This is a discussion on Harold Fish conviction overturned within the In the News: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly forums, part of the The Back Porch category; ...
A man, let's call him US Citizen A, is hiking in an area, let's call it The United States of America, and he is approached and then advanced on in an attacking way by a man and 2 dogs.
Man A ( US Citizen A) retrieves his pistol, and I am assuming US Citizen A is not a felon and has no restrictions put on his owning said firearm, and fires a "shut up dogs" shot and then fires at Man B who is advancing and attacking him. Man A kills the raging stranger as a result of trying to "stop the threat" and he winds up not only in jail, but prison for 3 years?
I am finding it hard to believe this happened in a state of the United States.
"Don't hit a man if you can possibly avoid it; but if you do hit him, put him to sleep." - Theodore Roosevelt
And you know that how?A man, let's call him US Citizen A, is hiking in an area, let's call it The United States of America, and he is approached and then advanced on in an attacking way by a man and 2 dogs.
What evidence is there that an unarmed man 'attacked' him?Man A ( US Citizen A) retrieves his pistol, and I am assuming US Citizen A is not a felon and has no restrictions put on his owning said firearm, and fires a "shut up dogs" shot and then fires at Man B who is advancing and attacking him. Man A kills the raging stranger as a result of trying to "stop the threat" and he winds up not only in jail, but prison for 3 years?
I am not siding for or against Fish. I read much of the public literature, including excerpts from the transcripts. It was never clear exactly what happened but there were many issues that cast significant doubt in Fish's story.
I am not yet up to speed on why the conviction was overturned and with all the back slapping and high fives here no such information has yet been posted.
My initial assessment was that he was guilty of manslaughter. Only time wil tell what the final outcome will be. I do wish him the best and I know many have fought valiantly (and successfully) in his defense.
I do think it is problematic that a someone can appeal a guilty verdict, and appeal, and appeal, virtually forever but if someone is found not guilty a single time all further inquiry is closed.
I find it hard to believe that Joe Horn walks free in the United States of America.I am finding it hard to believe this happened in a state of the United States.
SD, is there anything you discuss without bringing up Joe Horn?
Lets hope Mr. Fish gets a premium settlement from AZ for his confinement.
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Do you have anything to contribute concerning Fish? I hope we are all going to rehash the incident because there is much to be learned.
I would assume the conviction was overturned because Fish's attorney was inept, not only through practice but his health was failing while he worked for Mr. Fish as well. Sadly, justice is not always able to be totally equal in all circumstances.
I think the burden is on the DA to prove that Mr. Fish was reckless in his discharge of the firearm on his alleged attacker. I have yet to see a single shred of evidence that indicates that Mr. Fish was acting rashly or that anything he said could reasonably be taken as dishonest.
Granted, none of us were there, so we have to depend on the basic functions of "after-the-fact" work.
There were several reasons why the conviction was overturned, among them:
1. The prior violent acts and personality of the deceased was withheld from the jury. That would've given creedence to Mr. Fish's self-defense claim about how he feared for his life.
2. The jury was not instructed properly on what constitutes an "attack", even after they ASKED for clairification during their deliberations.
3. The prior aggressiveness of the dogs was also withheld.
Read it yourself, and see the blatant, convict-at-any-cost attitudes of the prosecuter and judge. Absolutely shameful. I live in the county this farce of a trial happened in, and I'm thrilled to see the appeals process slap down our pathetic little kangaroo court.
I would note that oft quoted phrase 'fear of my life' has no legal standing in the Arizona statutes.
I 'fear for my life' every time I see some punk weaving in and out of traffic. Can I shoot him dead?
When you’re wounded and left on Afghanistan’s plains,
And the women come out to cut up what remains,
Just roll to your rifle and blow out your brains,
And go to your God like a soldier.
Adding to BillR's concise summary, the judge who wrote the reversal opinion added his own slap in the face to the prosecution by twice referring to the "sanitized" testimony about the dead guy's reputation. He also mentioned in 2 or 3 places that although "this" or "that" reason was not specifically a cause to reverse the court's decision, those reasons were well worth bringing up in the course of a new trial.
Two items remain as of late Weds evening are first, whether Gov Brewer will sign the "retroactivity" bill into law. This was raised twice before in the legislature, and both times forger gov. Napolotano vetoed it. The burden-of-proof in self-defense cases was shifted from the state to the accused for two years, and harold Fish was caught in that unfortunate time warp. If Gov Brewer signs the current bill into law, it further weakens the state's case. The second is whether the AG will pursue a new trial; he may decide in light of the change in the law to not go to trial a second time, which would be a huge success for Fish.
Mel MacDonald who served as Fish's original defense attorney made some obvious mistakes, but they may have been related to his health problems at the time. Although Fish has new attorneys, another attorney in the original firm was primarily responsible for the successful appeal.
That is great ! Watched a documentary on Tv recently about it and was Shocked. Hope he won t stop carrying!
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However, the law which is hopefully going to be fixed (which applies in the Fish case) is not specifically about a criminal act, it's about whether the defendant or the state has the burden of proof to prove self-defense case.