To Speak or Not to Speak


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CAS700850
January 6, 2006, 03:43 PM
I'm aiming this at the other lawyer types on THR, but welcome everyone's input, as everyone else could be in the position of a juror in a case such as this.

Scenario: You're at home with the family. Door is kicked in. Two masked men with weapons. You draw and fire. Two dead men in your front hallway. Call 911. Police arrive. You holster up or lay down the gun as the police arrive, and point it out to the officers so it can be secured as evidence. Now, there are two questions you will be asked at some point in this investigation.

1. Will you give us consent to process the scene/search the area/search the home?

2. Will you give us a statement about what's happened here?

For the lawyers, what do you advise on these questions. The easy answer is (1) get a warrant and (2) I want my lawyer. On the plus side, you are protecting your rights and avoiding getting a bad or incriminating statement on the record. on the down side, the cops will get a warrant of they ask, as no judge is going to deny a search warrant for evidence/firearms for the scene of the homicide, much less a double homicide. And, your non-cooperation may motivate the cops to become adversarial when that may not be in your best interests.

You can split the two. Knowing they will get a warrant you can (1) consent to the search and (2) indicate you want to cooperate but would like to speak with an attorney first. Keeps things friendlier, makes you look cooperative, and makes sense.

And, as the lawyer, assuming it looks like a clean shoot, do you advise your client to give a statement or remain silent? My thoughts as a lawyer and a prosecutor is that I would want a statement on the record about what happened. Why? When the prosecutor reviews the case, I want him or her to know my side of the story, and I want to look like I'm not hiding anything. This may help convince them to deny charges, or may be something to help the Grand Jury decide to no-bill a case.

For the non-lawyers, assume you are a juror. You hear of a double shooting in what appears to be a home invasion (masked intruders, weapons, maybe even forced entry). Do you want to hear the home owner's side of the story? Do you want to hear him say he was in fear for himself and his family? Do you want the cops to say the homeowner was fully cooperative and had nothing to hide? Would remaining silent look bad to a juror, as I have heard?

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Stebalo
January 6, 2006, 03:48 PM
I am not a lawyer type, but for what it is worth

1. Will you give us consent to process the scene/search the area/search the home?

I don't think you can prevent them from securing and searching the scene even if you wanted to. If you did try, it's not going to look good to the grand jury or ultimately, jury. Beyond the scene of the crime (outside of the entry way where they forced their way in) I don't think the police have any business searching much less going. If you did try to interfere, they might arrest you for obstruction of justice or interfering in a police investigation. I believe obstruction requires you to actually conceal something from the authorities and it is a felony at the federal level.


2. Will you give us a statement about what's happened here?

Not without my attorney present. Nor would my spouse. Especially if this occured here in New Jersey. Taking my weapon (and right to have one) is a higher priority to the powers that be than putting home invaders away.

Soybomb
January 6, 2006, 03:52 PM
As a non-lawyer:

I could be off, but I don't think you have the option of insisting on a warrant to allow the police to investiage the shooting scene, its open for business. Similarly I don't think any lawyer would advise you to give a statement of any sort without him present. You can talk later with counsel present.

redneckrepairs
January 6, 2006, 03:57 PM
Non Lawyer here too but my response would be feel free to do anything you need to to process the scene and please excuse me while i call my attorney he will be here soon and you may direct all further questions to him ( mine would do a " housecall " for me on that) and then only offer coffee as needed untill he turned up .

MikeIsaj
January 6, 2006, 04:02 PM
As a non-lawyer;

I don't think you can keep them from the scene and I don't think they need a warrant. When you called 911, you invited them onto your property and into your house due to the nature of the call. Once they are legitimately there and see compelling evidence of a crime having been recently committed, I don't think they need further permission. Just my reasoned opinion.

I would not make a statement immediatly. The best advice any lawyer will give you in a situation like that is, shutup, be quiet, don't say anything about the incident and call your lawyer. I have read elsewhere in this forum that after a shooting you should ask for medical help because you don't feel so good. And you won't be lying. In addition to making sure the situation hasn't harmed you, it buys you time to get your wits about you and talk to your lawyer.

WT
January 6, 2006, 04:19 PM
If the case goes to criminal trial, I would assume that the prosecutor feels that the facts don't match the shooter's account. Something doesn't add up. As a juror, I would want to hear the shooter's explanation. I would probably hold it against him if the shooter did not testify.

Camp David
January 6, 2006, 04:28 PM
You draw and fire. Two dead men in your front hallway. Call 911...

Just a short note here... before you call 911 make sure dead men are entirely in your home... if not drag them in... no kidding... law is worded such in most states that intruders need to be inside your home... if you shoot and they wander out and die you will be prosecuted differently that had they fallen dead inside your home...

Legal friend of mine told me about this point....

Biker
January 6, 2006, 04:31 PM
Just a short note here... before you call 911 make sure dead men are entirely in your home... if not drag them in... no kidding... law is worded such in most states that intruders need to be inside your home... if you shoot and they wander out and die you will be prosecuted differently that had they fallen dead inside your home...

Legal friend of mine told me about this point....
Follow that advice and you'll be cellin' up with Lamar and Bubba.
Biker

Camp David
January 6, 2006, 04:37 PM
Follow that advice and you'll be cellin' up with Lamar and Bubba.

Try explaining a self defense shooting, in your own home, when the attacker, after being shot, runs out of your home and collapses in the neighbor's yard! I guarantee you'll be prosecuted even though it was a clean shoot!!! So advise I was giving was sound... if you shoot them in your home make sure they fall in your home... ask around Biker... check state laws....

Biker
January 6, 2006, 04:43 PM
Try explaining a self defense shooting, in your own home, when the attacker, after being shot, runs out of your home and collapses in the neighbor's yard! I guarantee you'll be prosecuted even though it was a clean shoot!!! So advise I was giving was sound... if you shoot them in your home make sure they fall in your home... ask around Biker... check state laws....
First off, tampering with evidence is major bad juju! It's not hard to tell where a man was shot using GSR evidence and blood splatter just to begin with. Even a rook can see a blood trail. No offense Friend, but as Jorge might say, "It ain't rocket surgery!"

;)

Biker:)

El Tejon
January 6, 2006, 04:44 PM
1. I would advise against any obstruction justice and move stuff about.

2. Shut up. Shut up now, shut up later, shut up when the cop offers you a cigarette, shut up when the detective pats you on the back, shut up in between those times, shut up when the medics are asking you questions, shut up when they want you to come downtown and "clear your name" or "straighten things out". In summary and to be brief, shut up.

3. I want my lawyer.

Don't care if it's the Pope or Mopey McMope, shut up, lawyer up.

redneckrepairs
January 6, 2006, 04:50 PM
oO( el tejon speak straight there )

Mad Chemist
January 6, 2006, 04:50 PM
Just a short note here... before you call 911 make sure dead men are entirely in your home... if not drag them in... no kidding... law is worded such in most states that intruders need to be inside your home... if you shoot and they wander out and die you will be prosecuted differently that had they fallen dead inside your home...

Legal friend of mine told me about this point....

A trained eye, a bit of string, and a laser level will indicate if the bodies have been moved. This may or may not have been good advice 40 years ago, it certainly is not good advice currently. If you do this the crime scene detectives will discover it and you will be charged will evidence tampering. If the tampering charge sticks it will seriously damage your credibility.

The police won't need a warrant to enter or process, but may need one to search the rest of the house.
You already have a recorded statement in the form of the 911 transcripts. I would repeat what I told the 911 operator to the responding officers (two masked men, forced entry, shots fired), and offer to meet with the detectives , with my lawyer present, and make an official statement for the record.
BTW, I'm not an attorney.
JH

Sorry about the cross-post. I'm a little slow on the keyboard.:o

Father Knows Best
January 6, 2006, 04:57 PM
Disclosure: I'm a lawyer (licensed in AZ, MI and TN), but I don't do criminal work, so this is a little outside my area of expertise. For legal advice, of course, you need to consult your own lawyer -- one who is licensed in your jurisdiction and with whom you can establish an attorney-client relationship.

