This is a discussion on Armed Citizen Legal Defense Foundation? within the Concealed Carry Issues & Discussions forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Originally Posted by BRTCP88 I don't know, couldn't that be twisted as premeditation by an overzealous, anti-gun prosecutor? Wouldn't that thought apply to anyone who ...
Retired USAF E-8. Avatar is OldVet from days long gone. Oh, to be young again.
Paranoia strikes deep, into your heart it will creep. It starts when you're always afraid... "For What It's Worth" Buffalo Springfield
I’ve been procrastinating as well. I’m still rooting around for a good ‘business card’ to have handy in the unlikely event I have to say… ‘I was in fear for my life, and I request an attorney’. Heaven forbid, but that potential is certainly a reality.
Unlike LEO's who have the support and coverage by their agency, we’re simply common people with everything to lose, so it only makes good business sense to have a reference. The shock and stress combined with the legal and civil exposure following a shooting, is downright scary to imagine. Most likely, we won’t be thinking rationally, which makes this often ignored preparatory step quite important.
Thanks for another sobering reminder...
“Monsters are real and so are ghosts. They live inside of us, and sometimes they win.”
~ Stephen King
I looked in to the ACLDF about a year ago. My problem with it is that you have to join and pay first. Possibly only to find out there are no attorneys available in your area. Why would anyone want to do that?
I think the basic idea is very good, but the implementation is lacking.
I can understand why they don't want to give out names for free. All they would have to do is list the localities (city, town) and states where attorneys are available. Then, once you join you can access more detailed information.
Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other"
Disclaimer right up front so there's no confusion: Marty Hayes, the idea man behind the ACLDN, is a close friend and mentor of mine. I take an occasional paycheck from him when I work as an instructor through the Firearms Academy of Seattle, and he takes an occasional paycheck from me as a regular contributor to Concealed Carry Magazine, where I am the managing editor. So I am hardly unbiased.
I have watched the Network form from the very beginning, when it was just an idea Marty was kind of kicking around until today when they have well over a thousand active members with many more joining every day. And even if Marty were not a good friend of mine, I would have joined the Network at the earliest possible opportunity -- and I have done everything in my power to encourage others to do so too.
First, let's explain what the ACLDN is not. It is not simply a list of attorneys. It is not a pre-paid legal scheme. And it is not intended to replace legal insurance which you can obtain from other sources. These are all misconceptions that need to be cleared away. If all you are looking for is a list of attorneys or a little insurance, look elsewhere.
What the ACLDN is, is a Network of gun owners, firearms trainers, legal experts, and lawyers committed to helping you avoid the worst legal consequences of necessary self-defense. Some of this includes financial resources (more on that in a bit), some includes attorney referrals, but that's hardly all the ACLDN does. Its primary goal is to protect its members throughout every contact they have or might anticipate with the legal system, starting from before the member ever uses the firearm for self-defense.
Toward that end, one of the benefits of joining the Network is a heavy emphasis on education. You get immediate access to legal education resources, including several CDs that walk you through some important legal questions related to self defense. To my way of thinking, the education on these CDs is alone worth the cost of the initial membership fee (although to be brutally honest, the presentation on the first CD is a bit dry, the material is pure gold).
You also get significant discounts to excellent firearms training schools around the country. Again, this is part of the effort to reduce the worst consequences of using a firearm in self-defense: with good training, you are far less likely to make the wrong decisions under stress or to injure or kill an innocent party.
The Network bookstore also offers some great resources to members and non-members alike, but members get a nice little discount on those resources. Again, the goal is to educate the members to help them avoid serious legal problems after a shooting.
After a shooting, the ACLDN gives an immediate, up-front $5000 to the member. That money is intended to supply the initial payment to a lawyer and help fund the cost of a private investigator or other resources the lawyer might need before the case has even become a case yet. At the same time, Network experts (including Massad Ayoob, Marty Hayes, and several other experienced expert witnesses) are on tap to assist the member's lawyer in presenting reasons NOT to charge the member with any crime. While this initial activity might sound insignificant, the truth is that the sooner you can get your attorney truly working on your situation, with lots of available resources on tap, the less likely you are to be charged, the less likely the case is to go to trial, and the more likely you are to walk away with minimal legal or financial consequences for your justifiable act of self-defense.
By the way, this initial funding starkly separates the Network from other sources of legal funds because this money is given to the member before the case goes to trial. Most other sources, including insurance, actually reimburse the shooter after he or she is found innocent. In those cases, if you don't have money up front to spend, you are still out of luck because lawyers don't necessarily wish to gamble their income on obtaining that "not guilty" verdict -- and without the verdict, there is no payout. In most cases, there's no financial assistance available for the expenses related to avoiding trial in the first place.
If it becomes apparent that the case will be going to trial, or if expenses mount beyond that initial $5000, the member has the right to appeal to the Foundation for additional funds, up to and including the entire cost of the trial. The funds available in the Foundation depend on the size of the Network, since a percentage of every membership fee gets fed into the Foundation (and now you know why I'm self-servingly encouraging lots of other people to join the Network -- I want the Foundation to have really deep pockets!).
