July 13th, 2008 11:39 PM
Legal trouble for forum members
This just occured to me because I was fixing to post a reply to a thread about racking the slide on a shotgun to give an intruder a "warning" so to speak. My problem is not the thread but with my answer....what if someone did break in my home and I shot them, could my answer to that thread or any of the others I've posted replys to be used by a prosecuting attorney against me. If so, am I
shooting myself in the foot, sorry for the pun, by answering these types of threads.
July 13th, 2008 11:43 PM
How would anyone know who you are? How could any attorney proved that it was you behind a computer that posted a response to a particular thread? In my opinion, you have nothing to worry about.
July 13th, 2008 11:47 PM
HK, this comes up every once in a while, and I, personally, do not believe it is an issue. I was going to start a thread about stuff said on the internet being used as evidence, but I found one back in November that got pretty heated so I refrained.
I have searched and searched the internet for countless hours trying to find 1 single case where they allowed an answer to a hypothetical question by a defendant prior to a crime/trial to be used as evidence, and couldn't find anything. At all. Much less a hypothetical question answered on an online forum where identity and state of mind cannot be verified beyond a reasonable doubt.
They can't use prior convictions as proof of motive or predisposition, so I don't see how they could use an answer to a hypothetical situation, where the mind set of the person typing, is not known. Hence, I am drinking a beer right now, am I qualifed to say what I would do sober? I think my attorney could prove I am not. But that's not the point. How many people have cookies enabled? Do you clear your cookies every time you walk away from the computer, and retype all of your passwords? Nope, me either. Could I access your computer and use your username? Yep. Can our posts be edited by admin? Yep. Could somebody get access to your username and password, or crack it? Yep. Could I be drunk or on drugs or have any other mental condition when I answer a post? Yep. Could I have a fantasy life on the internet and use a fake personality to answer questions? Yep.
It goes on, and on, and on...Could the prosectors find stuff I had written? Absolutely...could they prove beyond a reasonable doubt that I, personally wrote it and prove my state of mind when I wrote it? I don't think so.
In any case, I don't believe an answer to a hypothetical situation could even be entered into evidence. The only hypothetical quesitons that are usually allowed are in regards to expert testimony.
While anything is possible, I sincerely doubt this would be a concern...especially in Texas.
Just my .02.
July 13th, 2008 11:47 PM
Well, I would think that it depends on what and how you post. If you come off as some gun crazy yahoo, then your posts can be used against you.
Originally Posted by HKtexas
If you post with common sense and a commitment to self-defense and firearm safety, you should have no problem.
"[A]rms discourage and keep the invader and plunderer in awe, and preserve order in the world as well as property. . . Horrid mischief would ensue were the law-abiding deprived of the use of them."
- Thomas Paine, Thoughts On Defensive War, 1775
July 13th, 2008 11:48 PM
If the prosecutor wants you, he'll likely use what color your underwear was before and after the shooting. If it's a good shoot in self-defense - especially if a BG breaks into your home - I wouldn't worry too much about it. To quote Dirty Harry, "When a naked man is chasing a woman through an alley with a butcher knife, I figure he isn't out collecting for the Red Cross." If a guy breaks in, he's not there to watch TV, hence the Castle Doctrine in many states. Let the prosecutor deal with that.
Last edited by Captain Crunch; July 14th, 2008 at 12:53 AM.
Reason: Edited a language workaround.
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July 14th, 2008 12:23 AM
Wow! Great post. Well articulated and well thought out.
Originally Posted by Kerbouchard
It is surely true that you can lead a horse to water but you can't make them drink. Nor can you make them grateful for your efforts.
July 14th, 2008 12:33 AM
It's a moot point in Texas If somebody breaks in your house uninvited he just volunteered to be target practice
"Outside of the killings, Washington has one of the lowest crime rates in the country,"
--Mayor Marion Barry, Washington , DC .
July 14th, 2008 12:58 AM
Either the facts support a good shoot or they don't.
"If we loose Freedom here, there's no place to escape to. This is the Last Place on Earth!" Ronald Reagan
July 14th, 2008 01:02 AM
Same in NC, if some breaks into your home you have every right to fire.
Originally Posted by dukalmighty
Mixed Martial Arts Record= 2-0.......Kyokushin Karate Record=5-0
USMC.....helping enemies of America die for their countries since 1775
July 14th, 2008 01:17 AM
Surely you jest............just how many of us do you reckon they'd subpeona for witnesses?
what if someone did break in my home and I shot them, could my answer to that thread or any of the others I've posted replys to be used by a prosecuting attorney against me.
July 14th, 2008 01:20 AM
July 14th, 2008 02:55 AM
Thanks for all the detailed and informative replys, I wasn't sure if that subject had ever been addressed before. I guess the odds are astronomical and I am lucky enough to live in Texas.
July 14th, 2008 05:18 AM
Originally Posted by QKShooter
The only time I see posting in a forum as court evdence is if you actuallyplanned a crime with details being posted online or posted details after the fact of an incident that could be used.
Far as knowing who we are on the forum well thats easy once the computer is seized and examined and a persons forum name is uncovered a court order can be issued to the forum for further details on that person. Also remember computers very seldom truly delete things totally one of the jobs of a examiner is to undelete evidence.
But I feel QKShooter is correct in all of his above statements and I have seen this forum take very good care in helping members from posting things not in our own best interests or that of the forums.
Also be advised I'm not a legal attorney and nothing in my post is to be ment as legal advice, always check with an atorney for true legal advice.
Last edited by Craiger; July 14th, 2008 at 02:05 PM.
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July 14th, 2008 06:33 AM
Let me preface my comment also that this is an opinion, and in no way should be construed as legal advice.
I believe there have been instances where prior written information, or even private phone calls and memos as to "state of mind" have been used successfully to prosecute crimes. With the FISA law enacted by this administration, which makes it legal to subpoena telecom companies for private information to be made available to prosecutors, I think it may not be a stretch for any Internet forum to be forced to divulge who it's members are, along with their signon information, if the authorities needed more information.
While highly unlikely, I would be sure to preface any hypothetical discussions that they are, as such, just that!
"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch; Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote."
-- Benjamin Franklin
July 14th, 2008 06:37 AM
I know one thing for sure, if the dirtbag who breaks into my home was reading any threads from this forum, the prosecutor will probably not be able to interview him.
Stay armed...stay outta' my house (uninvited)...stay safe!
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