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Old January 28, 2012, 10:28 PM   #1
Blue Duck
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Home Invasion Aftermath Scenario Question?

This is a question that has been bugging me, for sometime, and it may seem like one of the last things most people would worry about, in the unlucky event, of having to defend one's self during a home invasion, but for others it may be an issue worth discussing.

If a law abiding homeowner ends up defending his home against a home invasion, and the result is a clean case of selfdefense, with a perp or two down for the count, what normally happens when the cops get there?

I know that still yet, it is not uncommon for the homeowner to be arrested, and of course all weapons used in the fight will be conficated by the police as evidence, and may or may not ever be returned to the citizen.

Ok, so you might have to spend a night in jail at the least until the matter is cleared up, or bail is set, etc, some have even said calling a lawyer even before you call 911 might not be a bad idea.

However, my main question is, lets just say that you are a serious hunter and gun collector with a large safe locked full of expensive firearms. Will the cops take into custody your entire lawfully owned firearm collection, from your locked safe, as well as any other firearms in the house even though they were not used or involved in anyway with your recent defense of your life and home?
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Old January 28, 2012, 10:31 PM   #2
arch308
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Good question.
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Old January 28, 2012, 10:36 PM   #3
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Great post and an Outstanding question. I would think it boils down the the state. But hopefully someone actually IN law enforcement will chime in, everything else will probably be speculation.
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Old January 28, 2012, 10:43 PM   #4
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I think this depends very much on your state, if not individual community. (And this is a personal opinion, not legal advice.)
In Arizona in the last several years, the Tucson prosecutor has taken a very draconian view of self defense in deference to Arizona state laws, making it difficult on honest homeowners who arm then protect themselves, including filing assault and attempted murder charges against the home owners. (NRA has even gotten involved) 100 miles to the north, It's just the opposite: people defending their homes (and following state laws) often get exonerated in a week or less.

As such, IMHO, if you were in Tucson, you are more likely to have your otherwise-lawful-gun collection taken, (lawfully or otherwise) than in the Phoenix area.

Does that help any?
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Old January 28, 2012, 10:48 PM   #5
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Say nothing get a lawyer ASAP
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Old January 28, 2012, 11:19 PM   #6
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Once you hear the cops coming in. put your gun down. as said before, say nothing. demand a lawyer, hopefully you already know one. The cops have no reason to believe that you are the victim and may proceed to try and get you to self incriminate on the spot. anything you say can and will be used against you.
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Old January 28, 2012, 11:39 PM   #7
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If you don't say anything at all while standing over two dead bodies, then you're definitely going to jail. In this scenario something along the lines of "these men forced their way into my home, and I defended myself" is a good thing to open with. If they start asking for specifics or you get uncomfortable then tell them you're shaken up, and request to see a paramedic. They can't deny you medical attention and at that point the interview is over.

Know your state laws, and do your best to work within them. If your state has a clear castle doctrine and you acted reasonably, you'll probably be allowed to sleep in your own bed that night.

*I am not a lawyer*

*Edit: Also be sure to identify yourself as a victim in the 911 call. "Two men just broke into my home and/or attacked me and I shot them. Send police and an ambulance."
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Old January 29, 2012, 12:13 AM   #8
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forget what I said and go with crazy 88. its better.
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Old January 29, 2012, 01:55 AM   #9
BillCA
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I'd recommend you buy Alan Korwin's new book, After You Shoot - Your gun's hot, the perp's not. Now what?

Alan begins with the premise that what you say when you dial 911 may be used against you. It's sound advice. From the moment the action is over until your lawyer takes over, what you say and how you say it can make all the difference in the world.

Massad Ayoob as suggested minimizing your discussions with the police over the specific details and that includes when you dial 911. As the police arrive, you should have put the weapon down in a safe manner and greet them unarmed. They won't always know who is the good guy or bad guy. You cooperate only to a point. You do want them to know you're the victim, but you don't want to get bogged in details while your adrenaline is still pumping and you're still dealing with emotional shock.

I'm not a lawyer, nor am I offering legal advice. I'm relating what more experienced folks have suggested we do in the aftermath. As always, it is worth investing a few dollars to seek legal advice ahead of time and to have several business cards of criminal attorneys with firearms experience to call.

Dialing 911
Calls are recorded. Your voice. Your words. Choose carefully. You do not want to say "I just shot a burglar!" or "Some guy tried to knife me in an alley and I shot him!" These are admissions of responsibility ("I shot him!") and point directly at you as the perpetrator.

Unfortunately, 911 operators are trained to obtain as much information ("intel") as possible for responding officers. When you ask for an ambulance because "A man trying to rob someone got shot", they will ask you who shot the man or if the shooter is still there. They may be more direct - "Sir, did you shoot the man?" And it's hard to go against a lifetime of believing that being cooperative and honest is the best policy. But if there is even the slightest question of justification and the DA has your "confession" on tape, it could be game over.

