon. But a civilian shooting??? Not a bar fight where one party was injured or a stabbing.

I am an active member of the criminal defense bar. I have many years of experience. I am a practicing criminal defense attorney. I receive notices of all criminal defense decisions in all of my State's higher courts. However, again, I have not seen what you see, i.e., many civilian self-defense shootings where an expert was used to give an opinion as to whether the force used was justified and or whether the civilian shooter's training with the firearm was called into question. Nor am I aware of many civil suits where the same issue was called into question, in fact I cannot recall a single case.

Again, I would appreciate if you would explain in very general terms such cases that went to trial that you were involved in. Again, non-leo self-defense shootings that didn't involve both the shooter and victim involved in criminal activity or a relationship. Cases where the civilian's use of force, or level of force used, or the shooter's training, was called into question. Thank you.

bds32
April 17, 2008, 12:13 AM
the ultimate battle field _ in a court of law

You should fight just as hard in the legal system as you did for your life. But, the first step is always to be alive for the court proceedings. Don't be worrying about lawyers at the moment of truth.

Afterwards, "Officer, I was in fear of my life. Now I would like to speak with my attorney before I answer any further questions."

And that is coming from a police officer. I want to hear this response from a law abiding citizen and would honor his wishes immediately. Why, because the shoe could always be on my foot. Police officers have to fight for their lives in the courtroom just as hard as citizens. There is always someone wanting to find flaw in your deadly force decision.

JohnKSa
April 17, 2008, 12:24 AM
Again, non-leo self-defense shooting...Curious about your reasons for limiting this to non-leo shootings. Are you of the opinion/does your experience show that LEOs generally have a more difficult time justifying their actions in court than non-LEOs do? I would have thought just the reverse.However, again, I have not seen what you see, i.e., many civilian self-defense shootings where an expert was used to give an opinion...Given that you're drawing an LEO/non-LEO line here I'll continue in that vein.

Wouldn't it be highly likely that the reason an LEO would call an expert witness is because those resources are available to him at the department's expense and because the department has ready access to such resources while a civilian is unlikely to have either of these advantages?

Again, I don't really see the point of trying to eliminate LEO cases. Isn't it instructive to use those cases to see how an expert witness can be of benefit to a defendant?I am an active member of the criminal defense bar. I have many years of experience. I am a practicing criminal defense attorney. I receive notices of all criminal defense decisions in all of my State's higher courts. However, again, I have not seen what you see, i.e., many civilian self-defense shootings...I'm not sure how these cases are classified, but would they really be referred to as "self-defense shootings" when the defendant is convicted? I would think that in order to answer the question it would be necessary for an expert to review all the homicide convictions to see which defendants might have had a chance of prevailing had they had the benefit of expert testimony.

RR
April 17, 2008, 04:43 AM
"I'm not sure how these cases are classified, but would they really be referred to as "self-defense shootings" when the defendant is convicted? I would think that in order to answer the question it would be necessary for an expert to review all the homicide convictions to see which defendants might have had a chance of prevailing had they had the benefit of expert testimony. "

No. The vast majority of all cases where a shooter is charged with a crime involve mutual criminal activity, the shooter engaged in criminal activity, i.e., robbery/homicide, members of the same household, the shooter and victim know each other, or are gang related.

Eliminate the above, and you have a very very small pool of charged shootings to look at. Specifically, where the shooter shot someone to protect life and or property, and the shooter was charged with a crime.

Given the above, how many charged shootings nationwide do you have?

Of these shootings, how many do you think the shooters' firearms training was at issue or could even remotely be put at issue? Modifications to the shooter's firearm? Factory vs. reloaded ammunition? Actual cases.

I receive a weekly summary of all decisions from our higher courts, civil and criminal, in addition to the usual criminal defense publications, email lists, etc. I read them. I cannot recall one case in at least the past ten years in my State where the shooter's firearms training was at issue or could even remotely be put at issue-nothing even close. Maybe one or two at the most where the level of force used by the shooter was or could even be put at issue, but I cannot recall the specific facts of the cases and this was criminal not a civil suit.

Such cases do exist. NY subway shooter-Goetz. Mas has actual experience with these cases. I do not. That is why I asked. What happened? What was the outcome? How many such cases is he actually seeing out there?