My general advice, however, is to be cooperative and pleasant with the police, but not to offer or commit to anything without your lawyer present. Explain to the officers that you intend to cooperate fully with the investigation, but you can't/won't give a statement or consent to a search without speaking to your attorney, first. Ideally, you will have called your attorney, already (after calling 911 and while waiting for the police to arrive). If your attorney is any good, he will have explicitly ordered you not to talk to the police, and then jumped in his car to come meet you. You can simply tell the police that your attorney is on his way and has forbidden you from speaking to them until he arrives.

In terms of a warrantless "search", the police do have the right as I understand it to secure the scene to prevent it from being disturbed while a search warrant is obtained. They can also seize any evidence that may be in "plain sight." I don't believe that they can start going through your closets and drawers and taking evidence. Keep in mind, however, that they may feel the need to do a sweep of the structure to make sure there are no threats present (BG's hiding, etc.), and in the process they may seize evidence that is in plain sight. So ... if you have a marijuana growing operation or meth lab or kiddie porn collection in your basement/garage/attic, you best not shoot anybody on the premises.

lbmii
January 6, 2006, 05:03 PM
Camp David,

Ok let's think this one over:

You have a clean in your house shoot and the guy runs outside and dies.

You get the bright idea to go drag him back inside.

That ole veterian cop that shows up to the sceen will know within 3 seconds that you are not qute being straight.

The police find the blood splatter outside and various clues that a body was dragged across the porch and into the house. That next door neighbor that peeks out at you all the time, done went and peeked out at you again. "Yes officer I looked out and saw that guy over there dragging a body into his house".

The police conclude that you shot the guy while he was outside and you then tried to set the sceen up to show different.

Regardless a jury will quickly add up that somthing is not quite right with your story and conclude you need to think about some things in jail for a while and you really don't need any money left in your bank account.

I would think that the best thing to do would be to tell in a concise way to the responding officers exactly what happened then shut the hell up.

And know that when you call 911 that the call is recorded.

HankB
January 6, 2006, 05:08 PM
make sure dead men are entirely in your home... if not drag them in... no kidding... No, I wouldn't tamper with evidence, nor would I try to conceal the gun I used. Even if I'm smarter than the responding officers, I'm not necessarily smart enough to beat the sum of all the institutional knowledge of all the LEOs, their supervisors, forensic investigators, the DA, etc., all working together, trying to pick apart my story. One little mistake tampering with evidence and I'm in deep you-know-what.

As a crime scene with dead BGs in the hallway, I'm pretty sure the responding LEOs don't have to have a warrant to secure the scene. I wouldn't grant permission to search the rest of the dwelling, but I'd make no attempt to physically prevent them from taking a look around . . . but I for d@mn sure wouldn't open any locked drawers, cabinets, etc. for them to go through.

Nor would I provide any information to anyone beyond my identity . . . at least not before I've had legal counsel. Any statement I eventually make will be through my attorney. (Even if the LEOs and DA genuinely want to pin a medal on you, there's always the possibility of civil proceedings.)

Requesting transport for medical reasons sounds like a good idea.

cavman
January 6, 2006, 05:21 PM
1.)If they are going to arrive they will need to secure the scene. I don't think any warrant is required.

2.)My Permit instructor actually gave specific advice on this very scenario and here is what he said in a nutshell.

"Because your adrenaline is probably going through the roof, seriously going through the roof, don't answer anything in that state; except that "you are willing to cooperate but will only answer questions after consulatation with your lawyer"".

He said that there are numerous examples of people/cops/soldiers after a traumatic event (killing, fighting for your life, ect) there are wildly inaccurate memories. Because of that, my instructor stated, "best wait until you have calmed down and talked things over with a representative."

It was also his opinion that the investigating officers would do their best to have you talk then and there; but again he had his Permit class repeat out loud "I want to cooperate; but will not say anything further until I have spoken to council."

I think that it is sage advice to wait before speaking until the dust has settled.

TexasRifleman
January 6, 2006, 05:22 PM
Try explaining a self defense shooting, in your own home, when the attacker, after being shot, runs out of your home and collapses in the neighbor's yard! I guarantee you'll be prosecuted even though it was a clean shoot!!! So advise I was giving was sound... if you shoot them in your home make sure they fall in your home... ask around Biker... check state laws....


Try explaining why you moved 2 dead bodies.

If you had a "legal friend" give you this advice, I think you need some new friends.

TexasRifleman
January 6, 2006, 05:22 PM
Doubletap

CAS700850
January 6, 2006, 05:37 PM
I wholeheartedly agree that moving/changing the crime scene is bad. In fact, it's criminal. Here in Ohio, it's called Tampering with Evidence. And, I am a prosecutor, so I know of what I speak.

El T, assuming you are consulted, and from what you are told, you believe it to be a good shhot, do you allow your client to make a statement? And, I know "allow" is not the proper word, but you know what I mean. If so, do you try to arrenge for time to pass for a cool down, or do it fresh so it's more contemporaneous?

mfree
January 6, 2006, 05:43 PM
After the call:

Sit down, shut up. Have the gun not on you but within a few paces in the open. The responding officer isn't going to like having to disarm you, but it's there if the two dudes on the floor had friends. When you go to sit down, sit on your hands... touch NOTHING. Don't try to justify anything, don't try to explain yourself, that's what your laawyer's for.

lbmii
January 6, 2006, 05:48 PM
If you sit on your hands would not an officer be concerned that you might have hold of a weapon? I would think you need your hands in plain sight.

gremlin_bros
January 6, 2006, 05:52 PM
Just a short note here... before you call 911 make sure dead men are entirely in your home... if not drag them in... no kidding... law is worded such in most states that intruders need to be inside your home... if you shoot and they wander out and die you will be prosecuted differently that had they fallen dead inside your home...

Legal friend of mine told me about this point....
drag them back in ??????
not just no but hell no major bad idea if there is evidence you moved anything in a crime scene the prosecutor will have a field day with this the idea of if you changed this what else did you change to the scene. i have seen this happen at a shooting the if the man hadn't moved the body he would have been just fine. they didn't get him for the shoot but for tampering with a crime scene so don't touch anything. please for your own sake don't move a thing let the cops see the truth.
as for the search i would consent and then lawyer up for your own safety.
let me make it 110% clear here i am not a lawyer but have been involved with law enforcement for a long time and have an associates degree in police science and in several classes we went over the drag the body back in thing several times if not hundreds which is where i learned of the law regarding tampering with a crime scene and the fact it has happened and the consequences regarding it.

i have also placed the incident i went through here for you to see as usual the news messed up some of the details but it does give you the idea if you wish look up my first post in ther to get the full story.

another okie
January 6, 2006, 05:54 PM
I don't think there's a 100% best way to always do this.
Sometimes it might be best to say "They broke into my home and I was afraid for my life. I need an ambulance. (and then shut up and ask for your lawyer)" The problem is that few people have the self-discipline to shut up after saying even a few words and police officers are highly skilled at getting people to say more.

ceetee
January 6, 2006, 05:56 PM
After securing any visible weapons, the officers will search the house. Most home invasions like this happen because the people in the house are known to the bad guys as having large amounts of drugs, cash, jewelry, or other valuables. The detectives will be looking for anything to indicate a motive for the home invasion other than "random accident." They'll also just want to make sure that all perps/residents are accounted for, and nobody's going to pop out with a weapon.

