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Old December 19, 2008, 12:17 AM   #51
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I posted this in another thread and feel its probably best to go here as well. I posed a question at the end of the original post. What if this where a law enforcement officer or park ranger in the same scenario? Would the result have been different?

There is one key difference between law enforcement and the CCW holders.

The difference is that the law enforcement officers have an experienced set of attorneys and the trust of the court system/general public. They have recorders and video cam setups to provide as evidence to protect themselves against lawsuits. They are experienced and trained at testifying in a court of law and being questioned by defense attorneys. The officer has been to court many times and knows the procedures. etc.

The CCW holder, on the other hand, has none of this. No experience, no training, no set of experienced attorneys, no cameras...

The one thing a CCW holder can do is to get training. There are many NRA courses out there that are available. Lets say you do get involved in an incident, then you can say that you did receive training and that will make you look like more of a good guy then a cowboy.

If Harold Fish took this one course, he probably would not be in jail today...

The NRA Basics of Personal Protection Outside The Home Course is both comprehensive and intensive in its approach to equip the defensive shooting candidate with the skills needed to survive serious adversity. The course teaches students the knowledge, skills and attitude essential for avoiding dangerous confrontations and for the safe, effective and responsible use of a concealed pistol for self-defense outside the home. Students have the opportunity to attend this course using a quality strong side hip holster that covers the trigger, or a holster purse. From a review of safe firearms handling and proper mindset to presentation from concealment and multiple shooting positions, this course contains the essential skills and techniques needed to prevail in a life-threatening situation.

The NRA Personal Protection Outside the Home is divided into two levels (basic and advanced). Level one is a nine-hour course and offers the essential knowledge and skills that must be mastered in order to carry, store, and use a firearm safely and effectively for personal protection outside the home. Upon completion of level one, students may choose to attend level two, which is an additional five hours of range training and teaches advanced shooting skills. After the classroom portion, students should expect to spend several hours on the range and shoot approximately 100 rounds of ammunition during level one. Level two involves five additional hours on the range and approximately 115 rounds of ammunition. The ammunition requirements are minimum and may be exceeded. Students will receive the NRA Guide to the Basics of Personal Protection Outside The Home handbook, NRA Gun Safety Rules brochure and the appropriate course completion certificates(s), NRA Basic Personal Protection Outside The Home (identifies strong-side hip holster or purse use) certificate, NRA Advanced Personal Protection Outside The Home certificate, and Lesson Plan (print 11-06).

The NRA Basics of Personal Protection Outside The Home participants in this course must be at least 21 years of age and possess defensive pistol skills presented in the NRA Basics of Personal Protection In The Home Course. Participants must also understand the basic legal concepts relating to the use of firearms in self-defense, and must know and observe not only general gun safety rules, but also those safety principles that are specific to defensive situations. Prospective participants can demonstrate that they have the requisite knowledge, skills, and attitudes by producing an NRA Basic Personal Protection In The Home Course Certificate, or by passing the pre-course evaluation.

Note: The Lesson III of the Personal Protection In and Outside The Home courses Firearms and the Law, and Legal Aspects of Self-Defense is conducted by an attorney licensed to practice law within the state in which this course is given and who is familiar with this area of the law, a Law Enforcement Officer (LEO) who possesses an intermediate or higher Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) certificate granted within the state, or an individual currently certified to instruct in this area of the law by the state in which this course is presented.

NRA Certified Instructors may conduct this lesson only if they meet the requirements stated above and then only in their capacity as an attorney, or other state certified individual not in their capacity as an NRA Certified Instructor.
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Old December 19, 2008, 02:48 AM   #52
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this is sad. what a waste of jail space. heres a good man who shot someone under mare than questionable circumstances and hes put in jail right next to worthless scum
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Old December 19, 2008, 08:22 AM   #53
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Here is what I see:

1) no witnesses. It is his word only and no one else can say "I was there and here is what I saw"

2) the case went to trial because family of the deceased and a friend of the deceased said "he was a good man and wouldn't hurt anyone"

3) Records of random violent behavior towards others who angered him or crossed him in any way were barred from court

It sounds to me like this case was based on heresay and emotion on part of close relatives and a friend as sated in point #2.

