This is a discussion on Anti-prosecuters? within the Concealed Carry Issues & Discussions forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Its been a while since I posted on this forum. I came back just to see if there was some interesting issues or posts that ...
July 13th, 2006 01:42 AM
Its been a while since I posted on this forum. I came back just to see if there was some interesting issues or posts that I might think about and ponder. After having read several, I started notice an assumption made by several members about prosecutors and to a certain extent the police. Most of these centered around what could, should, or would happen following the use of a weapon by a CCW holder. There were several posts that assumed that following the shooting, the CCWer would be arrested, charged and then put on trial.
I found this disturbing for a number of reasons. First and foremost, I am a prosecutor and every day I deal with the bottom feeders of society. I can't complain as I went to law school to be a DA. The defendants I deal with are people with little social responsibility, no defintion of right and wrong, and zero future. They do not believe in being law abiding citizens but merely are between one scheme or another, one hit of any number of drugs, or seeing how much welfare they can get via fraud. I love my job because most days I come home with the feeling that I made a difference in the community, that scum is behind bars, innocent people are free, and society is a wee bit safer.
While I can't speak for all jurisdictions, in my opinion, your local prosecutor can be one of your allies. Following a shooting, as has been mentioned, there is going to be an investigation. We all want that. Assume for a moment if the cops just assumed anything or did absolutely nothing. No one would want that either. We as a society want LE to investigate fully and determine what they can figure out whenever violence occurs. Sometimes that violence is justified.
So in this scenario you shoot someone in self defense. The BG is a convicted felon with a record that takes hours to read. Who do you think is going to get the presumption of having done the right thing? It is not the one with holes in him. Just to have a CCW, at least in CA, you can't have a criminal record. So first off, the DA is going to know that the one with holes is a no good POS who got what he deserved. He will probably know that the shooter was a law abiding citizen with no criminal record in defense of self. To be honest, most self defense issues are batantly apparent. BG with knife entering home, BG coming at you with shattered beer bottle, BG yelling, swearing, and wanting to fight you with a hammer. These may seem extreme to you but to a DA, that is the everyday. Many BG's have done this kind of thing before. I had a case where the BG robbed, tied up, and tried to light the victim on fire . BG went south and then came back to kill the victim after the victim had talked to LE. The victim shot him in the head. The victim was never arrested and never charged. I asked my boss about it and he just laughed. It was so clear what had happened. There was not a second thought about charging the shooter.
I am not advocating abandoning your civil rights or doing what you see as being fit. Conform to your training and the laws of your state. I just wanted to correct the assumption that any time you use your weapon in a lawful manner in self defense or defense of others (which is why I assume we all have CCW), that the DA or the cops are going to be a massive jerk and attempt to throw you in jail. I try to put those in jail who belong there and keep out those who either I can't prove did anything or didn't do anything period. I am not looking to prosecute people who are law abiding individuals. In my mind I work for them. Of course this doesn't apply individually but to all CCWers and other law abiding citizens.
I apologize if I feel like I am venting. A lot of times it seems like there is a double standard as far as perception. When you are the victim, you want your DA to get the maximum sentence, fine, and the chair while you are at it. However, if you are arrested and looked at for charges, all of a sudden, even if nothing happens, the DA is the enemy and not the representative of the People.
July 13th, 2006 02:02 AM
I think that sometimes people become paranoid of the law, and base their attitudes on hearsay and the media; instead of educating themselves as to the particular points law that concern us. Remember that the legal system was established to protect the innocent as much as it is to condemn the guilty. Stay within your legal boundaries, and you will be fine.
July 13th, 2006 02:33 AM
There are good prosecutors and bad prosecutors, just as there is good and bad in most things.
Some prosecutors have an anti gun agenda, but where I live in Texas they don't last in office too long in office. Several years ago the Dallas DA who had been in office several Decades prosecuted two citizens for protecting themselves or innocent person after the right to carry law was passed. His political career was ended. Even his friends told him it would be usless to run. He was defeated in the primary, big time.
Most prosecutors I know are pro 2nd Admendment and carry pistols themselves. My best friend was a prosecutor and is now retired. Once several Defense Attorneys were giving him a hard time at the court house about being pro-gun. One of them said to the other attorneys, "I bet you that ****** has an AK in the trunk of his car." My friend lead them out to the trunk of his car where he produced a Folding Stock Norinco Model 84 AK in .223. The liberal attorneys shut their mouths and trooped back in side the court house. Many attorneys I know are pro second admendment and not just prosecutors.