JohnKSa
April 17, 2008, 05:43 AM
Specifically, where the shooter shot someone to protect life and or property...This is begging the question. If the shooting was clearly about protecting life then there's obviously no need for an expert witness. If one truly desires to accurately assess which cases might have benefited from the services of an expert witness, I don't think it's possible nor reasonable to take such a simplistic approach.Given the above, how many charged shootings nationwide do you have?

Of these shootings, how many do you think the shooters' firearms training was at issue or could even remotely be put at issue? Modifications to the shooter's firearm? Factory vs. reloaded ammunition? Actual cases. It seems to me that you have made an excellent case for using the experiences garnered from LEO trials given that you believe civilian cases are so rare.

Why is it that you wish to eliminate LEO trials from consideration? Unless one can show that an LEO would have a more difficult time being exonerated than a typical citizen (and therefore would have more need of resources such as expert witnesses), it would seem that this knowledge base would be quite applicable to the questions you have.

RR
April 17, 2008, 07:37 AM
"This is begging the question. If the shooting was clearly about protecting life then there's obviously no need for an expert witness."

John I cannot follow your line of thought here. Not even a little.

When a civilian intentionally shoots someone, why else would they have fired except for to protect life or property. Intense dislike? Target practice? The victim voted for Hillary? Sorry, can't follow what you are saying John.

Mas Ayoob
April 17, 2008, 08:59 AM
RR, like John, I've found that there's little difference in the dynamics of LEO v. private citizen self-defense shootings.

I'm not clear on the cause of your confusion. It's obvious from your posts that you don't have much if any experience in wrongful death claims, criminal or civil, arising out of legitimate self-defense shootings. (I don't do "scumbag versus scumbag" cases.)

Experts are brought in to show things like time-frames and relative danger posed by various weapons, such as knives, to the defendant (TN v. Robert Barnes, for example). Or why a decedent might have been shot many times (TX v. John Allen Curtis). Or why shots striking the decedent in the back could be fired in self-defense (FL v. Mary Hopkin), or why a citizen might be carrying two guns and shoot an unarmed man attempting to disarm him, unless he was a Rambo looking to kill someone (FL v. Zane Britt).

All four of those citizens were freed by the jury after being tried for murder (or, in Mary's case, manslaughter). I was happy to have some small part in helping to regain their freedom.

Prosecutors don't come out of law school with an understanding of the dynamics of violent encounters: speed of fire, disparity of force, action vis-a-vis reaction, etc. They sometimes assume a shot in the back is cowardly murder, that more than one or two shots constitute malice, etc. These things generally require an expert to explain. As you should know as a member of the criminal defense bar, the attorney can't testify, and the client's testimony in this regard is open to challenge as to lack of expertise, and would be seen as self-serving in any case.

RR, if you're a practicing criminal defense attorney, I'm sure you belong to the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, as I do. Check the NACDL archives for the writings of Attorney Lisa Steele. You'll find them enlightening.

Best wishes,
Mas

TexasSeaRay
April 17, 2008, 09:39 AM
I cannot recall one case in at least the past ten years in my State where the shooter's firearms training was at issue or could even remotely be put at issue-nothing even close.

RR,

There are 49 other States to be considered.

One of the things I learned many years ago when I was a young federal narcotics agent was that while most State laws were fairly similar, attitudes in prosecution were not. And THAT is a self-defense shooter's worst nightmare--

The overzealous and/or politically aspiring prosecutor.

He/she has a limitless budget and limitless resources to bury you.

It is with those waste-products within our legal system that expert witnesses play a valuable role, all the moreso in front of a jury.

I will also give a huge +1 to Mr. Ayood's advice of "know which lawyer you want just as well as which gun you want" when it comes to potential self-defense situations.

Remember: Self-defense doesn't stop as soon as the bad guy goes down. In fact, many would say that is the point to where it is just beginning.

Jeff

JohnKSa
April 17, 2008, 11:08 AM
Sorry, can't follow what you are saying John.Begging the question is phrasing your premise and conclusion in such a way that they circularly support each other regardless of the validity of either.

For example, you eliminate anyone involved in a fight although being involved in a fight doesn't mean that a person can't legitimately claim self-defense. In fact, the first TX CHL shooting could accurately be described as a roadrage fistfight that ended in a fatal shooting. Yet the shooter was acquitted and rightfully so.