4) prosecution used ad-hominem against the defendant saying he was fearful and irrational in his shooting yet defense was not allowed to do the same to the deceased

If you ask me the judge should be thrown out, the jurors told to go back to school, and Mr. Fish should go back to hiking in the wilderness with a full auto 10mm MP10 given to him free of charge by the gov. (tongue in cheek here) It was a good shoot and by all accounts when the police said "It was clear self defense" there was no other evidence to suggest otherwise. All it took was for some vengeful sister and a friend to call him a murderer. :barf:
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Old December 19, 2008, 12:38 PM   #54
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so those of you saying you should carry the same thing the local PD carries are saying that its wrong to carry a gun that will do what its intended for just because some prosecutor might say its to big?
Nope, nobody says that. What is said is that carrying the same gun/ammo as the local PD tends to shut down a potential area of attack, and that carrying unusual guns/ammo opens a potential area of attack.

All it took was for some vengeful sister and a friend to call him a murderer.
Plus a story that really didn't seem to make much sense the way he told it. Plus the findings of the medical examiner that also raised more than a few questions. Plus a few other things. Not to say he was guilty of anything, but let's be honest about the case.
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Old December 19, 2008, 06:19 PM   #55
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Hard to know what happened. Dead bodies provide lots of evidence -- That's basic forensics. There seem some real inconsistencies in testimony from Fish. It's hard to believe the jury could view this "beyond a reasonable doubt."
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Old December 19, 2008, 07:56 PM   #56
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Worth a listen.

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Old December 19, 2008, 08:23 PM   #57
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There seem some real inconsistencies in testimony from Fish.
How can that be? He didn't testify at his trial. Or are you referring to supposed inconsistencies in statements he (foolishly, IMHO) made to the police?

Fact is, in the immediate aftermath of a shooting, your faculties are probably not entirely intact. Further, the nature of human memory is that recollections evolve/change over time, and it's quite common for witnesses' statements to reflect this. Fish should never, ever have gone on record with the police before he had engaged competent legal representation.

What probably doomed him from the very beginning was inhaving to assert an affirmative defense with no corroborating witnesses. He had an uphill battle, made all the more difficult by a prosecutor intent on manipulating a gullible jury poorly versed in technical firearms issues, and was poorly represented to boot.
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Old December 19, 2008, 10:38 PM   #58
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Isn't it true that by using an affirmative defense, such as self defense, you assume the burden of proof? I really don't know for sure if that is only in some states or not at all. If that is indeed the case, then he needed to do far better than beyond a reasonable doubt. However, I really don't know, but would like to, if a lawyer wants to chime in.
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Old December 19, 2008, 10:54 PM   #59
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WEEDWHACKER: Thank you, and ditto!!
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Old December 19, 2008, 11:53 PM   #60
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An important fact:

DAs' and prosecutors' performance is based mostly on their conviction rate percentage. This means that if they think that they can convict you, they'll sure as heck try.

They don't care about the spirit of the law. They care about the letter of the law. They don't care whether the law is wrong, or whether it really shouldn't apply in a certain case. If they can convict you and up their conviction rate, you WILL be prosecuted.

With regard to the fish case, the law he broke was later changed, which in essence proves that it was wrong. Did the prosecutors know this ahead of time? Of course. Did they care? Hmmph.

The irony is this:
Law-abiding citizens who happen to end up as defendants tend to plead Not Guilty because (shocker!) they believe they aren't. Now get this: real sleazebag criminals will plead guilty to a minor offense (plea agreement) because (another shocker) they know they're guilty. And (drum roll) defendants who cop a plea get LESS time than those who put up a defense!
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Old December 20, 2008, 07:11 AM   #61
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Two videos from a law professor and a former police officer demonstrating that even innocent people shouldn't talk to the police.
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Old December 20, 2008, 02:05 PM   #62
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There were some inconsistencies with Fish's statements in the case. These were minor, but enough to make the jury second-guess Fish.

