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Old April 16, 2011, 09:35 PM   #76
Tom Servo
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Once again, let's turn the tables. Suppose that you and a friend were walking somewhere, and by coincidence your route put you behind someone else for several turns. Perhaps that someone else mistakenly interpreted some sounds as your shouting to him.
Case in point:

One night, I was at a gas station. My car was parked at pump #2. There was an Acura occupied by a 16-19 year old woman on pump #4. I went in, paid for my gas, coffee, Jolt cola, NoDoz, and Trucker's Pal Pep Pills.

As I exited and approached my car, a man roughly her age ran across the parking lot to the Acura and started banging on the window, screaming "give me the car, _____."

Alrighty! Time for Captain Hotpants to play the hero and save the day, right? Right?

Three seconds into the exchange, the young woman rolled down her window and said, "yeah, real funny, Travis." The whole episode was a joke.

There's a lesson in this. What if I'd drawn? Worse, what if I'd have shot? For a split second, it was very easy to misjudge the situation.

Maybe a jury would have understood my side of the story. Maybe.
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Old April 16, 2011, 10:40 PM   #77
OldMarksman
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Posted by Aquila Blanca: I disagree [(with the the idea that contending that one had left a concert downtown at night and that there had been muggings in the area provided a reason for believing that imminent danger existed would surely fall short of constituting evidence that would support a defense of justification, particularly when the only pertinent action had been words].
If you say so. However, appellate findings in many states, and jury instructions based on same, would differ from your opinion.

In most jurisdictions, objective evidence is required, and "mere words" do not begin to suffice.

And if sufficient evidence were not produced, the jury would not be given the task of deciding whether there had been justification.

Put another way: if you were on the jury, you would not have even hear an argument that the act had been justified.
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Old April 16, 2011, 11:30 PM   #78
lawnboy
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I'm not a lawyer.

I've always assumed that there is a very high standard for what actually constitutes a threat out in the world. We want there to be such a standard. Otherwise, if someone notices we are armed (legally of course) what is to stop them from "feeling threatened" and putting one right between our eyes?
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Old April 17, 2011, 01:24 AM   #79
Aguila Blanca
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Originally Posted by OldMarksman
If you say so. However, appellate findings in many states, and jury instructions based on same, would differ from your opinion.

In most jurisdictions, objective evidence is required, and "mere words" do not begin to suffice.
Appellate decisions and jury instructions don't mean diddley. I don't know what appellate decisions you think might affect this but, ultimately, what we're talking about is a jury getting inside the defendant's mind. What the laws say (typically) is that you ARE allowed to use deadly force if you are in fear of death or serious bodily harm. Period.

At trial, should a case go that far, the prosecutor is trying to convince the jury that the defendant was NOT in fear or that it would have been "unreasonable" for him to be in fear. The defendant is saying, "But I WAS in fear."

A judge's instructions cannot tell the jury what to decide. All the judge can do is explain the law -- which in cases such as this will typically involve an explanation of the "reasonable man" theory. It is then up to the jury to decide if the defendant's claim of being in fear was "reasonable" under the circumstances, or not.

I'm not saying that in the case presented here a jury wouldn't convict. They might. I'm saying it's far from being certain that they would. I know for a fact that, based on the facts presented, I would not convict. I think his actions were reasonable, and I think it was reasonable in that situation to fear death or serious bodily harm. If I were sitting on his jury, I would not vote to convict. If I were the only holdout, then we'd have a hung jury.
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Old April 17, 2011, 02:47 AM   #80
Sport45
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I know for a fact that, based on the facts presented, I would not convict.
I would not convict either. But not because of the facts presented. I would not convict because there has been no EVIDENCE presented to make a determination.

Our system dictates that everyone is innocent until PROVEN guilty.

Even the guys that were following the friend...
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Old April 17, 2011, 08:13 AM   #81
OldMarksman
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Posted by Aquila Blanca: Appellate decisions and jury instructions don't mean diddley.
Begging your pardon, but appellate decisions define the meaning of the law.

Quote:
What the laws say (typically) is that you ARE allowed to use deadly force if you are in fear of death or serious bodily harm. Period.
No.

Even in states in which the code says that (i. e., where the term "fear" is used in the statute), appellate rulings, which do in fact take precedent over the "black" law, say that one's threshold for trepidation does not enter into the question of justification.

What the laws do "say" is the following: "you" are justified if (1) you had reason to believe that you were in imminent danger of death or serious bodily harm; (2) a reasonable person, knowing what you knew at the time, would have believed the same thing; and (3) you actually believed same. They also "say" that you must present at least some evidence on each of the elements of self defense.

Quote:
I know for a fact that, based on the facts presented, I would not convict.
Hmmm....

The only "facts "that have been presented is that someone has committed what would be a criminal act in the absence of justification, and that that someone had not been threatened.

Yet, you say going in, and without having heard all of the facts of the case, that you would vote to not convict that person of that crime, had he or she been charged.

Perhaps that is because you believe that people drawing guns without justification under the law is acceptable, or perhaps because of where you read the account, you feel some kind of affinity for the person who would be the defendant. We cannot tell. Of course, none of us here would likely ever be empaneled on the jury.

It is likely that other jurors, having heard the charges and the testimony of whomever reported the act, would go in with an equally strong bias against the defendant. Why? Ethnicity, having sons the same age as the persons in question, being of the same socioeconomic background as those persons, an ingrained fear or dislike of firearms, a belief that only policemen should have guns, or a belief that because someone has been charged, he must be guilty....

A very sad commentary on many of the people who serve on juries, in my view.

Last edited by OldMarksman; April 17, 2011 at 08:28 AM.
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Old April 17, 2011, 08:48 AM   #82
MLeake
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To add to the jury issue...

... I have a friend who continually gets declined for jury duty by defense attorneys, because he is a LEO of sorts (FFDO, so only empowered when in the cockpit for his airline); because he is a retired Navy officer; and because he is politically conservative.

But he also is not the darling of prosecutors, because he's pro-RKBA and believes in the inherent right of self-defense.

Both sides have a lot of say in empaneling, or disqualifying jurors.
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Old April 17, 2011, 10:00 AM   #83
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Your friend and I are cast from the same mold, MLeake.

Voir dire is one of the most critical, specialized skills either side of a criminal trial can bring to the contest. Just about the time you think you have it figured out, you'll pick a dud and give yourself that dose of humility my Mother was always talking about
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