Funding from the Foundation isn't automatic. In order to guard against frivolous uses of member money, and to avoid paying for legal defense in unrighteous shooting, the Foundation board scrutinizes the shooting and approves the disbursement. Right now, board members include Massad Ayoob, John Farnam, Tom Givens, Dennis Tueller and Network officers Marty Hayes and Vincent Shuck (who are both ex officio members). If these very experienced experts in self-defense believe that the shooting was righteous, the Foundation will jump in with a grant to pay the member's legal fees and other expenses.
In addition to that, the Network will pay in full for an expert to review the case file of a member who is being unmeritoriously prosecuted or who is facing civil law suit, and make recommendations to that member's attorney.
This is already too long, but hopefully cleared up some of the misconceptions above.
To answer a few points more directly:
Every bit of education you receive through the Network will be directed to helping you obey the laws related to self-defense, and avoid harming or killing someone whom you would not be utterly justified in shooting. The educational materials you receive could (and probably would) be admissible in court, if presented in the right way to the judge, and this would help establish your good-guy mindset. It certainly would not hurt you in court to show that you did everything in your power to learn the laws related to self-defense in your state, and did your best to obey them.I don't know, couldn't that be twisted as premeditation by an overzealous, anti-gun prosecutor?
"Why did you join this organization if you didn't plan on killing Mr. ___?"
Yes -- but they pay out after the case has gone to trial, and provide no money to help you avoid trial in the first place. They provide no money up front and if you don't have the resources to pay for your attorney fees or independent investigations or experts out of pocket, you won't be able to hire a good & appropriate lawyer or access those resources in the first place. Further, they pay out only after you have a verdict of "not guilty," which means that if you are financially forced to throw in the towel and plead to some lesser charge just to get the whole thing out of your lap, you'll never see a dime.Doesn't the NRA and GOA provide help with legal fees like this?
Again, that's not really their primary purpose anyway. The attorney list is just icing on the cake.I also don't like that they won't let you see if there's a lawyer in your state before joining. I could pay eighty-five bucks and then find out there aren't any affiliated lawyers in my area, or even my state.
Hope this helps.
My website: Cornered Cat
Take a deep breath everyone, and relax. I'll explain about the attorneys. If, after that explanation, the ACLDN is not for you, then no hard feelings.
First off PAX, thank-you for taking the time to explain the Network. No need for me to re-hash.
About the attorney list.
We started the list as a way to allow our members to contact a local attorney, IF we had an affiliated attorney who shared our vision, to hook up with them before an incident, to see if they were a good fit with the background of the member. We have never expected to be the attorney supply store for hundreds of thousands of people. In order to actually be able to satisfy that need, we would have to have 2 or 3 attorneys on board for each county bar association, for each state in the union. Literally thousands of attorneys.
Here is the bottom line. The attorney you choose to defend you in court if you are wrongfully charged with a criminal act is intensly personal, and you should not accept someone else's recommendation without doing your own due dilligence. If you simply want any old attorney supplied for you, then I would strongly recommend joining Pre-paid Legal. Part of the contractual agreement with them is an attorney. Of course, it may be a divorce attorney who has never even held a gun in their hand, but that is the chance you take.
Every person who carries a gun for self-defense needs to take the extra step of finding a local attorney they can call in the middle of the night, when the BG comes through the front door and you are forced to shoot. If you are a member of the Armed Citizens' Legal Defense Network, we will pay the first $5,000 of his or her fees. But, we are not prepared to find your attorney for you.
As far as not joining up if you can't see our meager list of attorneys, well, I guess we will miss you. You see, the attorneys who have joined the Network do not necessariliy want to announce to the world their interest in guns, and self-defense with guns. For the same reasons you all use forum names, instead of your own. You want to remain anonymous, and we respect that for our attorneys too. They have agreed to allow our members contact them, but not the whole world.
BTW, when you do take upon yourself to locate that attorney in your local area, please forward to me his or her name, and I will be glad to contact them and see if they want to join the Network.
Marty Hayes, President
Armed Citizens' Legal Defense Network, Inc.
Glad to see you here, Marty.
Thank you for the service, ACLDN. I hope it continues to grow as word spreads of the quality, dedicated people you have as part of the Network. The list has been of great value to me, as part of the search for a competent, well-regarded attorney who is skilled in the area of defending self-defense / affirmative defense cases. As you indicate, the "list" is simply one resource to assist in the search.
Another valuable element of joining the ACLDN is the video set, covering numerous concepts and suggestions regarding being armed to defend oneself and one's family. Pax mentions these, and they are truly worth the price of admission, alone.
pax; Thanks for a very informative post on something I have been wondering about for some time now. After reading that I think you have recruited another member
Thanks Marty & Pax for clearing up all the questions that I have had for a long time. You have recruited another member, as I just faxed my application in and joined. This seems like the right thing for me.
IF YOU STAY READY, YOU AIN'T GOT TO GET READY
I am located in North Carolina, I was just informed through an email by the Armed Citizen Legal Defense Network(Gila Hayes) that they have not contacted a qualified attorney in NC as of yet.
I just checked out the web site again. It now has all the information I was looking for the first time I accesssed it about a year ago, but none of that good stuff was there at the time. So I just wrote it off.
A big thanks to Pax (and Marty) for putting here what should have been on the ACLDN's web site before.
Now I know what the organization is REALLY about, and it makes a lot of sense!
Sorry for the negativity of my first post...
Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other"