Had he been convicted, your screening process would have eliminated the case and therefore you would not have examined it to see if expert witness testimony might have made a difference in his case.

By also trying to eliminate LEO shootings from consideration, you further reduce the pool of shooting trials to draw on and the result is that your premise follows--there is no need (or only very rarely a need) for expert witnesses in self-defense shootings.

This is very similar to the technique used to paint gun ownership in a bad light by saying that a gun in the house is more likely to kill an occupant than to kill a criminal. Focusing only on situations where criminals are killed rules out all the cases in which a criminal is only frightened away or injured. The result is that the usefulness of guns in self-defense can be made to look quite minimal. The fact is that 80% (or more) of the time self-defense doesn't involve firing the gun and about 80% of the time when someone is shot with a handgun they survive. Which means that by virtue of how the question is couched, perhaps 95% (or more) of self-defense gun uses are eliminated from consideration and the premise (guns don't stop crime, they're a danger to the owners) seems to follow as a consequence.

Rifleman 173
April 19, 2008, 07:59 PM
My oldest son is an attorney. I raised him. Sent him to school. I changed his diapers when he was a baby. He ended up with two b.s. degrees in psychology and economics. He then went back to college and got his law degree and then got his law license. I know him well and I love him dearly BUT as smart as he is, I wouldn't want him to represent me in court. I'm still thinking that I ought to run a DNA test on him just to make sure of his parentage or whatever... How could this happen to me???? I thought I raised him better than that!!

Lawyer Daggit
April 19, 2008, 11:09 PM
I have represented a number of people who have used a weapon- a knife or firearm to defend themselves. While injuries inflicted involved 'grievous bodily harm' I have not represented someone in respect to a murder.

Only use a gun or knife to defend yourself or family against a perception that you or they are about to be injured. I would not use a firearm to protect against damage to property.

After the deed is done contact the Police. Do exactly as they tell you to ensure that you do not wind up becoming a shooting victim yourself.

They may arrest you. Do not make a statement. Request to speak to a lawyer, request bail. If placed in the cells resist the temptation to discuss what happened with anyone else- other occupants of cells will often try and get you to talk with view to trying to do a deal with the Police to improve their position in respect to their own case.

Resist the temptation to yell abuse and vent. Remember your gaolers are probably taking notes.

The best way to find a lawyer is usually recommendation. This can be difficult if you are not of the 'criminal classes' and do not know anyone who can recommend someone to you. Talk to other lawyers and find out who is good in an area of practice. I would see who has recently given talks at continuing legal education training for lawyers and approach them. Often regional bars have referral mechanisms and if you explain the nature and seriousness of the matter they can arrange an appropriate referral.

Cases usually turn on the facts. It is therefore important if firearms were used that the Attorney understand how guns work. If he /she 'hates guns' they may not understand aspects of your defence.

I am a great fan of the Jury system. Unfortunately jurors include gun haters as well as owners. Try and use a type of gun that is common place and most people can understand you using- I would tend to choose a sporting firearm over a military firearm, and I would use common sporting ammunition.

I would seek to avoid doing anything that would lead to an inference being drawn that I had sought out or brought on the event.

Your position may be better if you used an improvised weapon such as a screwdriver to stab an intruder rather than a big knife.

I would avoid black semi automatic rifles, riot guns, firearms with silencers, ninja knives, rambo knives, knives with double sided blades that are clearly of an anti personnel rather than a hunting nature.

T. O'Heir
April 20, 2008, 03:49 AM
"...what it actually takes to survive in a court of law..." The money to hire an experienced lawyer.

Marty Hayes
April 24, 2008, 10:18 AM
Well, it's been a couple of weeks since I checked this thread, and see that it has been fleshed out a little. I'll try to address some of RR's concerns, regarding the use of expert witnesses in self-defense trials, along with why they are not reported in the case law.

First, only appeals are reported, so if a case ends at the trial court level, and no appeal, no record. I would postulate that most self-defense cases are not appealed, because the aggressive prosecutor has just lost the case, and wants to slink away and not loose it again a year later at the appellate court level. Besides, what is there to appeal? A self-defense case is settled at trial level, because typically, there are no rules of law broken in a self-defense trial, unless it is the prosecutor who proposes such, and the judge agrees, sending the defendant to jail over admitting inadmissable evidence, or improper jury instructions, or whatever. In any event, most self-defense cases do not go to appeal.