I'd want to give just the barest bones of what actually happened, and if the police want more details, I'd make them wait until I've "Calmed down".

An acquaintance was once involved in a similar situation... he got out a bottle, and poured himslef a couple stiff ones. He told the police that he felt the need for a couple drinks to help himself calm down after the incident, and that he also felt that it wasn't proper for him to give a statement while "under the influence"...

gremlin_bros
January 6, 2006, 06:04 PM
feel free to ask me anything about what i went through i will try to answer the best i can.

XD_fan
January 6, 2006, 06:41 PM
IANAL nor do I play one on TV.

Tampering with evidence is just as bad if not worse than leaving the scene or lying. Don't do it. As others have stated it will be immediately obvious where the actual shooting occured and where the bodies fell and how they got there. No tampering, no touching. I don't know if your under any obligation to render first aid after stopping the attack.

The police will take control of your house after they arrive. You will most likely be removed from the house and asked to surrender your firearm. You must and should cooperate with the police. Given our current legal climate they probably have and will take carte blance to search your house down to the last nail. I personally would not give them permission to do anything. It will make no difference to them either way. They will do what they want to and see fit to do.

Regardless what is said to you by the police you have no obligation to speak to them about anything. Massad Ayoob has written about this many times. See his writing else where for details. You must obtain legal assistance and representation before speaking to the police and as soon as possible. Most of us don't have a lawyer on speed dial but it shouldn't take a week to locate one. The only thing you or anyone in your household should say to the police is that you will make a statement and answer questions after obtaining legal advice and representaion. This is no way can or should make you look guilty nor should intimidation of same be allowed. Children are problematic and probably should be removed from the scene. This does not mean you spirit them out of state and hide them. Under no circumstances should the police be allowed to speak to them without a parent and your lawyer present.

Be prepared to be arrested. Be prepared to be ruined financially unless this is such a clear cut case of self-defense as to be called on the spot as such. Then still be prepared for the same. Be prepared to be vilified and humilitated.

One thing you can do to help your cause in all this. Ayoob suggests that you write down what your understandings are of self-defense in a letter. Mail this letter to yourself via registered mail and retain it unopened against needing it. Make sure you update this on a periodic basis as time passes or your understanding changes. Do not had this over to the police. Give it to your lawyer. I have a seperate safe for documents from my gun safe. I would assume and most likely the police will require your gun safe be opened and expect to have every gun in your house confiscated. I refer back to my statement on the legal climate. It does make no difference on the "legalities" of the the action taken by the police. They are the police and will decide what is legal or not. Arguing with them will make no difference.

I know that I'm painting a pretty bleak picture. Sorry, it just the way things are in the country today. You will be guilty until proven innocent. Even then there will be someone involved who still thinks your guilty. Remember this when you talk to people. Its better to say nothing or refer a question to your lawyer than say what you think is the "right" thing to say. DO NOT lie to your lawyer. Be as honest and forth right with your lawyer as you can be. This is the one person who will be on your side. Your paying them but don't think they are your servant. If your in doubt something ask them. In the proper time and place.

Yeah, I'm a cynic and a pessimist. The police and the law are not your friends. They investigate crimes and are looking for the guilty. Its the nature of their business. Never forget this fact. The burden and responsiblity of using a firearm, concealed carry, and having the mindset to shoot a fellow human is a very heavy one. Treat it accordingly. If you do not have the mindset to deal with the consequences of your actions, do not carry or use a gun in self-defense. If you do not have the mindset to draw and fire if circumstances require, do not carry or use a gun in self-defense. If you do not understand that you are an ordinary citizen and have no right or authority to step into a bad situation, do not carry or use a gun in self-defense. If and only if you understand all of the about, the consequences of the burden you carry, and what shooting in the defense of yourself and loved one means, welcome to the rank of the sheep dogs.

redneckrepairs
January 6, 2006, 06:47 PM
CAS700850 i cant speak for any attorney , but as an investigator for a former prosicutor now in private practice due to term limits , my boss would kick my butt if i allowed any statements from one of his clients ( assuming i am the one called out of bed ) before a cooling off period ( when he personaly can meet with them ) , the clients criminal background check will stand on its own when run , no tramatised person needs to go over this without some hours to reflect on surviving the experinace . just my understanding of his opinion and no advise to anyone .

gremlin_bros
January 6, 2006, 06:54 PM
it is my understanding that the leo will take guns used at the time into evidence, not every gun you own IE the bg was shot with a 9mm they would not go into your locked safe and take your rem 870 unless there is evidence that it too was used the idea is bg's may have friends who want revenge and will come looking for it you will still need a way to defend yourself from further attacks.
so the idea is surrender the firearm you used that is law don't worry about it you can get it back after the dust settles but do have other firearms you can use in sd if the need arises. the Leo's i know and the commander from the academy here in Ohio follow this idea and advised the same to students. to simplify it is surrender the firearm in question(the one you used to shoot the bg) and have a backup ready if the bg's friends come looking for trouble. don't be a victim to retaliation.

Justin
January 6, 2006, 06:56 PM
Try explaining a self defense shooting, in your own home, when the attacker, after being shot, runs out of your home and collapses in the neighbor's yard! I guarantee you'll be prosecuted even though it was a clean shoot!!! So advise I was giving was sound... if you shoot them in your home make sure they fall in your home... ask around Biker... check state laws....

YOU are the one making the assertion that it's legal to drag a body back into the house, therefore the responsibility of proving the legality of what you advocate is on your shoulders.

I challenge you to cite one state law anywhere in the United States that says it's legal.

Molon Labe
January 6, 2006, 07:08 PM
YOU are the one making the assertion that it's legal to drag a body back into the house, therefore the responsibility of proving the legality of what you advocate is on your shoulders.

I challenge you to cite one state law anywhere in the United States that says it's legal.We are in agreement. But your logic is a bit backwards.

The way our laws work, "If a law doesn't say you can't, then you can." In other words, you can do anything you want unless there is a law forbidding it. Therefore you are allowed to move the body unless there's a law forbidding it.

So here's the question: Is there a law forbidding you to move the body?

Answer: Yes. It's called Tampering with Evidence.

Jeff White
January 6, 2006, 07:13 PM
Well there is nothing in anti-gun Illinois' law that says you should drag the body back into the house:
http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?DocName=072000050HArt%2E+7&ActID=1876&ChapAct=720%26nbsp%3BILCS%26nbsp%3B5%2F&ChapterID=53&ChapterName=CRIMINAL+OFFENSES&SectionID=60595&SeqStart=7800000&SeqEnd=9300000&ActName=Criminal+Code+of+1961%2E
(720 ILCS 5/Art. 7 heading)
ARTICLE 7. JUSTIFIABLE USE OF FORCE; EXONERATION

(720 ILCS 5/7‑1) (from Ch. 38, par. 7‑1)
Sec. 7‑1. Use of force in defense of person.

(a) A person is justified in the use of force against another when and to the extent that he reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to defend himself or another against such other's imminent use of unlawful force. However, he is justified in the use of force which is intended or likely to cause death or great bodily harm only if he reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or another, or the commission of a forcible felony.
(b) In no case shall any act involving the use of force justified under this Section give rise to any claim or liability brought by or on behalf of any person acting within the definition of "aggressor" set forth in Section 7‑4 of this Article, or the estate, spouse, or other family member of such a person, against the person or estate of the person using such justified force, unless the use of force involves willful or wanton misconduct.
(Source: P.A. 93‑832, eff. 7‑28‑04.)

