View Single Post
Old November 20, 2012, 12:02 AM   #131
Frank Ettin
Join Date: November 23, 2005
Location: California - San Francisco
Posts: 8,775
Originally Posted by MLeake
...I am not a lawyer. However, I have been told by former prosecutors and defense experts that the alleged perpetrator's background can be brought up in almost any jurisdiction, as it pertains to past patterns of behavior and their relevance to the behavior the shooter/defender claims to have seen evinced....
As you know, I am a lawyer, and I'm afraid that you've misunderstood.

In the prosecution of the "perpetrator", i. e., the person whose conduct was defended against, the prosecutor can introduce evidence of that person's past conduct to show a pattern or "common plan or design."

But in a prosecution of the "defender", in defense of which the defender claims self defense, the "defender" can not introduce evidence of the "perpetrator's" past acts, reputation for violence or criminal record unless (1) the "defender" can establish the he/she knew those things; or (2) the prosecutor has put on evidence of the perpetrator's good character to challenge the "defender's" story about what the "perpetrator" did.

So --

Originally Posted by MLeake
...In other words, if a BG has a prior history of using a crowbar to threaten and then attack people as they get out of their car, in their driveway, and if the client claims that the BG threatened him with a crowbar as he was getting out of his car, then the odds are good that past history will be allowed, at least as it relates to that specific MO...
No, in the self defense case, that would generally not be admissible into evidence. It doesn't establish that the defendant claiming self defense reasonably perceived a lethal threat. The only way it would get into evidence in the self defense case would be if the prosecutor, for example, put on character witnesses for the Bad Guy who claimed that he wasn't the kind of guy to go around swinging crowbars.

However, if the crowbar wielder was being prosecuted, the prosecutor could put on that criminal history evidence to show MO.

Originally Posted by MLeake
...OTOH, the simple fact of the BG's prior history is otherwise irrelevant, unless the client can prove they had prior knowledge of that history...

Originally Posted by youngunz4life
...A lawyer can much more easily prove substantiation(not sure if that's a word) if his client pulls a gun on a convicted sex offender with past issues rather than an 18yr old valedictorian who has never had any problems with the law....
But as I've noted above, the Bad Guy's history is generally not going to get into evidence if your defending yourself in court claiming self defense.
"It is long been a principle of ours that one is no more armed because he has possession of a firearm than he is a musician because he owns a piano. There is no point in having a gun if you are not capable of using it skillfully." -- Jeff Cooper
Frank Ettin is offline  
Page generated in 0.04397 seconds with 7 queries