Secondly, most self-defense cases do not go to trial. The goal of a good self-defense "legal defense" is to get the case dismissed before trial, or even better, never charged. Consequently, if the defender's lawyer can interject the level of training the defender had prior to charges being pressed, then the prosecutor will be more likely to look at the case with a critical eye, understand that he can't win it because by looking at the case with that critical eye, realizes that the defender was right.

Third, the role of the expert in a self-defense case is not to explain why the defender was justified, in fact, he can't. That is the question for the jury, as they alone can determine if a person was justified in shooting, and if that is what the expert is supposed to do, he will not be allowed to testify, (if the judge rules correctly on the motion in limine). In fact, this is exactly what occured in the self-defense case written about here:

http://www.armedcitizensnetwork.org/EJournal.html

Go to the April edition of the E-journal, and then scroll down to page 8, (a Tale of Five Witnesses). In this particular instance, I was not allowed to testify, not because I didn't have information the jury should have heard, but because my gist of my testimony was presented to the judge wrong. The defendant, (acting pro se) didn't explain to the judge correctly why I should be allowed to testify, and thus I was excluded.

Lastly, where a defendant's self-defense training kicks in at a trial, is his ability to testify as to his mindset when he pulled the trigger, his mindset being a critical component to his self-defense claim. WHY DID HE FEEL HIS LIFE WAS IN DANGER? He can explain the training he has taken, and why that training led him to reasonably believe he was about to be killed. This is no different than a police officer justifying his use of deadly force in an officer involved shooting.

Hope this helps.

One more thing, Lawyer Daggit and RR. Our next move for the Armed Citizens' Legal Defense Network is to start putting together the Network Affiliated Attorney listings. If either of you (or any other attorneys reading this) are interested in serving as a resourse for armed citizens in your area, please e-mail me at mhayes@armedcitizensnetwork.org and I will forward you the appropriate information.

Thanks.

RR
April 30, 2008, 01:36 AM
...

JohnKSa
April 30, 2008, 02:35 AM
...clients involved in self-defense shootings may be arrested, but they won't be charged. You won't see it. The one's who are charged will be those who shoot their spouse or someone they know, or were involved in an illegal activity.This is either a blatant lie, an intentional exaggeration, or evidence of a truly amazing ignorance of reality, I'm not sure which.

The very first TX CHL shooting, one which received a good bit of publicity, resulted in the CHL shooter being charged. He was not involved in any illegal activity and didn't shoot his spouse or someone he knew. He went to trial and was acquitted.

Maybe you should spend more time working on your facts and less time coming up with creative ways to "slime" those you disagree with. Do you really think that filling your post with innuendo, "backhanded compliments" and thinly veiled personal attacks will make your case seem stronger?

If you want to continue this discussion as an exchange of information you're free to do so. However, you will not turn this into a "credentials contest". Especially not while you're posting anonymously.

RR
April 30, 2008, 02:50 AM
I deleted/edited the posts for the sole reason that some who may read them would view my comments as being derogatory toward Mas and Marty's abilities as writers, researchers, teachers and trainers. I disagree with the marketing hype.

STAGE 2
April 30, 2008, 03:23 AM
Get your CCW. Carry reloads if you want. Get a trigger job on your gun. Get training. Marty and Mas are good sources for training. Don't need CCW "insurance." Don't need a lawyer on retainer. Don't need your training "records" in a sealed envelope. And you don't need to spend $$$ to join a Citizen's whatever. Stop the nonsense. Stop exploiting gunowners to make a buck. Simple.

+1

Those who disagree are free to cite contradicting case law.

However, you will not turn this into a "credentials contest".

I completely agree. Arguments should be able to stand on their own. This should be equally applicable to BOTH sides.

Mas Ayoob
April 30, 2008, 05:24 AM
Methinks RR is becoming self-contradicting. Back at post 41, he wrote:

"Mas has actual experience with these cases. I do not."

Me, I'd be inclined to listen to the guy who has experience, over the guy who admits that he has none. But, hey, folks can take their info from whence they choose.



In a post early this morning, RR writes:

"There is no market for experts representing civilians in self-defensive shootings."

Well, if that's the case, there's nothing to worry about. No one will hire us, and RR has wasted his time posting.