(720 ILCS 5/7‑2) (from Ch. 38, par. 7‑2)
Sec. 7‑2. Use of force in defense of dwelling.
(a) A person is justified in the use of force against another when and to the extent that he reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to prevent or terminate such other's unlawful entry into or attack upon a dwelling. However, he is justified in the use of force which is intended or likely to cause death or great bodily harm only if:
(1) The entry is made or attempted in a violent, riotous, or tumultuous manner, and he reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent an assault upon, or offer of personal violence to, him or another then in the dwelling, or
(2) He reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent the commission of a felony in the dwelling.
(b) In no case shall any act involving the use of force justified under this Section give rise to any claim or liability brought by or on behalf of any person acting within the definition of "aggressor" set forth in Section 7‑4 of this Article, or the estate, spouse, or other family member of such a person, against the person or estate of the person using such justified force, unless the use of force involves willful or wanton misconduct.
(Source: P.A. 93‑832, eff. 7‑28‑04.)

(720 ILCS 5/7‑3) (from Ch. 38, par. 7‑3)
Sec. 7‑3. Use of force in defense of other property.
(a) A person is justified in the use of force against another when and to the extent that he reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to prevent or terminate such other's trespass on or other tortious or criminal interference with either real property (other than a dwelling) or personal property, lawfully in his possession or in the possession of another who is a member of his immediate family or household or of a person whose property he has a legal duty to protect. However, he is justified in the use of force which is intended or likely to cause death or great bodily harm only if he reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.
(b) In no case shall any act involving the use of force justified under this Section give rise to any claim or liability brought by or on behalf of any person acting within the definition of "aggressor" set forth in Section 7‑4 of this Article, or the estate, spouse, or other family member of such a person, against the person or estate of the person using such justified force, unless the use of force involves willful or wanton misconduct.
(Source: P.A. 93‑832, eff. 7‑28‑04.)

But I did find this:
http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?DocName=072000050HArt%2E+31&ActID=1876&ChapAct=720%26nbsp%3BILCS%26nbsp%3B5%2F&ChapterID=53&ChapterName=CRIMINAL+OFFENSES&SectionID=60778&SeqStart=58900000&SeqEnd=59900000&ActName=Criminal+Code+of+1961%2E
(720 ILCS 5/31‑4) (from Ch. 38, par. 31‑4)
Sec. 31‑4. Obstructing justice.
A person obstructs justice when, with intent to prevent the apprehension or obstruct the prosecution or defense of any person, he knowingly commits any of the following acts:
(a) Destroys, alters, conceals or disguises physical evidence, plants false evidence, furnishes false information; or
(b) Induces a witness having knowledge material to the subject at issue to leave the State or conceal himself; or
(c) Possessing knowledge material to the subject at issue, he leaves the State or conceals himself.
(d) Sentence.
(1) Obstructing justice is a Class 4 felony, except as provided in paragraph (2) of this subsection (d).
(2) Obstructing justice in furtherance of streetgang related or gang‑related activity, as defined in Section 10 of the Illinois Streetgang Terrorism Omnibus Prevention Act, is a Class 3 felony.
(Source: P.A. 90‑363, eff. 1‑1‑98.)

I'm pretty sure that dragging the body back into the house falls into paragraph (a). In fact I'm sure enough about it, that I would hesitate to arrest someone for it, without checking with the states attorney.

Jeff

Justin
January 6, 2006, 07:13 PM
ML-

I was referring more to legitimate debating technique than to the law.

Within proper debate, it is the responsibility of the person making an assertion to be able to back it up with facts and citations, especially if the assertion is out of the realm of what is commonly held.

ServiceSoon
January 6, 2006, 07:52 PM
Just a short note here... before you call 911 make sure dead men are entirely in your home... if not drag them in... no kidding... law is worded such in most states that intruders need to be inside your home... if you shoot and they wander out and die you will be prosecuted differently that had they fallen dead inside your home...

Legal friend of mine told me about this point....

I have also heard of this "tip" from friends in normal conversation, however I would never follow it.

Atticus
January 6, 2006, 08:04 PM
For the non-lawyers, assume you are a juror. You hear of a double shooting in what appears to be a home invasion (masked intruders, weapons, maybe even forced entry). Do you want to hear the home owner's side of the story? Do you want to hear him say he was in fear for himself and his family? Do you want the cops to say the homeowner was fully cooperative and had nothing to hide? Would remaining silent look bad to a juror, as I have heard?


Assuming you are on trial in this situation, I would definately want to know why. The first thing I would want to know is, what is your connection to the dead guys? When I hear stories like this, my first thought is, drug deal gone sour.

benEzra
January 6, 2006, 08:16 PM
Just a short note here... before you call 911 make sure dead men are entirely in your home... if not drag them in... no kidding... law is worded such in most states that intruders need to be inside your home... if you shoot and they wander out and die you will be prosecuted differently that had they fallen dead inside your home...

Legal friend of mine told me about this point....

(snip)

Try explaining a self defense shooting, in your own home, when the attacker, after being shot, runs out of your home and collapses in the neighbor's yard! I guarantee you'll be prosecuted even though it was a clean shoot!!! So advise I was giving was sound... if you shoot them in your home make sure they fall in your home... ask around Biker... check state laws....
I have studied the self-defense laws of both Florida and North Carolina in great depth, and have received CCW licensure in both states. In either state, there is NO law that says if someone attacks you and you are in actual danger of death or serious bodily harm, you have to be in your home to defend yourself or your family. (If there were, what would be the point in CCW, if you can't defend your family or your own life outside your house?) Nor does justifiable self-defense against a home invader turn into murder or manslaughter because the bad guy runs out of your house after being shot. I challenge you to cite a single statute on which that claim could be based.

Tampering with evidence, on the other hand, IS a serious crime. And not only is it a crime in and of itself, it would make you look like you committed a murder or two and then dragged them inside to try to set it up to look like self-defense. That would be the #1 quickest way to turn a clear-cut case of what would otherwise have been ruled justifiable self-defense into a charge of premeditated murder. Not a good idea.

Ryder
January 6, 2006, 08:59 PM
Might create an adversarial relationship? Too late for that. I will not give a statement because cops will twist every word that comes out of my mouth to make me look guilty and justify their actions. Anyhow, been there done that so forget about it in the future, I am not an idiot.

Apparently lots of people are not stupid. Here's a story released today from one of the places I moved away from over 20 years ago. They've been begging for public assistance on the local netwrok news channels for days now.

--

SAGINAW -- Citing fear of retaliation and mistrust of the police, people are refusing to come forward to help in the investigations of the city's 10 shootings in five days.

The most recent shooting happened at 1:50 a.m. today in the 2200 block of Maplewood. Brittany Neshell Harry, 19, of Buena Vista Township, was pronounced dead shortly after arriving at a local hospital. Deonte Omari Hood, 19, of Saginaw, was in critical condition this morning.

Sgt. Mark Lively of the Saginaw Police Department said police plan to interview Hood sometime today. He said people have not come forward with information on this or the other shootings.

"We get all kinds of excuses," Lively said.

He said people are afraid to talk because of fear of retaliation against themselves or their families. He said some people have the attitude that "I'm going to take care of it myself." Other people say they don't trust the police. This lack of evidence frustrates the police, who have other crimes to solve.

"It's gotten to the point that unless it's a homicide, we're just going to close the case" if there isn't any forensic evidence, Lively said.

He said Prosecuting Attorney Michael Thomas has talked about a witness protection program to encourage more people to contact police. Thomas was not available to comment at press time.

Lively said police do not know if there is a common thread in these shootings, but that it's "always a possibility."

He said each homicide takes anywhere from three to six officers. Officers have to guard the scene, go with the victim to the hospital and, if the victim dies, follow the body to the morgue.