The main thing is, if you have to use Deadly Force or the Threat of Deadly Force, make sure you are within the law of the state you are carrying in. And it helps to know the attitude of the Police and Prosecutors in the land that you travel.
I also know lots of Doctors and most of them are also shooters and hunters, pro second admendment folks, contrary to the opinions of most Liberal Rags and talking heads in this country.
July 13th, 2006 02:33 AM
Although I understand your concerns, and agree that SOME DA's think like you do, I feel obligated to ask you a question regarding this statement...
"I just wanted to correct the assumption that any time you use your weapon in a lawful manner in self defense or defense of others (which is why I assume we all have CCW), that the DA or the cops are going to be a massive jerk and attempt to throw you in jail."
Why in the world, would almost every state in the country, be trying to pass castle doctrine legislation then? It basically says if you shoot someone on your property, that is unlawfully on it, its a justified shoot. But how many DA's in states that don't have that in effect, try to say that somehow a CRIMINAL, that is trespassing on someones lawfully owned property shouldnt get shot at? The whole reason for the legislation is because SO MANY TIMES, a BG, or a BG's family, have gotten away with accusing someone of committing a crime because they shot someone right away that was illegally on their own property! I'm not saying that all DA's are like that, but if that kind of stuff was barely ever happening then there would be no reason to have to come up with new legislation that protects the law abiding citizen from protecting himself. Whether a BG is armed or not, a BG is a BG! I'm going to shoot him!
I realize from your post that you would definitely be the kind of DA I would love to have on my side if anything were to ever happen, but I don't think that you can generalize that "the DA and cops" aren't going to automatically assume that you did something wrong and try to prove it. Thats there job! To find people who break the law, and prosecute them. Although it seems to me, in the case of self-defense, CCW shootings, LE and DA's mouths seem to water the second they get the call. Just my 2 cents though. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion.
July 13th, 2006 02:41 AM
I agree with you, cali-da, but don't be too hard on people for being suspicious of the police or a DA that may decide to charge or prosecute. Here in Phoenix a few years back a man in his 70's was sitting at a red light in his car. In broad daylight, a man approached him cussing, with knife in hand, and opened his car door. The man had a gun in the seat next to him (perfectly legal here in Arizona) and shot the guy right on the spot. Blew his kidney right out of his back. The guy turned and walked off toward the corner where he came from and collapsed. The police came, took his gun, ran the name of the dead guy and found he had a rap sheet that included several car thefts and car jackings. They arrested the elderly man even though all of the witnesses backed up his story. When it came out on the news, the County Attorney said they had not ruled out charging the man in the "crime". After a couple of days, the CA decided they would not prosecute.
I'm not sure what they thought they even might have charged him with or why, but I'm sure the guy was mighty scared about what the future was about to deliver to him. I think they treated the guy wrong, quite frankly. He was not prosecuted, which is good, but I think the CA was posturing for some political reason.
You sound like you have the correct attitude for a DA, but sometimes people are thrust into a bad situation without cause. People don't kill people in self defense everyday. I don't blame them for being concerned or suspicious of what they may be in for, even if they did do the right thing....
Coimhéad fearg fhear na foighde; Beware the anger of a patient man.
July 13th, 2006 02:52 AM
If what you say is true, why is it so hard to get a CCW in California?
Always remember: 3 can keep a secret, if 2 are dead!
July 13th, 2006 08:18 AM
cali-da, I wish my outlook on the system was as positive as yours but hard experience and observation leave me a wee bit jaded about the system. While I was researching CCW I remember following one case of a man who had to fire three shots in a justifiable self defense case. He was eventually found innocent but only after second morgaging his home and cleaning out his life savings and retirement to cover all his legal expenses. I've also seen dishonest and corrupt law enforcement up close and personal enough to scare the proverbial excrement out of me. I'm not saying the whole system and all LE's are corrupt but there's enough there to always leave one a little less than blindly trusting. A little digging around on the subject of self defense and what can happen to the good guy might be an eye opener for you. If the system is so all fired impartial then why do all the legal advisers I've ever talked to tell me that in the unfortunate event that I do have to defend myself I better call a lawyer right after 911 and keep my mouth shut to avoid getting hung out to dry. Thankfully I live in a state now where defending myself, legally, will less likely result in horrific legal bills and years of civil actions but I'm still a bit paranoid of the "system" for good cause.