Yet RR also writes:

"you will learn how an attorney uses experts. We carefully hire "experts" who will agree with our theory of defense. I could find and buy an expert who would testify the earth is square if I look hard enough."

RR has just unwittingly answered his own question. When his prostitute experts testify against you that the Earth is is square, you need honest experts who will testify that no, the Earth is in fact round.

RR writes:
"The hype Mas spews is nonsense, it is deceptive, it is wrong, it is false, it is hype, and it is pure marketing. "

Actually, if what I wrote was BS, there are far too many real attorneys and trained investigators reading it, for me to still be getting it published. But tell me, RR: IF I'M WRITING ABOUT LIABILITY TO BUILD BUSINESS FOR MYSELF, HOW DOES TELLING FOLKS HOW TO STAY OUT OF COURT ACCOMPLISH THAT?

Folks, we've got some trollery going on here. I dunno about RR yet, but a currently ongoing thread in TFL's Legal section on liability in regard to trigger pulls is convincing me more and more that Stage 2 not the attorney he claims to be. There, and in a Tactics section thread on carrying at home, he seems to be just another anonymous guy who likes to argue and put down others, and is showing signs of a poorly-founded superiority complex.

Yours for reality,
Mas

Wuchak
April 30, 2008, 07:45 AM
Finding a good self defense attorney who is also pro ccw shouldn't be too hard. If you have a good local online gun forum that is populated with instructors, attorneys, and leo you'll get some good recommendations. If not call a couple of firearms instructors in your area and ask who they would call. If you know of a pro ccw judge in your area this would be a good question to ask him/her as well.

Put the name and contact information of the attorney you choose on a card in your wallet. On the other side of the card put Massad Ayoob's list of 5 things to say if you are involved in a shooting:

1. This person attacked me (point out the attacker).
2. I will sign the complaint.
3. The witnesses are there (point out witnesses).
4. The evidence is there (point out evidence).
5. Officer, you'll have my full cooperation in 24 hours after I've spoken with counsel. (Repeat number 5 until attorney shows up)

I carry a card like this because it's not the point in time I want to begin the attorney search. I want to be able to call and get the attorney or someone from their office on the scene ASAP. I'm also sure that under the stress of such an incident I won't remember exactly what I'm supposed to say or do. Having the card to hold a read will help keep focus and prevent the blabbering that people do under high stress.

It is probably a good idea to contact the attorney you settle on and put them on retainer. I still need to do this. My understanding is that it's under $100 to do this and because you'll already have an established relationship with the attorney it will make things easier if you need to call them. You'll also get the number to call that will get them by your side at 3am.

TexasSeaRay
April 30, 2008, 10:30 AM
Here's what some folks just either don't get, don't accept, or have been too charmed/sheltered to have experienced. . . .

I'm a pilot and airplane owner. If you are a smart pilot, you are a member of Aircraft Owners & Pilots Association. It goes without saying that it is analogous to being a smart gun owner and being a member of the National Rifle Association.

One of our benefits that is offered to AOPA members is Legal Services. It costs something like an extra $29 per year in addtion to your normal dues.

In the event that you run afoul of the FAA or local aviation rules/regulations and you get notice from the government that they are coming after you for administrative or punitive action, you call up AOPA and they will supply you with an experienced attorney who specializes in aviation law. For free.

I've been flying for I don't know how long and have never needed this. But knowing the damn government the way I do, I pay this extra legal fee on my membership gladly and without hesitation every year when I renew my dues.

I wish the NRA had a similar deal.

What RR and Stage2 fail to disclose is that prosecutors are political animals and that most Americans live like an ostrich--our heads are either stuck in the sand or up our butts most of the time when it comes to the reality of how things are all around us.

And rather than accept and prepare, we choose to believe "That stuff won't happen to me, it always happens to someone else."

If THAT'S the case, then why do so many of us choose to carry a weapon when our statistical odds of EVER needing it are remote?

One thing IS FOR CERTAIN, and hear me out because I'll guaran-damn-tee you that I know this FIRSTHAND better than almost any one of you participating in this discussion--

When/if you have to use your weapon, you want every available resource ON YOUR SIDE WORKING FOR YOU! I cannot emphasize this enough.

As I said earlier in agreeing with Mr. Ayoob, self-defense doesn't end when you draw your gun and fire it to save yourself or someone else. In most jurisdictions, that's when TRUE self-defense is just beginning, thanks to our f'd up legal system.