The department has seen its numbers reduced from 150 officers to 92 officers through layoffs in the past three to four years. Lively said he expects more layoffs because of the city's budget problems.

k_dawg
January 6, 2006, 09:07 PM
For this type of scenario, and others.. sometimes you have to deflect a insistant officer. They have been trained to all-but-badger a witness/suspect/etc. Just about every criminal type says "i want my lawyer..", so dont be suprised if that doesn't get them to stop.

"I need to sit down and catch my breath"... "i'm not feeling well". Just sit down, and calm down. Don't get into an arguement with them. Just clam up.

k_dawg
January 6, 2006, 09:10 PM
I have studied the self-defense laws of both Florida and North Carolina in great depth, and have received CCW licensure in both states. In either state, there is NO law that says if someone attacks you and you are in actual danger of death or serious bodily harm, you have to be in your home to defend yourself or your family. (If there were, what would be the point in CCW, if you can't defend your family or your own life outside your house?) Nor does justifiable self-defense against a home invader turn into murder or manslaughter because the bad guy runs out of your house after being shot. I challenge you to cite a single statute on which that claim could be based.

Tampering with evidence, on the other hand, IS a serious crime. And not only is it a crime in and of itself, it would make you look like you committed a murder or two and then dragged them inside to try to set it up to look like self-defense. That would be the #1 quickest way to turn a clear-cut case of what would otherwise have been ruled justifiable self-defense into a charge of premeditated murder. Not a good idea.

One thing to keep in mind is, in Florida.. simply being unlawfully in the house, is defacto serious threat to life. If the badguy is in your house, you dont have to prove that you were reasonably in fear of your life.

But yes, absolutely, what ever happens, don't tamper with the scene. That's trivial for them to detect.

O.F.Fascist
January 6, 2006, 09:32 PM
After securing any visible weapons, the officers will search the house. Most home invasions like this happen because the people in the house are known to the bad guys as having large amounts of drugs, cash, jewelry, or other valuables. The detectives will be looking for anything to indicate a motive for the home invasion other than "random accident." They'll also just want to make sure that all perps/residents are accounted for, and nobody's going to pop out with a weapon.

Might this not be another good reason to have locks on the internal doors of a home and use them. So as those rooms from the wandering and prying eyes of a police officer "securing" the area.

ceetee
January 6, 2006, 10:58 PM
Might this not be another good reason to have locks on the internal doors of a home and use them. So as those rooms from the wandering and prying eyes of a police officer "securing" the area.

Not really. Locks are to keep honest people honest; not to keep out cops searching for accomplices. If they think there's a chance of another bad guy in the vicinity, CRASH!

redneckrepairs
January 6, 2006, 11:06 PM
it is not the " cops" job to be your friend , it is thier job to make you think they are , the cops do not twist what you say , they do howeaver use it out of context to support what they see as the truth , if you cant deal with that , get over it , the world is not built for our benifit , this is a difficult time that if you are honest about things ( with a lawyer ) at worse you will get a No true bill from a grand jury , howeaver if you start tampering with evidince , lying to police , treating it like i cant wait to get online and brag , well you may well earn an oppertunity to meet leroy and bubba , i hope ya like your new bunkies lol

V4Vendetta
January 6, 2006, 11:45 PM
I'm no lawyer. I'm a average fella. If you were on trial, I would like to hear your side. Depending on if I'm convinced, I might ask the judge to award your court costs & legal fees. I wouldn't move any bodies. I wouldn't even go near them unless they were reaching under their coats for a weapon. I live in NC. I'm not really experienced with the legal system here. I'm gonna look in the yellow pages for a lawyer to have on speed-dial after I'm done typing this post.

I would have several guns so that the one the police took wouldn't be my only line of defense. If I only had the one gun, I have a friend who I'm pretty sure would let me borrow some of his. He has enough to re-take Germany.:D If I was in my living room watching TV & BG's broke down the door, I'd shoot them. I live in a home where the door is point blank in front of me so I wouldn't miss. Then I'd call my lawyer if I could think of it. Then I'd call 911. Then I'd sit down on my couch, place the gun on the table in front of me where I could grab it if I needed.

I would then instruct my family on not saying anything until our lawyer gets here. I will have already done this ahead of time but I feel it would be wise to repeat it. The deputy's where I live are pretty nice when I've dealt with them in the past on social matters but I still would not say anything until my lawyer gets there. I probably sound like a broken record but I feel that point should be emphasized.

cropcirclewalker
January 7, 2006, 01:16 AM
Cheese!

So, here I am out here in the country, 8 miles outside a town of 2500.

Usta be 1100, but the state (against the wishes of the locals) chose to put in a max. security prison of 1400 and now the town uses the bigger population to collect more welfare funds.

Nine years I have lived here and never seen a police car on my street. Largest county in Missouri and a sheriff and 4 deputies.

I yam on 90 acres, non-visable and 400 feet from the street, and 3/8 mile from the nearest neighbor.

My security system consists of 2 dogs and a hail of bullets. Nobody comes down my drive without the dogs setting up a racket.

I don't do or deal in drugs. I am poor. There is no reason for any bgs to invade my home for any reason other than pure ignorance.

If one was to step out onto their porch down here in my neck o' the woods, it would be entirely a non-event for them to hear gunfire any time day or night (frequently class III) of the week.

Thus, I must proclaim that in my case I would think seriously about invoking the triple S principle. (Shoot, Shovel and Shut up)

I really feel sorry for youse guys that must live in the big cities like rats in a cage.

I have a barn up near the road. Somebody stole a compound bow and some arrows I stored up there several years ago. I put up a little sign in the barn saying, "If I catch you stealing here, they will never find your body."

Since then, I have had no problems.

The problem that I have been dealing with mostly is, "What do I do with his car?" What a big hole I would have to dig.

Are there any suggestions?

V4Vendetta
January 7, 2006, 10:21 AM
"I really feel sorry for youse guys that must live in the big cities like rats in a cage."

Thanks.

Powderman
January 7, 2006, 11:59 AM
Try explaining a self defense shooting, in your own home, when the attacker, after being shot, runs out of your home and collapses in the neighbor's yard! I guarantee you'll be prosecuted even though it was a clean shoot!!! So advise I was giving was sound... if you shoot them in your home make sure they fall in your home... ask around Biker... check state laws....

Wrong, wrong, wrong.

What you do if you do this is turn a clean shoot into what looks like a murder.

Trust me, people who are shot do not always just fall in a heap. As a matter of fact, even with a good COM shot that destroys the heart, you will still have about 15 seconds to do whatever you want, fueled by remaining blood pressure and adrenalin.

Try sprinting for 15 seconds. See how far you can run.

There are WAY too many things that tell the story, forensically: gun shot residue, scuff marks, high-velocity blood splatter, hair, fibers, you name it.

If it is a good shoot, it doesn't matter if the BG gets into his car, drives a hundred miles away and then dies.

If it is a bad shoot, nothing in the world will conceal it for long.

Moreover, consider that your average cop nowadays also has at the very least some extensive training on preserving a crime scene, and how to spot and identify evidence. Lots of us also have various college degrees in the same thing. Add that to just plain street experience, and you're in a losing situation if you alter a crime scene.

Trust me, if the responding officers even THINK that you have tampered with the scene, the next thing you hear will be your Miranda rights.

Do NOT tamper with the crime scene. EVER.

Marko Kloos
January 7, 2006, 12:17 PM
Just a short note here... before you call 911 make sure dead men are entirely in your home... if not drag them in... no kidding... law is worded such in most states that intruders need to be inside your home... if you shoot and they wander out and die you will be prosecuted differently that had they fallen dead inside your home...

Legal friend of mine told me about this point....

Your legal friend needs to brush up on the law, then. (Paralegal, maybe?)

I'm sure the crime scene investigators, homicide detectives, and county coroner are going to be completely fooled by such a genius move...dragging a bleeding corpse into your house. Surely that's not going to leave any sort of evidence that may be used against you...like, oh, maybe several pints of blood in front of your house that were oozing out of Mr. Bad Guy when he fell after you shot him several times?

