The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > The Conference Center > Law and Civil Rights

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old December 25, 2009, 10:47 PM   #1
gburn
Junior Member
 
Join Date: July 5, 2009
Location: Ohio
Posts: 2
Insurance for defense against criminal charges?

Does anyone have a policy with CHLPP of Texas or belong to the Armed Citizen's Legal Defense Network to provide legal defense in case you face criminal charges from a self-defense incident? Any thoughts or experiences would be appreciated. Thank you.
gburn is offline  
Old January 18, 2010, 06:59 PM   #2
Micropterus
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 29, 2009
Location: Newport News, Virginia
Posts: 306
I don't know anything about these entities, but it seems to me that paying for this sort of "insurance" is a waste of money. If your shooting is "justifiable," you have little to fear in the way of criminal ramifications. If your shooting turned out to be truly illegal, I can't believe anyone would agree to pay your legal fees. In short, read whatever "policy" you buy. I bet it's full of exclusions with respect to criminal acts.

I think people would be better off thinking about how they will deal with a civil suit that often follows even justifiable shootings. Facing the specter of a lawsuit, an insurer that is fighting to deny coverage for your intentional act, and the loss of a lifetime of savings and hard work ought to give anyone who owns a gun for self-defense pause.
__________________
Regards,
Rowland
Micropterus is offline  
Old January 18, 2010, 07:07 PM   #3
vranasaurus
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 16, 2008
Posts: 1,175
What happens when they determine that your shooting was not justifiable?

When you will need legal fees paid the most is when the prosecutor determines your shooting to be criminal. If a prosecutor makes that determination any insurance company is likely to come to the same conclusion and refuse to pay your legal fees.
vranasaurus is offline  
Old January 18, 2010, 07:58 PM   #4
scottycoyote
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 19, 2005
Location: southwestern va
Posts: 653
prob the best insurance you could have is to not make any kind of statement to the police other than something along the lines of "i feared for my life, i want to see my attorney now"
scottycoyote is offline  
Old January 18, 2010, 08:35 PM   #5
Frank Ettin
Staff
 
Join Date: November 23, 2005
Location: California - San Francisco
Posts: 6,539
Quote:
Originally Posted by Micropterus
...but it seems to me that paying for this sort of "insurance" is a waste of money. If your shooting is "justifiable," you have little to fear in the way of criminal ramifications....
The problem arises when everyone who matters doesn't agree that the shooting was justified. Sometimes someone may use his gun in what he believes is justified self defense, but he doesn't have the final say as to whether or not it's a "good shoot." If the DA or grand jury doesn't agree, he winds up on trial. Now it's not a "good shoot" until the jury decides it is.

Quote:
Originally Posted by scottycoyote
prob the best insurance you could have is to not make any kind of statement to the police other than something along the lines of "i feared for my life, i want to see my attorney now"
the question of how to conduct yourself following a self defense shooting was discussed at length in this thread: http://www.thefiringline.com/forums/....php?p=3721040
Frank Ettin is offline  
Old January 18, 2010, 08:44 PM   #6
Al Norris
Staff
 
Join Date: June 29, 2000
Location: Rupert, Idaho
Posts: 9,305
I don't know anything about the Texas outfit, but I do know that the Armed Citizen's Legal Defense Network (ACLDN) is not an insurance company of any kind. It is a resource for those who may be facing wrongful prosecution.

Should you be involved in a self-defense shooting and the prosecutor/DA wrongfully charges you with a criminal offense, the ACLDN can help. But only if you are a member.

Have your attorney contact the ACLDN with all the particulars. If in the judgment of the Foundations advisory board, you have been wrongfully charged, they can at the least, help your attorney with your legal defense in several different ways. Up to and including a grant for your legal costs.

