|July 30, 2009, 03:25 PM||#1|
Join Date: November 17, 2000
Will it hurt you in court - for a CCW violation?
We've discussed whether appearance of firearms, etc. will hurt you in court. My readings of the research and my own (as I published and presented at the Polite Society) indicates to me that it can. Fiddletown has provided an excellent legal analysis that correlates with Mas Ayoob's. However, folks sometimes say, that the issue is not important - if it is a good shoot, blah, blah - which ignores the issue that if you go to trial - it isn't a good shot definitionally.
But here is a different take - it's a CCW violation. Independent of how the gentleman got there - my attention was caught by his anecdotes of the prosecutor trying to use weapons priming of aggression to his detriment. The continued exposure to the guns is classic and right out the literature that started in the 90's. Now in this case, some jurors saw through it. Do all?
But here's a case, where weapons' appearance was a ploy. Now if the defense attorney knew the research could have done something - that isn't my domain. Perhaps, our legal eagles could comment.
The prosecution insisted on placing my firearms on their table in the court room directly in front of the jury for the duration of the trial. There was my Glock 17 and its 3 mags, the Bersa .380cc, an assortment of holsters as well as the boxed and loose ammo that was stored in my glove compartment. I thought this attempt at political theater was pathetic, as it turns I wasn't the only one who felt this way. Mature rational adults are not scared by inanimate pieces of metal and plastic. It's an insult to their intelligence.
The prosecutor was constantly making references to my guns and accessories laid out on his table throughout the trial. He even had my girlfriend take the stand. During her testimony she told the court how that I'm not a scary person and that she has been to the range with me and is familiar with and comfortable being around my firearms.
I was stopped by one of the jurors in the parking lot after the trial, a grandmotherly woman who wanted to offer me some sage advice. She said that I need to clean up my car and find a new hobby, something other than firearms. She also said the jury was not impressed with the prosecution having my guns laid out on the table for the entire trial. She said they knew the prosecution was trying to scare them with the display, unfortunately it backfired. Per her advice, I have since cleaned up my car.
NRA, TSRA, IDPA, NTI, Polite Soc.
Being an Academic Shooter
Being an Active Shooter
|July 30, 2009, 05:46 PM||#2|
Join Date: July 7, 2008
Location: Upper midwest
A man accused of a (trivial) CCW violation has his guns used against him in court?! Mr. Ledford is fortunate that one of the police cars had a dash cam... and that the jurors who heard his case were a relatively sensible lot.
Although I can't help wondering if there's a back story to this that's not coming out in his blog; otherwise the behavior of the officers involved seems a bit extreme, even allowing for the dangers of responding to a domestic disturbance.
I assume you're not suggesting, Glenn, that he might have been better off if he hadn't had something as "scary" as the Glock with the 31 rd. magazine, but that his attorney (who I gather had some expertise in defending gun-related cases) might have done more -- perhaps using the literature you mention -- to counter the prosecution's scary-gun ploy?
It's pretty chilling, regardless.
Thomas Jefferson never said that.
|July 30, 2009, 11:43 PM||#3|
Join Date: November 23, 2005
Location: California - San Francisco Bay Area
I've read the Blog, and basically what I've seen here reinforces what I've said before: it's never just one thing. In this case, the display of the guns was ineffective, and actually backfired, because there were too many positive factors on the defendant's side. Among the factors in the defendant's favor --
 This was basically a bogus beef. A delay of 51 seconds, under all the circumstances, in the defendant informing the officer of his CCW and the presence of his guns is hardly calculated to get the jury's juices flowing.
 The defendant apparently made a good impression. He was employed in what may be considered a "professional" line of work, as an insurance agent. It is generally reasonably common knowledge that to work as an insurance agent one must obtain a license by meeting certain educational requirements, passing a test and showing good character (and he has done that independent of his interest in guns).
 So the defendant came across as a solid citizen and a contributing member of society. He was, in the eyes of the jury, "normal."
 He conducted himself well during the arrest. This was corroborated byt the testimony of the officers and the video of the encounter.
 The arresting officers confirmed in their testimony that the defendant's guns were legally stowed in the car.
 His girl friend testified as to his good character.
 He had positive testimony from an expert witness.
 The guns themselves might not have been all that frightening to the jury. It sounds like they were the kind of gun folks see the good guys use on TV all the time.
Given all that, it's hard to see why the prosecutor decided to take this to trial. Perhaps there were political considerations. But it sure seems to me that if all the possible evidence were properly weighed, a prosecutor would have had to conclude that the case was a loser.
And if some of the factors in favor of the defendant were flipped to negative factors, the result might have been different. What if one of the guns was a Tec 9 or a nickle plated 1911 with Punisher grips; and what if the defendant was a scuffy type and unemployed; and what if he had been argumentative with the arresting officers; and so on. And it's hard to know when a losing case then becomes a possible winner and then becomes a likely winner.