Seriously, if that's the kind of advice you're disseminating, I suggest that you not only ask your legal friend to hit the local community college for some lessons on the law, but also that you stop dispensing such dangerous and fallacious advice to the rest of the membership. Not only is it advocating an act that is illegal (tampering with evidence), but it also makes us gunowners look like trigger-happy, bloodthirsty imbeciles.

MikeIsaj
January 7, 2006, 12:22 PM
I know that I'm painting a pretty bleak picture. Sorry, it just the way things are in the country today. You will be guilty until proven innocent.THe error here is applying the laws and attitude of your state to all states. I will concede that this attitude is appropriate in far too many places but not in the whole country. I live in Pennsylvania, a 2d friendly and compliant state and in Bucks county which is also 2d and self defense friendly. Had an incident several years ago where the elderly homeowner caught the BG breaking in to his shed. Confronted him in the backyard with a shotgun, chased him down the street and shot him in the crotch. BG died, DA ruled the shooting self-defense. I'm lad for the homeowner but, IMHO it stopped being self-defense when the homeowner started pursuit.

PvtPyle
January 7, 2006, 01:38 PM
Just a short note here... before you call 911 make sure dead men are entirely in your home... if not drag them in... no kidding... law is worded such in most states that intruders need to be inside your home... if you shoot and they wander out and die you will be prosecuted differently that had they fallen dead inside your home...

Legal friend of mine told me about this point....

You can not be serious. I would LOVE to see where this has been an issue in court and what the outcome was, or anywhere in ANY states law where it says that if you shoot someone and they go outside to die that you will be prosecuted under a different standard. And even more so, I would LOVE to see where it is acceptable to tamper with a crime scene! In fact show me ANY state where it would be acceptable to do something like this!

I know in Utah if you do anything to the body other than check for vitals or weapons you will be prosecuted under the law for tampering at the least. But if I am in fear of my life or a loved ones life (and that is far more that the law requires), I can shoot him in my house, on my yard, at my neighbors house, at the mall, on the county court house steps, or anywhere else the incident may occur. (The details of how smart it is to shoot someone on the court house steps or any of the other places is another issue, but if the shoot is justifiable I wont be prosecuted for it depite the location.)

Where do people come up with this stuff?:barf:

progunner1957
January 7, 2006, 02:04 PM
An acquaintance was once involved in a similar situation... he got out a bottle, and poured himslef a couple stiff ones. He told the police that he felt the need for a couple drinks to help himself calm down after the incident, and that he also felt that it wasn't proper for him to give a statement while "under the influence"...

But won't the police then say: "AHA!!! He was drinking and then used the gun!"

As I understand it, alot of police/prosecutors etc. seem to be of the opinion that -
1.) You cannot possibly make the right choices about self defense/use of deally force if you have had even one swallow of an alcoholic drink,
2.) If you have been drinking, you no longer have the right to self defense, and
3.) If you have been drinking and are forced to shoot an attacker in self defense, it is no longer self defense but automatically becomes murder or attempted murder.

If I am wrong and there are any attorneys/police/prosecutors present who can clarify this, please do so.

antarti
January 7, 2006, 02:32 PM
You're at home with the family. Door is kicked in. Two masked men with weapons. You draw and fire. Two dead men in your front hallway.

No lawyer, but...

If you can establish just this much in a jury's mind (at least in this state), you're getting acquitted (or not getting indicted by grand jury). Regardless of what happened next, unless you did something really really dumb (like evidence tampering) that undermines the belief in the above quote, you're eventually walking.

I would let the 911 tape stand on its own, and shut up until the lawyer arrives. That was my friends advice (public defender) if I ever find myself in any legal fix, "shut up until I'm there, don't even say 'yes' or 'no'. Just nod and say 'lawyer is on the way' over-and-over until the questions stop or I get there".

bogie
January 7, 2006, 03:28 PM
You can see what happened, but I'd like to have my lawyer here so that everything is done right.

CAS700850
January 9, 2006, 11:45 AM
But the question remains unanswered, despite a serious change of tangents caused by some poor advice about chasing down bad guys and dragging them back into your house.

Assume it was a clean shoot. Assume you tell the officers "I want my lawyer." Assume the lawyer comes in and you tell the whole story to the lawyer. What now? I know that many of the criminal defense attorneys I know would advise you to not make a statement at all, even with them present. The theory is that at trial, you will be able to testify, tell your side of teh story, without worrying about having the initial statement used against you for cross-exam, etc. My thought, however, is that I don't want to go to trial. I want my case no-billed by the grand jury, or rejected by the prosecutor. I want to tell my story, get it on the record now, so that there will be no trial, with the hardships and expenses asscoitaed with a trial. And, since I'll be telling the truth, I don't need to worry about my changing story. Only reason I want a lawyer is (1) to buy me time to calm down, (2) to give a second opinion as to teh legality of the shoot, and (3) to keep me from doing something stupid due to adrenaline, etc.

Anyone agree, or am I already doing something stupid?

PvtPyle
January 9, 2006, 12:19 PM
[QUOTE=CAS700850]But the question remains unanswered, despite a serious change of tangents caused by some poor advice about chasing down bad guys and dragging them back into your house.

Assume it was a clean shoot. Assume you tell the officers "I want my lawyer." Assume the lawyer comes in and you tell the whole story to the lawyer. What now?
Once you "lawyer up", that's it until your lawyers tells you to speak to them. They can't ask you anything else. They can continue the invesitgation at the scene, buit they can't talk to you.

I know that many of the criminal defense attorneys I know would advise you to not make a statement at all, even with them present. The theory is that at trial, you will be able to testify, tell your side of teh story, without worrying about having the initial statement used against you for cross-exam, etc. My thought, however, is that I don't want to go to trial. I want my case no-billed by the grand jury, or rejected by the prosecutor.
If it was a claen shoot, that should not be a problem unless you live in a anti-gun state. Then the DA may push it just to get it on the TV. But it is all going to depend on the findings of the police and the evidence at the scene as to it going to the grand jury or being ruled justifiable.

I want to tell my story, get it on the record now, so that there will be no trial, with the hardships and expenses asscoitaed with a trial. And, since I'll be telling the truth, I don't need to worry about my changing story. Only reason I want a lawyer is (1) to buy me time to calm down, (2) to give a second opinion as to teh legality of the shoot, and (3) to keep me from doing something stupid due to adrenaline, etc.
Those are all fine points, and fine reason to call your lawyer. That should be the second person you call in ANY event where there are serious consequences and/or the police are involved. It is your right to be represented by council, and perfectly acceptable and reasonable to want them present before making the statements. But don't be too anxious to say anything, or get your story out there. Let the process run it's due course.

Anyone agree, or am I already doing something stupid?As long as you are not tampering with the crime scene.....:D

CAS700850
January 9, 2006, 02:56 PM
Pvt. Pyle,

I am a D.A., and I'm not sure of teh answer to this. As the prosecutor who has handled cases. I can agree that physical evidence can determine a lot, but it cannot tell the whole story. Despite what C.S.I. tells us, the crime scene is merely the stage upon which the play occurred, it is not the story in and of itself. Let's say I answer the door to a well dressed man on a sunny afternoon, turn to say something, and the well dressed man forces the door opened with his shoulder and produces a handgun. I shoot him at close range, he goes down. Not thinking right under stress, I pick up his little handgun and toss it on the couch next to the phone in the next room. Police come, and what do they find? A guy in a suit lying in my front hall with a bullet from my gun in his chest (or more than one). No signes of forced entry. His gun, with my prints, on my couch in the next room. At this point, my statement is going to make or break the case, not the physical evidence.

