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Old February 9, 2012, 03:45 PM   #1
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Not talking to the police and its results

I asked this in the "guide to dealing with the police" thread and it went unanswered, so maybe giving it its own topic will be a better idea.

Does anyone have any documented cases of people shooting someone in self defense and then refusing to talk to the police and how the legal process turned out for them?

It seems like common advice on the internet to recommend that people not talk to the police and ask for your lawyer; but I haven't read anything about it actually being put into practice.

This is a serious inquiry, not a mocking/ joke thread.
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Old February 9, 2012, 03:59 PM   #2
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You need to talk to the police (to a point), meaning you need to call 911 first, reporting you are the victom. This has to be done prior to the bandit beating you to it.

On the police report, you want to be listed as the "victom" not the "suspect".
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Old February 9, 2012, 04:14 PM   #3
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Old February 9, 2012, 05:18 PM   #4
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I am sure it is still the best policy to say as little as needed.
I have a friend in Tennessee who gave the cops basic information and courteously, said he would provide more details with his lawyer present. This occurred several years ago.
There was no problem with the police and he was cleared of any charges.
Another gentleman that I hunted with last year told me that he had said basically the same thing to the police and the cops reacted badly. Took him in, confiscated his gun and put him through the ringer. He was finally cleared but still has not received his gun back after 17 months. This was in PA.
Although, both were cleared, I suppose it’s up to the cop’s reaction to that statement on how it will initially go down.
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Old February 9, 2012, 05:21 PM   #5
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"Officer, that man attacked me with that weapon. I defended myself. I'm pretty upset right now and I want to talk to my lawyer before I say anything else."

If you're arrested and they read you your rights, they always ask, "Do you understand your rights"? The answer is, "No. I don't understand any of this. I want to talk to my lawyer".
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Old February 9, 2012, 05:29 PM   #6
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If you're arrested and they read you your rights, they always ask, "Do you understand your rights"? The answer is, "No. I don't understand any of this. I want to talk to my lawyer".
I like that.
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Old February 9, 2012, 05:37 PM   #7
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The police are not a decision making body. They gather evidence, conduct an investigation and, of course, detain and arrest people. The person who makes the decisions is the Prosecutor. That person will decide which cases press forward and which cases will not. That person will also do such things as negotiate with your attorney or "plea bargain" or they will take you to trial if you decide to plead not guilty.

Lets say you decide to plead not guilty then the next person or persons who will make a decision is either a judge or a grand jury to decide if there is enough evidence to press on. Then if they decide to press on there will be a trial and another judge or jury will determine your fate. The police and their detectives are very experienced at gathering evidence. One piece of evidence is your statements and your answers to their questions. Words can be easily taken out of context and misconstrued. So can body language. So if you make any statements at all then you are providing the Prosecutor with more ammunition or evidence. If you make the wrong moves then that can also be used against you. Therefore, its best to say nothing or as little as possible. Stand or sit still with a straight face and be as peaceful and calm as possible.

That much talked about police report will not matter at trial. The police officer is going to be there and will testify against you. He will repeat back any words you told them. If you say nothing then the officer will not be able to tell the court anything and the case will be based on the evidence they found. The police report might be used to invalidate the officer's statements, but it wont be used for anything more then that.

Go down to any criminal court and view the trials. You will find the Prosecutor oftentimes will take the Defendants statements out of context and use their words against them. So if you say very minimal then they wont have your words to use against you.
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Old February 9, 2012, 06:22 PM   #8
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Happens all the time. Most often in drug deals gone wrong.

Unless it was consensual duel, one of the men was an attacker and the other defender.


Tons of home invasion cases where the home owner refuses to cooperate. Most often drugs are suspected.
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Old February 9, 2012, 06:47 PM   #9
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I will try to explain a few things from the other side of the fence. I have not dealt with a defensive shooting at this point in my career so take it how you want. Not talking and not explaining you side of the story will not be taken in a good light. As an officer, our job is to report what we observed and what we are told by all parties involved. What you tell us, as a victim, is very unlikely to come back in a negative way. However, being un-cooperative can and usually will. I make sure to note in my narrative the attitude of whoever I am speaking with. It is not hard to tell the difference between someone who just did something because they HAD too in order to preserve a life and someone who acted inappropriately. During the time in which I am on scene and taking the report I very rarely read somebody their Miranda rights. It is not required in most cases. If you are being read your rights then you are probably beyond just a consensual interview. At this point it would be more correct to advise the Officer that you are aware of your rights and you would like to speak to a lawyer. There is no reason to be disrespectful or sarcastic in your answer.

The preliminary report is just a starting point of an investigation. The detectives are the ones who will gather more detailed information such as full witness statements/ victim statements/ and suspect statements (if the suspect is still in the "picture"). Crime scene will collect all the evidence and map out the series of events with all sorts of technical jargon that I could not even begin to explain. The District Attorney or Assistant District Attorney are the ones who ultimately decide if they are going to move forward to a criminal trial or not. They base this on the evidence provided by all parties involved.

I am not a lawyer so I can not give legal advise, but I can tell you that if I were in that situation I would be as cooperative and detailed as possible.
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Old February 9, 2012, 07:51 PM   #10
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I first read Masaad Ayoob's little book 22 years ago when I bought my first handgun... and I still think "in the gravest extreme" offers the best advise on how to handle the aftermath of a self defense shooting.
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Old February 9, 2012, 07:53 PM   #11
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This is what my last CHL instructor told us, he is 20 year veteran of a local PD, former homicide detective, and now teaches at one of the local Police Academies.

About 10-12 years ago he got called out to a shooting, home burglary where the homeowner shot and killed the burglar. He (the detective) said from witness reports and all evidence on scene, everything appeared to be cut and dry self defense. When he (the detective) tried to get even a brief statement from the homeowner, all the homeowner would say is, I won't say anything until I talk to my attorney. The detective said he tried numerous times to get a just a "what happened here" brief statement, every time the homeowner said, I won't say anything until speaking to counsel.

What the former detective told us in class, is when the DA asked, what's your opinion on this case, he said, everything from evidence to witness reports look to be cut and dry self defense. BUT, the homeowner wouldn't even give any type of statement, so my gut is telling me he is hiding something.

Well, moral of the story is the homeowner was proven innocent in court, but he (homeowner) ended up costing himself a buttload in attorney and court costs that the former detective said he didn't have to spend. The detective said even a brief statement would have gotten this homeowner no billed and could have slept in his own bed that night.

I know its not first hand experience, but that's my the end of my rant.
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Old February 9, 2012, 08:13 PM   #12
Frank Ettin
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Originally Posted by DasGuy
....Does anyone have any documented cases of people shooting someone in self defense and then refusing to talk to the police and how the legal process turned out for them?...
There really is no good answer. First, much of the initial contact details simply aren't readily available. Second, there are too many factors that will affect how things play out.

In any case, there's an open thread in which this general subject is being discussed, so let's keep everything in one place.

This thread is therefore closed.
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