As far as the marketing hype? I honestly don't see it as "hype." In fact, I rarely even see it. Granted, I do not subscribe to any gun rags other than Handloading and the NRA publications, but I'm trying to recall the last time I saw Mas Ayoob's smiling countenance peering at me through an ad or TV commercial or billboard, or even through some junk mail (which, before I retired from that industry, I would call "direct marketing").

And if anyone does see it as marketing hype, so what? I would see it as a natural extension of having more and more law-abiding citizens carrying concealed weapons, and thus, wanting to be more fully prepared for the entire process of self-defense.

And isn't that a good thing?

Jeff

Glenn E. Meyer
April 30, 2008, 10:52 AM
Those who disagree are free to cite contradicting case law.

That statement shows that someone doesn't understand the issue as many folks have pointed out. If you are tried, there is some doubt as to legit nature of your action. You haven't pulled off a definitional good shoot - now have you?

At trial, there is a mountain of evidence from simulations that appearance factors - clothes, race, age, blah, blah - and weapons issues influence juries. It is also clear from legal experts here and other ones, that such processes don't make 'case law'.

In fact, the application of such implicit biases is just now being picked up in terms of racial bias and being argued in court. It's a pretty new area.

The inability of some folks to understand this point is rather stunning and shows how biases work.

BTW, if Mas or Marty have expertise and try to use it to make a living - what's wrong with that? I have expertise and try to sell it honestly. When I've testified, I've given my evaluation and if the lawyer doesn't like it - too bad.

STAGE 2
April 30, 2008, 01:46 PM
What RR and Stage2 fail to disclose is that prosecutors are political animals and that most Americans live like an ostrich--our heads are either stuck in the sand or up our butts most of the time when it comes to the reality of how things are all around us.

I'm not quite sure what this is other than a fallacious argument. Sure there have been examples of bad prosecutors, but they are the very limited exception and not the rule. The people that I have worked with were stand up folks who were doing a job that they (mostly) loved because they wanted to see justice done. This idea, that seems to be very very prevalent on boards like this, that all prosecutors are chomping at the bit to have another notch on their briefcase regardless of whether they think the person is innocent or not. Thats pure bunk.


That statement shows that someone doesn't understand the issue as many folks have pointed out. If you are tried, there is some doubt as to legit nature of your action. You haven't pulled off a definitional good shoot - now have you?

Very true, however without dragging another discussion into this one, the factors that RR listed are not sufficient to create the type of doubt that is necessary to be charged. If I shoot someone and have a trigger job on my gun, that alone isn't going to get me charged. If I shoot someone with reloads that alone isn't going to get me charged. If I have both, that alone isn't sufficient to get me charged.


At trial, there is a mountain of evidence from simulations that appearance factors - clothes, race, age, blah, blah - and weapons issues influence juries. It is also clear from legal experts here and other ones, that such processes don't make 'case law'.

Not true at all. There are plenty of these issues that present themselves in appellate cases as well as ways of finding convictions from cases that don't make it to the appellate level.


In fact, the application of such implicit biases is just now being picked up in terms of racial bias and being argued in court. It's a pretty new area.

The inability of some folks to understand this point is rather stunning and shows how biases work.

I'd say just the opposite. That the inability of people who work with the justice system to understand what it takes to get a conviction is rather stunning.


BTW, if Mas or Marty have expertise and try to use it to make a living - what's wrong with that? I have expertise and try to sell it honestly. When I've testified, I've given my evaluation and if the lawyer doesn't like it - too bad.

Nothing at all. However there also isn't anything wrong with people making legitimate objections to the information they present.

Lawyer Daggit
April 30, 2008, 05:38 PM
I practice in Australia. I can see a lot of use in people doing a course on defence before getting a CCW permit.

I think there is limited scope for an 'expert' in respect to civilian court matters.

The only caveat I would add to that is when one is using a good attorney (perhaps a QC with particular skills you want) and he has limited experience with firearms. A few sessions with an 'expert' could provide him with a necessary education.

JP Sarte
May 4, 2008, 04:02 PM
I am no lawyer and because of that I refuse to give legal advice as such. I can only tell you what we were taught when I was in the LE business. If you have to shoot someone. I hope you never have to. Call the police, and regardless of how badly you wan't to "state your side" or how badly the police would like you to make a statement, REMAIN SILENT.