Arriving Cops
Both Massad Ayoob and Alan Korwin have covered the procedures for what to do when the cops arrive. There is a certain amount of cooperation you provide before telling police you'd prefer to speak to your lawyer. Once you do that, their questioning should stop. If any cop pushes you for a statement, if you say "I feel like I might get sick" it will clear a nice circle around you for a while.

In the Home
Married or not, your spouse or significant other should be forewarned to follow your lead and talk to your lawyer before answering any more than basic questions (name, relationship, address). If you have children at home it's a good idea to ask a lawyer ahead of time just what control you have over them being questioned by police.

Keep in mind that if you or your spouse had the presence of mind to lock the safe before police arrived, they're still likely going to open it. But there is generally no hurry and you can refuse permission (I dunno, don't you need one of those warrant things? I'd rather let my lawyer deal with that.) Seizure of your firearm collection may depend on how the scene looks, what information and evidence they have and the local DA's attitude. If you're and/or your family are in pajamas or you're in your BVD's, the door jamb is splintered and there's some scumbag is on the floor with a 9mm Hi-Point in his hand, there may be little to indicate something other than self-defense.

Do you live alone?
If so, do you have a trustworthy neighbor, friend or relative nearby? Often times, after their preliminary investigation, police will want to "talk to you further, downtown." That means leaving your home in the hands of police searching for evidence. It is in your own best interest to have someone arrive to take possession of keys and be responsible for locking up or arranging for the security of your home (e.g. replacing the front door or at least nailing plywood over it.) That person can also take notes of what he sees police removing from the home in your absence.

¹ If the perp's accomplices claim they saw it all before you tell police others were involved, your claim that they were accomplices seems like a thin denial. But if you are able to at least tell the cops that one or more persons ran off and later see one talking to police, your "Hey! He's the other guy!" statement is much more believable.
² Nor is there any need to lie about what happened. If you're not sure you should say something, then don't. Let your lawyer earn his money. Rule number one is never admit you shot someone without talking to your lawyer. For all you know, you fired at him and missed but his frightened accomplice shot him in the back. Stranger things have happened!
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Old January 29, 2012, 02:09 AM   #10
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BillCA generally covered the ground.

Another thing to remember is that there is no universal answer to what exactly what will happen. A lot will depend on exactly what happened, how it happened, what initial conclusions the arriving officers make and what the local procedures are.

In addition to Massad Ayoob and Alan Korwin, you might want to read this by Marty Hayes.
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Old January 29, 2012, 02:26 AM   #11
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Good thread. Not a topic I game much thought to before hand, but I am glad it was brought up
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Old January 29, 2012, 08:08 AM   #12
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Assuming the perps are strangers to you, and your family...

Remain vigilant until the police arrive. You dont know if they are really out of the fight until an EMT declare them dead. Or the police are on the scene, and take over. Also consider that they probably didnt walk to your home... There is probably at least one perp (driver, and possibly a lookout) still outstanding.

While your waiting for the police... DO NOT PUT YOUR GUN DOWN!!! I suggest maintaining it in your hand in your pocket. The police may come in silent. So consider this. When you do put the gun down do not hide it, and step away from it, remember to not put it in reach of any perp. If you hear sirens, and see flashing lights raise your empty hands above your head, and announce that your the home owner. Expect some rough treatment from the police, and even the possibility of being handcuffed. This would be normal. It dont mean that your a suspect, or in any kind of trouble. This is normal procedure to secure an ongoing scene.

As far as what to say to the police. Thats the $64,000.00 question. My opinion is that you must say something. Keep it minimal, and factual. absoloutly NO bravado, or clever comments. IME between 75% and 100% of a shooting investigation will be decided by forensics, and proximity. Self defense being an affermative defense the burden of proof is not on the state but on the actor... You. Absent politics the police will have little problem figuring it out, and reporting the truth to the states attorney.

Well then... there you have it...

Glenn

Last edited by Glenn Dee; January 29, 2012 at 01:15 PM.
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Old January 29, 2012, 11:25 AM   #13
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Basically, if the police are onscene or in-bound,

then on separate phone advise your attorney of situation.

Let the police get the physical evidence and wai till attorney arrives to represent you.

Keep it super simple is the order here.


It all depends on the political orientation of the prosecutor, what follows next.
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Old January 29, 2012, 12:23 PM   #14
Frank Ettin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jrothWA
...It all depends on the political orientation of the prosecutor, what follows next.
Phooey! Are you suggesting that the impressions and findings of the investigating officers, the physical evidence, any statements of participants or witnesses, etc., have no bearing
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Old January 29, 2012, 01:11 PM   #15
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Rule numero uno. NEVER EVER LIE TO AN LEO. EVER Do it once nothing you say will be believed after that.


I know of some one that was involved in a deadly force situation involving a family member's exhusband. There were a lot of things against the exhusband. Deadly force was used and BG was pronounced dead on the scene. He was asked by the LEO on scene if he had any other weapons. He awnsered truthfuly that there was a single shot shotgun in the trunk of his car. LEO left it there.

