Great stuff. Thank you, sir!
This is a discussion on Courtroom Tactics-Defending the Self-Defense Case (Merged) within the Defensive Carry & Tactical Training forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Here's some interesting reading for after the shooting. If anyone is ever involved in a self defense shooting they are going to have an uphill ...
Here's some interesting reading for after the shooting.
If anyone is ever involved in a self defense shooting they are going to have an uphill battle so to speak and this might be a good article to steer your attorney to.
Defending the Self-Defense Case
Cross posting this from another board. It is a very good read. It is geared more toward instructing Lawyers how to and not to defend a gun "Self-Defense" case. Good read in either case:
Defending the Self-Defense Case
Some excerpts (this is a long article):
A self-defense case is fundamentally different from most other criminal prosecutions
Many assumptions about trial tactics are inverted in a self-defense case
Self-defense is all-or-nothing. In order to establish it, the client has to admit being at the crime scene, with a weapon, which he or she used to intentionally harm the aggressor
In one fell swoop, the client has given up alibi and mistaken identity defenses. He or she has given up any claim that the wound was made by accident. Generally, the client must give up provocation (heat of passion or extreme emotional disturbance) Similarly, the client must give up claims of mental illness or insanity and defenses based on intoxication or drug use
The client does not have to be a clean-cut pillar of the community who carries a lawfully-owned firearm in order to qualify for self-defense, but it is helpful
Ideally, the client will also have some formal training in the use of deadly force which will allow the client’s teacher to testify about the client’s training in order to show that the client’s actions were subjectively reasonable. If the client has not had any formal training, counsel may still seek an expert to testify about use of force issues. However, the attorney may encounter difficulty showing that the expert’s opinion is relevant if it was not the basis for the client’s subjective decision
Unfortunately, the most difficult self-defense cases come from clients involved in gang- or narcotics-related homicides and assaults. The client generally has a criminal record for violent offenses; illegally carries a weapon; has a history of problems with the complainant (making it difficult to sort out who was the aggressor); fled from police; discarded the weapon; and made incriminating statements when questioned. The attorney will be very reluctant to put the client on the stand, especially if the client’s record can otherwise be kept out of the case. Experts are often very reluctant to get involved in such cases
Self-defense situations develop very quickly. Bystanders who were not paying attention to the situation may not take notice until after a loud noise or sudden movement. Thus, they may miss important cues that led the client to believe he or she was in imminent danger. Once a weapon has been displayed, weapon focus will cause the witnesses to watch it, and perhaps miss other important events during the incident.
Some authors suggest that the stress-triggered hormones affect the client’s memory, and that a client can provide more accurate statements if he or she waits 24 hours and gets some sleep before giving a formal statement.5 The attorney should ask about the investigating department’s officer-involved shooting policy. If, like New York City, it requires that officers be given 24 hours and bed rest before giving a statement, and the client was pressured to give a statement sooner, the attorney may have good fodder for cross-examination
Be skeptical about testimony by emergency room doctors. A 1994 study showed that hospital trauma specialists misinterpreted the number of gunshot wounds and mis-identified entry and exit wounds in 52.2 percent of cases studied (i.e., slightly worse than if they had guessed randomly)
Things become more complex when a defender attacks an aggressor to protect a third-party. In some states, the defender stands in the shoes of the defendee. If the defendee is, for example, an initial aggressor or involved in mutual combat, then the defender acts at his or her peril
‘Killer’ Bullets and Hair-Triggers
The attorney should research the weapon and ammunition the client used. Ask the client why he purchased and carried that specific weapon. Research its self-defense uses.
The client will be in the strongest position if he or she used a firearm and ammunition similar to that issued to local police departments
Why Was the Client Armed?
Although lawful possession of a weapon is not a formal requirement for self-defense, many court opinions mention the reason the defendant was armed. This is an important question to discuss with the client, especially if the client will testify at trial. If the client armed himself or herself in anticipation of the fight, this can be evidence of premeditated murder. A prosecutor might also argue that bringing a weapon to a confrontation is evidence of mutual combat or that the client was an initial aggressor.
Self-defense or necessity generally will not protect the client from being convicted for unlawful possession of a firearm or other weapon, but the possession charge is a small price to pay for avoiding death or serious bodily harm in a genuine self-defense situation
The right of self-defense is most endangered when it is inadequately defended in cases where the client is unsympathetic, has a long criminal record, or is a gang member or narcotics dealer who defended himself in a quarrel with a rival gang or dealer. Here, courts and police will be most willing to restrict the right of self-defense in an effort to curb urban violence. The decisions in these cases have a long reach and often unforeseen consequences. They affect the ability of law enforcement officers to use force in defense of the communities. They affect the ability of law-abiding citizens who lawfully own and carry defensive weapons to protect themselves, loved ones, and their community. Ultimately, the decisions in these cases affect every citizen in this country.
Excellent post...important points to ponder!
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Excellent article. Worth reading the long version. The specific case citations are helpful.
Thanks for sharing it, kdydak.
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Jon H. Gutmacher's website for you. He quite literally "wrote the book" on Florida firearm law. His book is for sale on his website and I've read it cover to cover half a dozen times already.
If I ever get into a defense situation, he just might be my first call for representation.
"Bravery is the capacity to perform properly even when scared half to death." -- General Omar Bradley
Good post...worth reading!
Last edited by JD; August 5th, 2009 at 11:31 AM. Reason: Issuee addressed, threads merged.
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I'm just one root in a grassroots organization. No one should assume that I speak for the VCDL.
I am neither an attorney-at-law nor I do play one on television or on the internet. No one should assumes my opinion is legal advice.
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On the NACDL web site in the <Champion Magazine> screen, there is a Search utility that finds hundreds of previous articles on all sorts of topics, many of which relate to what we discuss here. Click for search.
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Excellent article that very clearly highlights the potential for variations in the interpretation of the laws and facts related to deadly physical force encounters.
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