Scenario: Attacked On The Trail
This is a discussion on Scenario: Attacked On The Trail within the Carry & Defensive Scenarios forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; If immediately following a rush by twin aggressive, large dogs, a man bum rushes directly at another yellling " I'm going to kill you ," ...
September 8th, 2006 09:55 AM
If immediately following a rush by twin aggressive, large dogs, a man bum rushes directly at another yellling "I'm going to kill you," then one has quite a few facts to back up the action. Shooting to stop an apparent attack. Yes. From his vantage point. Of course, the laws being what they are, it's always a crap shoot. He certainly could have awaited the first blow, the first dog to hit him, though that is a dangerous thing with animals that don't have a simple on/off switch. The thing is, those that draw first blood are highly scrutinized. No two ways about it. His statements to the GJ didn't help, either.
Can't understand what a GJ's expectation is about shooting to wound, vs. shooting to stop, or to kill. It's simply incredulous that someone can expect to squarely hit one's target in a situation like that. This guy happened to do so. But plenty of well-trained folks do not ... often multiple times in a row. He shot at an apparent attacker who yelled "I'm going to kill you." Might not be enough, in this case.
Speaks as much to demeanor and hygeine as anything else. If you're going to have large, athletic animals, do not ever allow them to rush others. Exhuberance might easily be taken for an attack. If you're going to be unkempt, it's better to not go around yelling "I'm going to kill you" to folks you meet on trails, even those who have just defended against an apparent attack by your own unsupervised animals. The dog's owner did nothing to help is own situation, here.
Last edited by ccw9mm; September 8th, 2006 at 10:02 AM.
September 9th, 2006 10:31 AM
10 years for Harold Fish
Fish calls sentence 'terrible miscarriage of justice'
By Max Foster, Roundup staff reporter
Friday, August 4, 2006
Harold Fish will spend the next 10 years of his life in prison unless the Arizona Supreme Court decides a new state law more sympathetic to self-defense applies to his case.
Fish, a 59-year-old retired schoolteacher and father of seven, received the mitigated minimum sentence for second-degree murder yesterday in Coconino County Superior Court in Flagstaff.
For Fish to receive a new trial, the Supreme Court must rule that a new law signed last April by Gov. Janet Napolitano should be retroactive to May 2004 when Fish shot 43-year-old Grant Kuenzli to death at a trailhead north of Strawberry.
Coconino County Superior Court Judge Mark Moran ruled before Fish's trial began that the new law did not apply to the fatal shooting of Grant Kuenzli.
The Supreme Court will decide Sept. 26 if the new state law, which shifts the burden to the state to prove the use of deadly force in self-defense isn't justified, applies to the Kuenzli shooting.
Fish was convicted of second-degree murder in June.
In sentencing Fish, Moran gave him the minimum sentence allowed by law but denied a motion, known as a 603 L, that would have allowed Fish's attorneys to appeal his case to the Arizona State Board of Executive Clemency.
Moran said that in order to allow the appeal to the board of clemency he would need to rule that the length of the sentence was "clearly excessive" and he could not do that.
In handing out the minimum sentence -- state law mandates 10 to 22 years for second-degree murder-- Moran ruled there were several mitigating factors in the case including the fact that Fish was under substantial duress and feared for his own safety.
"I believed you reacted out of fear," Moran said.
The judge also noted that Fish had no criminal history, had been a successful public schoolteacher for 28 years, cooperated with authorities and had strong family, church and community ties.
He called the case one "that gives new meaning to the word ‘tragedy' for both families."
The sentencing of Fish, in front of a courtroom of his friends, family and Kuenzli's sister, Linda Almeter, allowed the former Tolleson High School teacher the opportunity to vividly and emotionally tell for the first time in public what happened on the trailhead the day he shot Kuenzli three times in the chest.
Fish did not take the stand during his trial.
Dressed in prison garb, handcuffed in leg shackles and looking gaunt from his days in jail, Fish -- during a 30-minute speech -- vigorously defended himself.
"I don't think the trial was fair," he said. "I feel that I am innocent and I should not have been convicted.
"If the jury had been given all of the facts, they would not have convicted me."
Fish was speaking of a ruling Moran had made early in the trial that Kuenzli's mental health records, statements from dozens of people describing troubling encounters with him and testimony from a former girlfriend -- who alleged Kuenzli terrorized her -- were not admissible.
Fish also said the guilty verdict was a "terrible miscarriage of justice."
"I told the truth (to investigators)," he said. "My word is precious to me."
Fish claimed the shooting was in self-defense and "there was no doubt in my mind (Kuenzli) was going to kill me."
The shooting took place moments after two dogs under Kuenzli's care charged Fish after he was wrapping up a late-afternoon hike.
Fish said he yelled for the dogs to stop, yelled for Kuenzli to control his dogs, but Kuenzli continued to run towards him yelling obscenities and threats.
"I never took a step toward him, I stepped back until I knew I could not retreat any further," Fish said. "(Kuenzli) never stopped or slowed. His arms were flailing."
There were no witnesses to the shooting which has drawn national attention partly because the National Rifle Association has contributed to Fish's defense fund.
After the trial, jurors said they didn't believe Fish's claim of self-defense, mostly because testimony from a medical examiner indicated Kuenzli's wounds were probably defensive.
He testified that Kuenzli's side was turned toward Fish when the first shot struck him.
NBC's "Dateline" has also followed the case for a future episode which examines the issues of safety in the national forests, dogs running free and the appropriate use of firearms.
