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Old January 12, 2018, 02:28 PM   #126
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Question for the attornies: how common is a successful affirmative defense without defendant testimony? While I get legally allowed I cannot imagine this would actually work.

/Not a lawyer
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Old January 12, 2018, 02:34 PM   #127
Spats McGee
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Originally Posted by Lohman446
Question for the attornies: how common is a successful affirmative defense without defendant testimony? While I get legally allowed I cannot imagine this would actually work.

/Not a lawyer
My best guess: not very. Obviously, the strength of any defense relies on the strength of both weaknesses in the prosecution's case and whatever evidence the defendant can put on. In SD cases, though, the SD Shooter's perspective on what transpired can be critical.
I'm a lawyer, but I'm not your lawyer. If you need some honest-to-goodness legal advice, go buy some.
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Old January 12, 2018, 04:50 PM   #128
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The entire thing seems like it's doomed to failure.

If a person on trial refuses to testify he loses his only opportunity to share himself and his story. If he testifies and invokes the fifth numerous times, people won't like it. If his testimony or lack of testimony damages the jury's impression, and leaves them doubting his motives and actions his attorney has a handicap.

Refusing to speak is a bad idea, and if the situation looks bad for the shooter in the first place, a plea bargain is probably safer.
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Old January 13, 2018, 01:21 AM   #129
Frank Ettin
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Originally Posted by Wag
That's why you have an attorney. Plead the Fifth. Let your attorney tell your story. That's why you hired the guy/gal....
First, I gather that you're not an attorney.

However, Spats is an attorney, and based on his comments in this thread, he doesn't agree. I'm also an attorney, and I agree with Spats. I also addressed the question here.

And now let's look at what yet another attorney has to say on the subject. Several years ago a lawyer by the name of Lisa Steele wrote an excellent article for lawyers on defending a self defense case. The article was entitled "Defending a Self Defense Case" and published in the March, 2007, edition of the journal of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, The Champion. It was republished in four parts, with permission, on the website, Truth About Guns. The article as republished can be read here: Part 1; Part 2; Part 3; and Part 4.

As Ms. Steele explains the unique character of a self defense case in Part 1:
...Self-defense is all-or-nothing. In order to establish it, the client has to admit being at the crime scene, with a weapon, which he or she used to intentionally harm the aggressor. The client has to admit that he injured the aggressor. The client has to convince the jury that if a reasonable person had been standing in his shoes, the reasonable person would have done the same thing. In effect, the aggressor invited his fate by threatening or inflicting serious bodily harm, or by threatening to kill the client.

In one fell swoop, the client has given up alibi and mistaken identity defenses. He or she has given up any claim that the wound was made by accident. Generally, the client must give up provocation (heat of passion or extreme emotional disturbance). Logically, provocation implies an unreasonable response to a situation, and mitigates murder to manslaughter. Self-defense implies a rational response to a very dangerous situation and, if successful, results in an acquittal. Similarly, the client must give up claims of mental illness or insanity and defenses based on intoxication or drug use....

... Often, the defendant will need to testify in order to establish his subjective belief about the threat and need to respond defensively. This can be done through circumstantial evidence, but it is difficult....
"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
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Old January 13, 2018, 02:04 AM   #130
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The way I read that is sort of

'you won't weasel your way out of this' and 'give full disclosure and honesty' and in the end a jury will be inclined to hand down an honest verdict.

Imo, it would be quite literally impossible to hand down a correct verdict in good faith if the defendant jerks them around like that.

Maybe I'm wrong here. A jury votes based on the full body of the case as presented, and without completely disclosing information about the actual shooter, such as his physical and mental presentation and his actual statements about the incident, they do not have the foundation of the complaint.

You lawyers will be able to confirm this, there have been several high profile cases that have gone to appeal because the defendant screwed up his case's representation or represented himself.

Way back in the past, Charles Manson fired his lawyers, and demanded to represent himself, but the courts did something to stop it.

In anything but very simple low stakes cases, I believe that going without representation is just foolish. an untrained person is going into a contest with a professional. Thousands of hours, dozens of years, resources, every advantage is on the professional, and that attorney is bound to prosecuting that case with all of his skill.

Am I right?

People tend to wrongly believe that they can't be influenced or fooled, yet millions of companies still spend billions of dollars tricking the public into believing that their product is the right one to choose.
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Old January 13, 2018, 08:08 PM   #131
Big Shrek
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If I'm on a Jury, and the guy shooting the bad guy didn't triple-tap,
I'd be looking at 'em funny and wondering what moron trained 'em...
So would the rest of the Vets on the panel
But this town has 7 military bases within an hour's drive, so a "normal" civilian jury
ain't something that happens here
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A gun should be a tool in the hands of a deadly weapon, not a deadly weapon in the hands of a tool.
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Old January 14, 2018, 11:34 AM   #132
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If the case was important enough that both attorneys interviewed prospective witnesses you'd be chucked out, as you should be, you appear to be biased.
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Old January 14, 2018, 11:40 AM   #133
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This one started out with a hypothetical question on a questionable possibility; it has covered numerous other subjects; and with six pages it appears to be going nowhere.

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