Fact is that very darn few criminal defense attorneys have clients that are actually innocent. Defending an innocent man is different than defending a criminal. The ACLDN can give your attorney the expertise he needs. Will you need expert witnesses to counter the States experts? The ACLDN can hook you up.
__________________
National listings of the Current 2A Cases.
Al Norris is offline  
Old January 18, 2010, 09:08 PM   #7
Micropterus
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 29, 2009
Location: Newport News, Virginia
Posts: 306
Quote:
The problem arises when everyone who matters doesn't agree that the shooting was justified. Sometimes someone may use his gun in what he believes is justified self defense, but he doesn't have the final say as to whether or not it's a "good shoot." If the DA or grand jury doesn't agree, he winds up on trial. Now it's not a "good shoot" until the jury decides it is.
I agree. But there has to be some reasonable basis for a prosecution. Without a reasonable basis, it is unlikely a prosecution will move forward. If everyone that matters agrees the shooting was unjustified, then there may be some merit to that conclusion.

That is what is troubling to me about the ACLDN. If there is sufficient evidence to send a matter to a grand jury, and that grand jury decides there is enough evidence to send the case to trial, is it likely the ACLDN will conclude the prosecution is wrongful? I don't know. I don't know what they consider in their decision making process.

Meritless prosecutions occur, no doubt. But in my experience they are rare.

More likely the shooter will become the victim of a meritless lawsuit.

BTW, this is a good topic. I wish more gun owners would think about how they would handle the fall-out from a self-defense shooting.
__________________
Regards,
Rowland
Micropterus is offline  
Old January 18, 2010, 09:52 PM   #8
Frank Ettin
Staff
 
Join Date: November 23, 2005
Location: California - San Francisco
Posts: 6,539
Quote:
Originally Posted by Micropterus
...But there has to be some reasonable basis for a prosecution. Without a reasonable basis, it is unlikely a prosecution will move forward....
A reasonable basis for prosecution doesn't necessarily mean that the defendant is guilty. Evidence may be equivocal. Witnesses stories may conflict. There may be political pressure to prosecute. Consider the Harold Fish case in Arizona. Consider the Diallo case in NYC.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Micropterus
...If everyone that matters agrees the shooting was unjustified, then there may be some merit to that conclusion..
It doesn't necessarily require everyone who matters to disagree that the shooting was unjustified for you to wind up on trial. You and your lawyer matter too, and you may think you have a good claim of justification. But since there's a dispute on that point, you're going to have to defend your conduct in court.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Micropterus
...Meritless prosecutions occur, no doubt. But in my experience they are rare....
It's true that many, and probably most, self defense cases get resolved in the defender's favor without going to trial. But rare things still occur; and if it happens to you, you're not really going to care that it's an unusual event.

Even if the DA decides it's legitimate self defense, or the grand jury doesn't indict, you may very well need to engage a lawyer and incur significant legal expenses. The DA/grand jury may ultimately decide not to pursue matters, but they might take some convincing.
Frank Ettin is offline  
Old January 18, 2010, 09:54 PM   #9
Al Norris
Staff
 
Join Date: June 29, 2000
Location: Rupert, Idaho
Posts: 9,305
Quote:
Originally Posted by Micropterus
If there is sufficient evidence to send a matter to a grand jury, and that grand jury decides there is enough evidence to send the case to trial, is it likely the ACLDN will conclude the prosecution is wrongful?
Not every jurisdiction uses the Grand Jury to indict. I suppose that I should add that any competent prosecutor can get a Grand Jury to indict a ham sandwich.

It's just not that hard, when the members of the jury don't know they can lead and investigate themselves, rather than take whatever the DA is giving them.

That aside, let's say you aren't prosecuted, but you are sued in a civil court. The ALCDN can help you here, as much as in the criminal complaint.

Now, as to how the Advisory Board handles things, your best bet is to PM Marty Hayes or Mas Ayoob. They are both members here.
__________________
National listings of the Current 2A Cases.
Al Norris is offline  
Old January 18, 2010, 10:29 PM   #10
Micropterus
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 29, 2009
Location: Newport News, Virginia
Posts: 306
Fiddletown, you and I have no disagreement. I believe prosecutions of clear case are rare (even in the face of political pressure), and in those instances where the case goes to trial there is usually a legitimate issue that should be placed into the hands of the finders of fact.

Quote:
That aside, let's say you aren't prosecuted, but you are sued in a civil court. The ALCDN can help you here, as much as in the criminal complaint.
That's good. I understand the NRA has some sort of similar service.