October 15th, 2006 08:39 PM
Harold Fish case
Here are more resources for Harold Fish's case:
"Shots fired from one foot away" newspaper article that was posted on another board:
Dateline's "Trail of Evidence" page:
Harold Fish Defense site:
October 17th, 2006 09:33 PM
Mr. Fish did the right thing. I truly believe that if he hadn't been in the news as a "shooter", then he would have been in the news as a "Murder victim found at a remote trail head, police have no suspects". Unfortunately, a jury of his peers didn't feel the same way... What is the saying? Better to be tried by 12 than carried by 6? I have been on several cases as a juror, including two cases involving firearms charges, and it never fails to amaze me how the "sheeple" that make up most jury pools actually think (or don't), and most Prosecuters could give a ***** about anything other than winning the high profile case that will insure they keep climbing the political ladder.
October 18th, 2006 03:32 AM
Prosecutors get "points" for successfully putting someone behind bars. Civilians often get a "charge" out of being part of the process that sinks teeth into violence. It's the whole OMG-it's-a-gun mentality: someone's to blame, thus if someone's left standing it must be that guy. I would almost prefer a tribunal approach rather than a jury approach, given the relative inability of so very many uneducated folks to come to an educated decision about topics that are so frequently above their heads. Then again, judicial systems have had failings for as long as there have been judicial systems. It would be interesting to hear the inside of this one. I'm sure we don't have anywhere near all of the facts.
October 18th, 2006 12:08 PM
Juries scare me. The last jury trial I was on was a case involving an elderly man that was charged with negligent discharge of a firearm. It was alleged that he had fired a shot in the direction of a bulldozer operator, and a second into the air, and had pointed the pistol at and threatened said bulldozer operator. This incident was alleged to have occured because the bulldozer operators 150lb Rottweiler had entered the mans yard. However, the testimony clearly didn't support the DA's case. In fact, many of the prosecution witnesses contradicted each other. The only testimony that never changed in a day and a half was the defendants.
What amazed me the most was the line of thought of the other jurors. I listened to a Fireman (with a CCW) argue for 10 minutes that the guy was guilty because he "brandished his gun"... I had to explain to him that the defendant wasn't charged with "brandishing" and that it is not brandishing when he was standing on his own back porch. Another lady thought that he should have just locked himself inside and ignored the dog, but she was countered by a cat lady who thought he should have shot the dog. One juror couldn't put down his cell phone long enough to even discuss his opinion.
In the end we found the guy not guilt, but only because of myself and the one other juror, who actually understood the charges, were able to explain our side better and convince the other jurors... and of course the fact that the other jurors would rather go home.
October 18th, 2006 08:22 PM
The one thing that truly amazes me about this case is that the jurors were not educated, did not ask questions (they have that right, btw) and still believed that he was at least partially innocent except for the charges. Our country has a jury system for a reason: To remove the concept of letter-of-the-law vs. spirit-of-the-law.
The charge of murder in the 2nd degree is meant to convict seriously cold-blooded killers, not people defending themselves whether their actions to confront the offense were reckless, extreme force, etc. or not. Juries were put into the legal system to allow for the people to not enforce an unpopular or unjust law. It's called jury nullification, juries have the right to not convict someone because it's not called for even if the circumstances have been met enact the charge.
It's appauling that these jurors did not try to have a mind of their own and take a stake in this man's fate. The jurors had the power to be the final safeguard against this man's conviction and failed.
Originally Posted by 2 Elliots Debates, 94, Bancroft, History of the Constitution, 267, 1788
October 18th, 2006 11:03 PM
Juries are made up of fools and idiots(even with video proof , they can still screw up a simple case.) A few actually
2. understand what is being required of them
Yes, some people have common sense, but I fear most juries think with their media outlet other than their common sense.
"In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock." Thomas Jefferson
Nemo Me Impune Lacesset
October 18th, 2006 11:11 PM
While we are on the subject, never trust the jury... they are lead around by the prosecution. Think about it for a minute... who has the time to sit on jury duty? Productive citizens?
Everyone should do so, but reality is they do not. Have your ducks in a row so you avoid the legal system in the first place.
October 19th, 2006 01:00 AM
Not to mention the age and size differential. Even with all that, Mr. Fish was convicted and sentenced to 10 years. Probably due to not being able to keep his mouth shut. The jury at his trial said it was due to the large pistol (10 mm) and his vascillating testimony. No dogs were hurt in this fracas.
Life is too short to be serious!
October 19th, 2006 09:11 AM
This whole case sickens me. Whatever happened to "beyond a reasonable doubt."
Yes, Mr. Fish could have made up a lot of the story, in order to prove his innocence, but juries are supposed to rely on the facts, not hypotheticals.
As far as the one "witness" that heard a gun shot one hour before 911 was called, so what? Someone else could have fired that shot. I'm can't help but think about the movie, "My Cousin Vinny", only with the wrong ending.
Mr. Fish was definitely screwed by innefectual counsel, and I hope he has an appeal filed.
It's amazing that some people do not trust "average" citizens with firearms, but have complete trust in those same citizens to render a verdict in a criminal trial. As for me, I will always consider a no-jury trial. The judge might be an idiot, but at least he knows the law.
By the way, for those of you in states where judges are appointed, my uncle (ex LEO) used to say that the people who are appointed to the bench are usually getting the job as a favor, since they can't make a decent living as a lawyer.
"Each worker carried his sword strapped to his side." Nehemiah 4:18
Guns Save Lives. Paramedics Save Lives. But...
Paramedics With Guns Scare People!
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