The man went before a grand jury that took 30 minutes to come back with a justifiable use of deadly force decision. His gun was returned to him the following day.

Note I worked with him for a while until he retired. He is one of the nicest people you could ever hope to meet, and a very humble person.
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Old January 29, 2012, 01:12 PM   #16
Glenn Dee
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THANK YOU FIDDLETOWN!!!!!

The truth will be the truth. The facts will remain the facts.
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Old January 29, 2012, 01:49 PM   #17
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Lots of good advise here, a simple statement so they dont haul your ass right off to jail is a good idea then STFU until the lawyer gets there. If they take all your guns they take all your guns, at least you are alive and that can all be sorted out later. I would probably offer up the gun I used willingly but no others. In the area where I live I as much expect to be treated like a gang banger who just shot a 9 year old if I had to use my firearms to defend myself in the home. But that aside, I am not discouraged. I think the bottom line is it is going to depend on where you live, If you live in the Chicago and NYC area expect to be treated like a criminal, if not by the cops then by prosecutors. If you live in an area with more sane level headed prosecutorial officials you might just be treated as a hero.
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Old January 29, 2012, 01:56 PM   #18
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The possibility of confiscation of all guns in the house is one reason I store at least one firearm off-site. It's definitely something to consider. I don't see justification of it, but you never know.
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Old January 29, 2012, 02:19 PM   #19
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Quote:
then on separate phone advise your attorney of situation
Maybe I am way off base, but how many people "have an attorney". I have never used one and the moments after a SD shooting would not be the best time to be thumbing through the yellow pages
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Old January 29, 2012, 03:55 PM   #20
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A request to obtain counsel first before answering questions is something that can not be denied. In short "I'm scared and I need a lawyer" is going to be understood by the cops for the most part.
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Old January 29, 2012, 05:14 PM   #21
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There is a lot of checks and ballances in the criminal justice system, and plenty of room for discretion on the part of officers, prosecutors, judges, and juries. What it boils down to is if you acted in a REASONABLE manner given the situation.

What is deemed reasonable largely depends on people in your area. Police in your area may or may not have a positive attitude towards civilian gun overship. The same goes for District or County Attorneys, Sheriffs, and Judges, except they're elected officials, and they will likely side with the popular opinion of the people around you. Politics should not be underestimated in this regard.

However, if you broke any laws, or think justification of your actions is lacking it would be a good idea to lawyer up as soon as possible. Depending on your political climate the police may be out to confiscate as many guns as possible.

Finally, expect the police to take the gun you used to defend yourself as evidence. As long as you are found not guilty it should be returned to you. Keep in mind the police's evidence lockers may not preserve your firearm as well as your gun safe that has humidity control.
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Old January 29, 2012, 05:14 PM   #22
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Quote:
Maybe I am way off base, but how many people "have an attorney". I have never used one and the moments after a SD shooting would not be the best time to be thumbing through the yellow pages
You're not off-base at all. This was a strong recommendation for something to consider from different instructors I've had, for just the reason you mentioned.

I do have one, did not always. It was not as easy to find one as you might think. You also need to find someone you feel comfortable with, for many reasons.
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Old January 29, 2012, 05:43 PM   #23
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Is there a resource available for 2nd-amendment-inclined lawyers in our particular areas?
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Old January 29, 2012, 06:02 PM   #24
Crazy88Fingers
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BillCA:
Quote:
Calls are recorded. Your voice. Your words. Choose carefully. You do not want to say "I just shot a burglar!" or "Some guy tried to knife me in an alley and I shot him!" These are admissions of responsibility ("I shot him!") and point directly at you as the perpetrator.

Unfortunately, 911 operators are trained to obtain as much information ("intel") as possible for responding officers. When you ask for an ambulance because "A man trying to rob someone got shot", they will ask you who shot the man or if the shooter is still there. They may be more direct - "Sir, did you shoot the man?" And it's hard to go against a lifetime of believing that being cooperative and honest is the best policy. But if there is even the slightest question of justification and the DA has your "confession" on tape, it could be game over.
"A man trying to rob someone got shot" presents you as an uninvolved third party witness. That's a slippery slope. There's plenty of physical evidence and they'll piece the puzzle together eventually. If you're trying to avoid accepting responsibility you might as well ditch the gun and run home before the police show up. Or don't make the call at all.

Dancing around the basics of the scenario will only lead to more questions and more suspicion. Like I mentioned in my first post: know the law, act within it, and stick to the facts.
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Last edited by Crazy88Fingers; January 29, 2012 at 11:01 PM.
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Old January 29, 2012, 06:56 PM   #25
Blue Duck
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Interesting posts, and pretty much what I expected for answers. I hope I never have to deal with a scenario like this, but I get reminded of it sometimes, when watching the news, the police go into a home, (however the resident is usually the perp in this case) and the result is they confiscate all guns, loose cash, etc in the house as evidence, and it gets plastered all over the local news.
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