My concern is that too many people assume the liability coverage on their homeowner's policy will protect them. I will tell you that in most circumstances it will not. Your insurer may provided you with a defense, depending on the nature of the assertions in the suit, but may not provide coverage in the event of a verdict. Indeed, most insurers will hire two lawyers, one for the defendant, and one for themselves - to seek a declaratory judgement that the shooting was intentional and not covered. Once they receive their declaratory judgements, the defendant is abandoned by the insurer.
__________________
Regards,
Rowland
Micropterus is offline  
Old January 19, 2010, 11:05 AM   #11
Al Norris
Staff
 
Join Date: June 29, 2000
Location: Rupert, Idaho
Posts: 9,305
Quote:
Originally Posted by Micropterus
Indeed, most insurers will hire two lawyers, one for the defendant, and one for themselves - to seek a declaratory judgement that the shooting was intentional and not covered. Once they receive their declaratory judgements, the defendant is abandoned by the insurer.
Which brings up an interesting quandary.

In either a criminal or civil case, you are claiming you shot in self-defense. That is, you are claiming that the shooting was in fact, intentional.

Depending upon your individual (home-owners) policy, you will have just met your insurers exceptions. Catch-22?
__________________
National listings of the Current 2A Cases.
Al Norris is offline  
Old January 19, 2010, 11:49 PM   #12
rburch
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 15, 2007
Location: Blacksburg VA
Posts: 687
I got the CHLPP plan. It only offers legal defense, but it has some options I liked.

Basically as long as I'm in a state that recognizes my permit, and I'm arrested or charged in a defensive shooting.

I call their phone hotline, and they get a lawyer in the area I'm in, and send them in to run the defense. Until the case is dismissed, or a verdict is reached.

They even work with you until you get your firearm returned.

I've never had to use the number, so I can't evaluate how they work, but I find it comforting to have the number to call when I'm traveling and don't know any lawyers in the state I'm in.
__________________
I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.
rburch is offline  
Old January 20, 2010, 06:37 AM   #13
Micropterus
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 29, 2009
Location: Newport News, Virginia
Posts: 306
Quote:
Depending upon your individual (home-owners) policy, you will have just met your insurers exceptions. Catch-22?
Exactly. But plainitff attorneys are smart enough to know their money comes from the insurer, not the defendant personally. So they will taylor a lawsuit to bring the insurer in.

As long as there is a count of "negligence" in the lawsuit, the insurer has a duty to defend. Insurance covers negligence, not intentional acts.

But the insurer is smart enough to know that even though there is a claim of negligence, a self defense shooting is intentional. So even though the criminal case has no bearing on the civil case (a la O.J. Simpson), they will still use the testimony of a defendant in the criminal case against him in the civil case. The defendant then faces the prospect of the insurer abandoning him if they win their declaratory judgement action.

While this is being hashed out, I've seen defendants rise to the level of desperation. Sometimes, they will strike a deal with the plaintiff attorney in that they will agree to "admit" to negligence in return for the plaintiff only taking payment from the insurer and not them personally. An admission of negligence may or may not defeat the insurer's declaratory judgement action, but in the cases I've seen it has. So, you essentially have a defendant who is blameless and did what he needed to do now admitting to wrong-doing solely to save himself financially.

It's a crazy game.
__________________
Regards,
Rowland
Micropterus is offline  
Old January 21, 2010, 11:48 PM   #14
TXsnake
Junior Member
 
Join Date: October 14, 2005
Posts: 6
I agree with Micropterus that it is a crazy game. I have been a police officer, prosecutor and now a defense attorney. It never ceases to amaze me what happens in civil court. If you ever have to use your weapon, remember, you shot to stop the threat. As a police officer, I have heard people said things like,"I knew I was going to have to kill him". Get ready for a lot time in civil court with that one. I guess if I had ever had to shoot someone, (never in 32 years as a police officer) as a civilian I would only say something like, "I am sorry this happened but I had no other choice. I believe he was going to kill me and I shot to stop him. I would rather have my attorney present before i said anything further." I believe this shows those responding to the shooting enough to understand that (1) You did not want this to happen, (2) You felt no had no other option, (3) You believed your life was in danger, (4) you shot to stop the threat not top kill a person and (5) you are not going to be interrogated without your attorney present.