GET AN ATTORNEY as soon as time and money permits.

JP

RR
July 15, 2008, 03:08 AM
..

BikerRN
July 15, 2008, 03:55 AM
I'm going to jump in here with both boots.

I've never met Mr. Massad Ayoob, but I have talked with him once on the telephone and corresponded with him regarding a shooting I researched, and I've found him to be knowlegable, courteaous and likable. I find you, RR, to be none of those things.

I had a nice long scathing reply, but truth be told, you aren't worth my time. I vote for a "Ban" on a troll.

Biker

Rifleman 173
July 15, 2008, 04:44 AM
One of the things that I have always thought appropriate was to have your attorney's phone number on speed dial. If I am ever involved in a serious incident my order of priority responses will be:

1. Call my attorney.
2. Tell him what happened.
3. Let HIM call the police for me.
4. The first words to the police will be, "I will be more than happy to talk to you after my attorney has arrived here." Then remain silent.

Keltyke
July 15, 2008, 06:36 AM
And you're ALL forgetting one thing...

After you're acquitted, make sure you get a shark-toothed CIVIL attorney, because you will most probably be sued by the perp's family.

And...I'm beginning to get really tired of the constant personal attacks in discussions that should be FACTUAL. Come on, Moderators, do your job and help keep the mudslinging out of here!

Master Blaster
July 15, 2008, 08:28 AM
After you're acquitted, make sure you get a shark-toothed CIVIL attorney, because you will most probably be sued by the perp's family.


Actually that depends on the state you live in and where the shooting takes place. In Delaware there is a law that says you may only be sued if you are convicted. If Self defense is ruled justified, or you are no billed, or not arrested, the perp CANNOT SUE YOU period. Thats Factual information.

What state do you live in Keltyke? Do you know the law in your state???:)

Keltyke
July 15, 2008, 08:51 AM
Do you know the law in your state???

No, but I DO know just about anyone can be sued for just about anything. Whether it will ever get to court or be won or lost is another thing. It's like all those extra magazines some of you carry, it's good insurance to have a civil attorney's name in your pocket.

I won't assume to interpret the law, even if it looks plainly stated on the books. I'll get the civil attorney, lay out the situation, and ask him, "Can I be sued?"

M1911
July 15, 2008, 09:06 AM
Actually that depends on the state you live in and where the shooting takes place. In Delaware there is a law that says you may only be sued if you are convicted. If Self defense is ruled justified, or you are no billed, or not arrested, the perp CANNOT SUE YOU period. Thats Factual information.Be careful about that. I'm not familiar with the Delaware law on this. However, I am familiar with the MA law, and while it provides a defense against a lawsuit, it does not prevent one: Chapter 231: Section 85U. Death or injury to unlawful dwelling occupants; liability of lawful occupants

Section 85U. No person who is a lawful occupant of a dwelling shall be liable in an action for damages for death or injuries to an unlawful occupant of said dwelling resulting from the acts of said lawful occupant; provided, however, that said lawful occupant was in the dwelling at the time of the occurrence and that he acted in the reasonable belief that the person unlawfully in said lawful dwelling was about to inflict great bodily injury or death upon said occupant or upon another person lawfully in said dwelling, and that said lawful occupant used reasonable means to defend himself or such other person lawfully in said dwelling. There shall not be a duty on said occupant to retreat from such person unlawfully in said dwelling.

This does not prevent a lawsuit but it does provide a possible defense. From the law, you can see the types of arguments that the plaintiff's attorney would use: 1) you were not in "reasonable belief" that the perp was about to inflict grave bodily injury or death upon you, 2) you did not use "reasonable means" to defend yourself.

Some of these laws might either prevent a lawsuit from being filed or result in them being thrown out quickly. Others, such as the MA law shown above, provide less of a shield.

pax
July 15, 2008, 10:07 AM
This antique thread was bumped to the top by someone who immediately edited his own post.

I'm closing it as the antique that it is. If you'd like to discuss this topic, feel free to start a fresh one.

pax

JohnKSa
July 15, 2008, 08:04 PM
Just for the record, once you hit submit on your post, it's preserved for posterity.

Editing it may conceal the original contents from the public but the staff can still see what was posted.

Just something to think about...