If you stand up and be counted, from time to time you may get yourself knocked down. But remember this: A man flattened by an opponent can get up again. A man flattened by conformity stays down for good. ~ Thomas J. Watson, Jr.
July 13th, 2006 08:34 AM
cali-da, Thanks for putting an inside prospective on things. Oh, and drop by more often.
EOD - Initial success or total failure
July 13th, 2006 08:41 AM
Thanks for the view from the other side. I know how frustrating it can be when generalized statements are made about ones profession. I do feel that most of us here have a great respect for the law and those that have chosen to serve it. So continue to fight the good fight and let your actions prove that you and many like you are doing what is right.
The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.
July 13th, 2006 09:23 AM
Cali-da, your comments are much appreciated, and, as has been said already, don't be such a stranger! Your perspective on interpretation of the applicable laws would be very helpful in many of our discussions.
An ADA taught the legal aspects portion of the CCW class I attended here in San Antonio, and he was both extremely interesting and extremely effective and conveying the legal ramifications of use of deadly force. I wish there were follow-up seminars on current laws, interprations and cases. I can work on my shooting on my own, but updates and the straight scoop from within the legal system would be very useful.
"We're paratroopers. We're supposed to be surrounded!" Dick Winters
July 13th, 2006 09:46 AM
Unfortunately, in some jurisdictions there are prosecutors who are looking for a Great White Defendant. Does it happen all the time? No. Are all DAs looking to ride a defendant to higher glory? No. But it does happen from time to time.
July 13th, 2006 10:50 AM
VIP Member (Retired Staff)
Cali-da - my thx too for your personal perspective - it is most helpful.
I guess much depends on local jurisdictions and must confess to some quite considerable concern myself re legal ramifications. I sure want to save my butt if under threat of lethal force but at same time, while wanting to live another day - would not relish the remainder of my life being potentially ruined financially.
Probably what registers most with many of us - is those ''worst case'' scenarios where folks get totally screwed following what should have been a safe and legitimate episode.
Chris - P95
NRA Certified Instructor & NRA Life Member.
"To own a gun and assume that you are armed
is like owning a piano and assuming that you are a musician!."
- a portal for 2A links, articles and some videos.
July 13th, 2006 11:36 AM
Originally Posted by mike_1
July 13th, 2006 11:55 AM
Your post and thoughts are most appreciated. Its good to know... however I do share the sentiment with others that there is a "Healthy Dose" of fear of what might be should a CCW holder be unfortunate to land in one of these situations.
I good motto to use is "Plan for the WORST, hope for the Best". If it makes a few trigger happy gun owners pause on what is not a true "Fear of Life" situation, then the mission is accomplished. Some I know exaggerate their fear of motives, and others it is justly warranted. This is very, very subjective however as you said in most of your cases the BG vs. good guy was clear as night and day. A lot of the scenarios posted here leave a great deal of ambiguity if dealdy force would be truly justified and just may very well find themselves in a court room defending their actions while facing charges. This fear makes a more concise exercise of judgement on behalf of the weapon holder.
I have a wife and a daughter... if I ever squeeze a trigger on a perp., there will be no question that he was out to harm me. I do not want to ever give my daughters college money away to a bunch of lawyers for something that should not have occured. Err on the side of caution, fear the ramifications of your split second decision to end a life. In most cases, a split second is all you have... but I know that if that decision was ever wrong, I WILL be judged and me and my family will suffer in more ways than just financially.
You made a great post.
July 13th, 2006 12:41 PM
thanks for your post, and thank you for the service that you provide for the people of California!!
most people probably do not understand the potential income that you have given up to do the job you do...
I was involved in a self defense shooting in the eighties (in PA) never arrested and never charged, (the DA office was a little busy prosecuting a multiple homocide and was not able to make a determination in my case for 45 days.....)
I never got beyond having to consult my atty one time!!
Once again thanks for your sacrifice (financially) and stay safe.
(a lot of us never get to know our prosecutor, even though we often get to elect them to office, maybe we are responsible for some anti's being in office??)
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