For example, Fish made a statement to the police about what the attacker was yelling at him. Then during later statements to the grand jury and during other interviews, he fumbled and didnt seem to recall what the attacker had said to him exactly.

Fish might not have been lieing, but sometimes over a period of time we tend not to recall all the facts or the facts get changed in our memory. Most of us cant recall exactly what was said to us, who we talked to or exactly what we did a few days ago.

Thus we get back to making statements to the police. You shouldnt make statements to police without an attorney.

As well, you should be taking your own personal notes in great detail to everything said and that happened knowing that you might have to recount what had occurred months later in a court or in front of a grand jury. Any statements made to the police, with the consent of your attorney, you should make your own personal recording.
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Old January 12, 2009, 05:50 PM   #63
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I actually remember this case from the media when it was going on.

Let me say, first and foremost, I do not believe that Harold Fish should have been convicted! I think the original law, requiring him to prove himself innocent vs. the prosecutor having to prove him guilty was wrong if not unconstitutional.

However, there are a couple of points not mentioned or developed well in the article.

The first was the time frame. Fish claimed that the incident happened at 6:30. He went to the nearest road to get help and a motorist used his Onstar system to call for help. (The area was too remote for cell phones.) 911 got the call at 6:40. Neighboring campers then said that they heard the gunshots at 5:30. After that, Fish claimed to have put his backpack under the guy's head to make him more comfortable (he did) and supposedly stuck around for a while to try to administer first aid in order to explain the hour delay.

The next problem was that the more Fish was interviewed, the more his story changed. And in each case the changes made the story a stronger, more cut-and-dried case for self defense.

And the final problem was Harold Fish! Even though he didn't testify, he was very fond of telling his side of the story to reporters. And he came across as an arrogant ass. This is probably how a jury, who never heard him testify, came to the conclusion that he felt no remorse. I can remember watching a couple of these sound bites, wanting him to win his case, and thinking that the man was hanging himself by not keeping his mouth shut! His theme was pretty much the same every time, "I'm too important and well respected to be convicted for shooting a bum."

Anyway, I hope he gets out soon.
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Old January 12, 2009, 06:06 PM   #64
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I think this is a good example for when we discuss issues and the cliche of: If it's a good shoot, you don't have to worry about XY or Z equipment issues.

If you go to trial, like Mr. Fish - it isn't a good shoot and you will worry about equipment issues.
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Old January 12, 2009, 07:47 PM   #65
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I think Mr. Fish should have used the walking stick he had with him to ward off the dogs. Instead he went to his gun and escalated the situation IMO. Bottomline to me is: Don't draw unless it is the very last resort. I believe as the jury did that he overreacted and so a man was dead because of it.
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Old January 12, 2009, 10:30 PM   #66
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He lost his temper and got angry. BAD. You have to remain composed and not loose your cool. I think he messed up. You just cant shoot unarmed people. Who knows what really happened. He was jacked up with adrenalin because of the dogs and lost his cool. Bad call. He should not have shot.
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Old January 13, 2009, 12:12 PM   #67
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I'm glad this thread was started because watching this story on TV really confirmed my thoughts on CCW.

People should never trust the police and especially the DA.

I don't care what the internet commando's say, you stand a good chance of serving hard time if you kill an unarmed perp. Is it worth it? After 20 years of imprisonment do you honestly think you would be proud of not taking a beating?

If you must use deadly force on an unarmed man, don't leave an unarmed body.

Mr. Fish had way to much arrogance and ignorance.

This is the system we live in, it sucks and it is unconstitutional but the average juror is an idiot. You don't want 12 morons determining your fate.
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Old January 13, 2009, 12:21 PM   #68
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If you must use deadly force on an unarmed man, don't leave an unarmed body.
1. That is bad advice as modern forensics will easily figure out a 'drop' weapon.

2. Suggesting an illegal action, like faking a crime scene and your actions, is not acceptable here.

Nothing more to be added, so I'm locking it.
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