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:
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 [email protected]
and I will forward you the appropriate information.