But, in civil court your action made in seconds will be dissected for months and maybe even years. It is a crazy game.
TXsnake is offline  
Old January 22, 2010, 09:39 AM   #15
Uncle Buck
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 21, 2009
Location: West Central Missouri
Posts: 2,559
Officer: Sir, Can you tell me what happened?
You: No, I need to talk to somebody first.
Officer: You wish to talk to a lawyer?
You: No, I need to talk to my insurance agent.

I was under the impression that most homeowners policies covered you against accidental shooting lawsuits (Criminal is totally different).
__________________
Inside Every Bright Idea Is The 50% Probability Of A Disaster Waiting To Happen.
Uncle Buck is offline  
Old January 22, 2010, 10:00 AM   #16
zukiphile
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 13, 2005
Posts: 1,610
Quote:
Any thoughts or experiences would be appreciated.
If you are going to set the bar that low, I'll take a swing.

Although there are outfits that purport to provide competent legal services for a periodic flat fee, I would exercise great caution. If the outfit dries up and blows away, you are left with a worthless piece of paper. If they decide to give you the equivalent of a PD, will you be happy about it?

If you feel a need to insure for a future criminal defense, you should self-insure. That means putting aside the $25,000 to $75,000 your criminal counsel will likely want before agreeing to take your case.

The issue raised in the last few posts is interesting. There is good reason to prohibit anyine from insuring against liability for an intentional act. If I could take out a 20 million usd policy for liability flowing from people I intentionally cripple, the law would have allowed me to buy my way out of a circumstance in a way society may not want to allow. In Ohio, we are not permitted to insure against our own intentional torts. I imagine other states may have similar policies.
zukiphile is offline  
Old January 22, 2010, 10:39 AM   #17
The Tourist
Junior member
 
Join Date: June 20, 2005
Posts: 2,348
I go with the "Doctrine of the Reasonable Man."

I don't think I could list all of the stupid and dangerous events that could happen to a homeowner--from icy sidewalks to home invasion. But I try to do the reasonable thing to protect my home and those in my care.

As I've stated, my Dad taught that a "layered defense" was best. I agree. Oh, it's expensive. One set of proper doors was seven thousand bucks. But invaders will beat themselves senseless trying to break down a seemingly decorative appearing door--while a motion sensor has already been tripped.

Most importantly, I do not let a thug "inside the perimeter," endangering my wife, even if I'm not home. More to the point, the idea of did the homeowner use justifiable and prudent force never comes up, because no one shot at a perp.

I suppose one of those stupid TV crooks could drive an SUV through my walls...
The Tourist is offline  
Old January 22, 2010, 01:03 PM   #18
brickeyee
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 29, 2004
Posts: 3,342
Quote:
I was under the impression that most homeowners policies covered you against accidental shooting lawsuits
It is NOT an “accidental shooting” if it was self defense.

Self defense is an affirmative defense.

You are admitting to assault with a deadly weapon or homicide.

You then point to the justification of self defense.

If you fail to make the self defense argument, you get convicted.

Since a self defense shooting in an intentional act, and not an accident, you have to let your attorney deal with the insurance company.


Your homeowner's insurance does not cover you if you burn your house down on purpose, any more than your auto insurance will cover you for willfully crashing into the neighbors car.
brickeyee is offline  
Old January 22, 2010, 02:04 PM   #19
MTT TL
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 21, 2009
Location: Quadling Country
Posts: 1,791
You can just pay a retainer to an attorney. Insurance for criminal acts is generally frowned upon and disallowed in some states.
__________________
Proxima est Mors, Malum Nullum adhibit Misericordiam
MTT TL is offline  
Old January 22, 2010, 09:19 PM   #20
Uncle Buck
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 21, 2009
Location: West Central Missouri
Posts: 2,559
Sorry, I should have been clearer in my original post, I was not talking about self defense, but an actual accidental shooting.

Self defense is another issue and I would think that a special insurance would be available for it, but the premiums would be outrageous.
__________________
Inside Every Bright Idea Is The 50% Probability Of A Disaster Waiting To Happen.

Last edited by Uncle Buck; January 22, 2010 at 10:25 PM.
Uncle Buck is offline  
Reply

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 01:06 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2014 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent: thefiringline.com
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.12363 seconds with 9 queries