The real problem is that in no case is the evidence ever as clear cut one way or the other, as we are saying. For instance, right now on my front door is what looks like an effort to force the door opened. It is actually where I let the ladder fall while taking down Christmas lights. I've prosecuted several burglaries where there is no sign of forced entry. The bad guy gained entry through an unlocked window or door. In good weather, with my kids outside playing, the door is often unlocked. The bad guy's gun. Hope his prints are on it when you kick it away. If you do well, he won't have gunshot residue on his hand to show he possessed the weapon. And I'm sure no one here is going to leave the gun close to the bad guy while waiting for the cavalry to show up. How do you explain the gun on the other side of the room, after you kicked it away? You don't get to unless you make some statement.

Having presented a few hundred cases to Grand Jury, I can assure you that questions like "how did the gun end up over there?" come up all the time? Counting on the Grand Jury or prosecutor correctly assuming when the detective answers "I don't know...he lawyered up right away." doesn't give me warm and fuzzy feelings. Hence my questions: (1) would the lawyer types agree with this and thus allow a statement, and (2) would the non-lawyer/potential jurors draw the right conclusions or do they want to hear an explaination from the shooter?

By the way Pvt. Pyle, once you lawyer up, you can re-initiate at any point. So, after my lawyer shows up and we talk things out, I can then indicate to the detectives that I would like to make a statement, and do so.

El Tejon
January 9, 2006, 04:24 PM
Talking? What's this talking stuff?

You don't talk to anyone--not the po-po, the detectives, the media, your clergy, your wife, Uncle Jimmy Joe, the neighbor's dog. You talk to no one but me.

You write down what happened for me and then we reinvestigate the case. I meet with the Prosecuting Attorney, I show him the 8 x 10 coloured glossies with the circles and arrows, I give the diagram with the stick figures, and I give him your version. You remain quiet, not a word to anyone. Be quiet, do not talk.

The police exist to gather evidence against the guilty, not to debrief the innocent. Your "exculpatory" statement will be used to hang you. Shut up.

Chuckulator
January 9, 2006, 04:42 PM
IANAL but I am a law student who just finished Criminal Procedure. There are some cases where Pre Miranda silence has been used to impeach testimony of self defense. I don't think they apply in this situation, especially if you do as El Tejon says and have your lawyer do the talking for you, but if you wait until your testimony to bring up self defense that may be too late.

Examples

Jenkins v Anderson, 447 U.S. 231 (1980) pre-arrest silence may be used to impeach D claimed self-defense at trial but had not reported killing for two weeks.

Fletcher v Weir, 455 U.S. 603 (1982) post-arrest, pre-Miranda silence may be used to impeach defendant who claims self-defense at trial.

Coronach
January 9, 2006, 05:04 PM
I'll take minor issue with what El T just said, while agreeing with the general gist.

The cops are there to find the truth and prosecute the bad guys. They're not necessarily there to bust the shooter. The problem is that they have no clue who the good guy is and who the bad guy is. You know you're the good guy, they don't. In an ideal world, where everyone enters the scenario without bias or time pressure and no one lies and all evidence is found and successfully examined, you could talk your head off and you'd be fine.

This, however, is the real world. People lie, evidence is missed, people have biases and political agendas, and adrenaline can lead you to say some unfortunate things. As such, your 'exculpatory' statement is a double-edged sword. It probably will help you out if you really are innocent, but it really might not.

Shutting the heck up, however, can only help you. So be polite, be courteous, don't be tampering with evidence (what a criminally stupid idea), give the basic facts ("I live here, he broke in, I was fearful for my life, I shot him.") and then lawyer up ("I'm sorry, I'd rather not go into any other details until I have spoken with my lawyer. I'm aware of my constitutional rights, and I'd like my lawyer to be present prior to any other questioning."). Resign yourself to going downtown for a few hours. Once you do that, there is suddenly no reason to chitchat, there is nothing to try and talk your way out of...you did what you had to do, this is part of the process, and so is talking to your lawyer.

Mike

Coronach
January 9, 2006, 05:07 PM
Jenkins v Anderson, 447 U.S. 231 (1980) pre-arrest silence may be used to impeach D claimed self-defense at trial but had not reported killing for two weeks.Well, yeah. That's not what we're talking about, though. ;)

Mike

308win
January 9, 2006, 05:10 PM
Talking? What's this talking stuff?

You don't talk to anyone--not the po-po, the detectives, the media, your clergy, your wife, Uncle Jimmy Joe, the neighbor's dog. You talk to no one but me.

You write down what happened for me and then we reinvestigate the case. I meet with the Prosecuting Attorney, I show him the 8 x 10 coloured glossies with the circles and arrows, I give the diagram with the stick figures, and I give him your version. You remain quiet, not a word to anyone. Be quiet, do not talk.

The police exist to gather evidence against the guilty, not to debrief the innocent. Your "exculpatory" statement will be used to hang you. Shut up.

IMHO this is good advice. I would expect my attorney to protect my rights as dilligently.

As for the original question about the beliefs of non-attorneys on the jury. If I was on the grandjury and the facts were as stated I would vote for a no bill. If I was on the trial jury I would not hold the refusal to give testimony against the person. If he chose not to testify then the facts are whatever evidence is presented by the prosecutor and defense attorney's rebuttal.

My younger brother is an LEO with over 25 years of service and his advice is NEVER, NEVER, NEVER GIVE A POLICEMAN A STATEMENT WITH OUT YOUR ATTORNEY'S BLESSING. The police aren't talking to you because they are bored, like you, or want to help you.

LJWebster1
January 9, 2006, 05:11 PM
I would not drink any alcohol after the shooting. You do not want to give even the hint of intoxication. I also would not call a lawyer before calling 911. That makes it appear that you have something to hide. I am a lawyer, but not a criminal defense lawyer. I just took my CCW class, and the instructor gave the "need medical assitance" advice. He said that when the cops come, they are trained to help a victim, and if they can't help you, the only other "victim" around is the dead guy. So they turn their attention to the dead guy. However, if you tell the cop, "I am really shaken up. I just want to get away from here. I think I need to see a doctor. Can I talk to you after I've seen a doctor?" and if you look upset, then the cop can help you, and he won't focus on the dead guy. While you are being assisted, your lawyer is on his way. Sounds like it could work. He also recommended that you make your weapon safe once no threats are present, by removing teh magazine and locking the slide back, but be prepared to jump back into action if more BGs come along.

Once your lawyer gets there, I don't think there should be any issue giving a brief statement. If this indeed was a good shoot, then your lawyer can help you get the facts straight and tell the police what happened. That way, you don't have this scenarior at teh Grand Jury:

Prosecutor: Officer, tell us what you saw.
Cop: I saw two dead guys in his house.
P: Why were they dead?
C: He shot them.
P: Why did he shoot them?
C: I don't know, he wouldn't say. His 911 tape said that they were intruders and they broke in, but when I asked him about it, he wouldn't say anything.
P: Has he given you a statement yet?
C: Nope, he tells me his lawyer told him not to.

So, if I'm on the Grand Jury, I'm now thinking that somethign is fishy here because he told 911 they were intruders, which would be a justifiable shooting, but now he won't explain anything. I'm going to agree that more investigation is needed, so this is now going to trial. Not too good for him, but good for his lawyer, I guess.

Coronach
January 9, 2006, 05:25 PM
The problem with this is that by the time it would go to a GJ, the accused would probably have had a chance to confer with his lawyer and would be in a position to make a statement. It's not like he's stonewalling.

Also, while it would be nice to win a no-bill at GJ, the real fight is at trial court.

Mike

Hypnogator
January 9, 2006, 05:46 PM
An interesting thread. I'm not a lawyer, but I am a retired Army Criminal Investigator, and have investigated a number of home-invasion type incidents, a couple of which involved shootings.

