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Old January 18, 2010, 09:52 PM   #8
Frank Ettin
Join Date: November 23, 2005
Location: California - San Francisco
Posts: 8,745
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.

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.

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.
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