First off, as the wiser heads have pointed out, never, never,Never do anything that might be construed as tampering with evidence. Dragging the bodies into a room, posing them, placing the gun in their hand (even if it was when you shot them) will all be construed as trying to cover up something you don't want the police to find out about, both by the police and, later, by a jury. Rule of reason, here. If the perp is only mostly dead, ;) and you remove the weapon from his reach to protect yourself, everybody will understand why. They won't understand why you found it necessary to drag the perp out of the yard into the house to keep him out of the rain. :rolleyes:

I wouldn't want to take a couple of bracing drinks, in this instance. Cops don't like it when you try "cute" little tricks to evade questions. It doesn't really make much difference if a good shoot happened when you were drunk or sober (Are you to give up your right to self-defense just because you've been drinking in your own home?) If the shooting was justified, it was justified. What you may run into later, though, is the perp's family's lawyer inferring in a civil trial that you were stumbling around drunk with a gun and accidentally shot his client's poor choir-boy son/husband/etc.

While I respect El T's opinion regarding statements, I wouldn't want to be uncooperative to the extent of not giving a statement at all. By all means, call your lawyer and ask the investigator to wait until (s)he is present before making any statements. And yes, in the aftermath of a shooting, you're likely to be confused and excited. Best give only a very general account of what happened under the guidance of your lawyer, and wait at least a day before making a detailed statement.

If you have done nothing wrong, the police, indeed, are your friends. They will collect the evidence that will corroborate your statements and present it to the district/county attorney. If you try to lie -- about anything -- and they find evidence to refute your statement, they'll present that to the district/county attorney, too.

Frankly, how you proceed in a given self-defense situation will depend a lot on the political climate of the community in which you found it necessary to defend yourself.

cropcirclewalker
January 10, 2006, 12:27 AM
So, what do you do with his car?

Sorry if youse guys have to live like rats in cages in the big city, but after I have invoked the triple S procedure and the sheriff shows up and asks, "Have you seen Mr. Bubba Doe?", you respond, "No, Is that his car? It was sitting here blocking my drive a week ago last Thursday, so I just pushed it off to the side. I yam sure he will be by soon to pick it up."

"Me? No, I haven't seen him. Is he wanted for something?"

"Search my property? Sure, Just bring the warrant around and I will be happy to comply. What exactly are you looking for? Can I help?"

FireBreather01
January 10, 2006, 01:40 AM
"Officer - I was in fear for my life after this man broke into my house. I did what I had to do to end the threat. I'm sure you can understand the seriousness of this situation and I am going to cooperate fully with your investigation. But before I say anything else I am going to contact my lawyer and have him here while I give my statement. I just want to make sure my rights are protected."

El Tejon
January 10, 2006, 10:45 AM
Cor, O.K., maybe the police are not there to hang you every time but 99.999% of the time they are.:D I do understand that part of the police mindset is that everyone lies to them every day. However, one has to understand that mindset so that he may SHUT UP and not provide the rope by which the police will hang you.:D

If we are constructing grand jury hypotheticals, then I can come up with a scenario where your "exculpatory" talk-my-way-out-of-a-murder case statement will be used against you for every silence used against you scenario. BTW, not everyone here lives in states that have grand juries. Some live in states where prosecutors sign their names and off we go.

You will be excited. You may be hurt (line of fire goes both ways). You will be nervous and probably ill to your stomach.

You will think you are smarter and more clever than the police; you are not. You will not be thinking clearly or rationally. The next 60 years or so of your life, if not LWOP or the hot shot, hang in the balance of your talk-my-way-out-of-murder speech that you will now give after you just took the lives of two fellow human beings.

There is far too much to lose, be quiet.

Carl N. Brown
February 14, 2006, 05:17 PM
To resurrect that part of the thread....

I have heard people give that advice, even to say if the intruder
turns out to be unarmed, get a knife out of the kitchen and put it
in their hand. :eek:

But I have had a lawyer, ex-county sheriff, two city detectives,
et cetera, people with real life experience. say No. Don't touch.
:wagging_finger_icon:
Altering a crime scene does not just hint suspicion, it screeEAMS IT!!

County sheriff advised us also to keep your statements short, sweet,
to the point: that the assailant put you in fear of your life and you
defended yourself. If you are honestly in fear of your life, adrenalin
fight-or-flight will kick in and your perception of time will warp. You
go motormouth in that state and you will say stuff that will not
add up to any listener. Minimum comments and bare facts.

In many jurisdictions, if a reasonable person would be in fear of their
life of the madman pounding on the door, such reasonable person
can shoot through the door if necessary. Just because an INTRUDER
has to be WITHIN THE PREMISES does not mean than an assailant
presenting credible threat of imminent death or bodily harm has to be
in the premises. Some few jurisdictions do say you can use lethal force
against any intruder, and that might be the origin of this folk myth:
to be justified as an intruder shooting, they must be within the
premises; but, almost all jurisdictions say you can use lethal force
against a threat of imminent death or bodily harm.

Self defense is not about killing technical intruders; it is about
stopping an imminent threat to life or limb. In fact, in some
jurisdictions, an intruder who would not be perceived by a
"reasonable person" as a threat of imminent death or bodily harm
cannot be legally subject to lethal force. Again, this depends a lot
on jurisdiction.

But in practically all jurisdictions, dragging a body across a threshold
or planting a weapon on a corpse is a no-no. As the movie title
says, Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things.

This is not legal advice.

KriegHund
February 14, 2006, 05:35 PM
I REALLY dont think you should move a body. forensics do amazing things these days. Dont wanna mess with that.

Let em look around, but say nothing until you get legal representation.

ArmedBear
February 14, 2006, 05:46 PM
California's self-defense laws are pretty good. Our civil courts, however, are frightening.

In my own home, I wouldn't worry too much about being charged with a crime, provided I did everything right, which I'd have every intention of doing.

I'd be more concerned about being sued. Seriously. And I'm not sure what to do about that.

Biker
February 14, 2006, 06:34 PM
You may or may not like Ayoob, but "In The Gravest Extreme" is directly responsible for me surviving two civil suits and a few close calls. YMMV.
Biker

mp510
February 14, 2006, 08:52 PM
I am just a layman, but wouldn't calling the cops regarding a shots fired, two people down be a probable cause for them to process the seen. Let them have that one, and don't make a (fill in the space) of yourself.

Hawkmoon
February 14, 2006, 09:19 PM
Assuming you are on trial in this situation, I would definately want to know why. The first thing I would want to know is, what is your connection to the dead guys? When I hear stories like this, my first thought is, drug deal gone sour.
Bad assumption.

You what they say about "assume." One should never do it.

A few years ago a family about 3 miles from me fell victim to a home invasion. Family was tied up, the husband/father beaten rather badly. They had no firearms for self defense, of course.

Drug deal gone bad? Not at all. The guy was a coin collector, and somebody got wind of the fact that he had [note use of past tense here, 'cause he sure doesn't have them now] a LOT of valuable coins in his house. Had he been armed, the scenario could have played out exactly as the original post laid it out.

It's unfair to "assume" that a home invasion represnts a drug deal gone bad. It's not illegal, but it is unfair. It goes against the basic premise that one is innocent until proven guilty.

richyoung
February 15, 2006, 01:05 AM
Just a short note here... before you call 911 make sure dead men are entirely in your home... if not drag them in... no kidding... law is worded such in most states that intruders need to be inside your home... if you shoot and they wander out and die you will be prosecuted differently that had they fallen dead inside your home...

Legal friend of mine told me about this point....


NEVER EVER alter evidence - and the crime scene is evidence! You think forensics can't tell where someone was shot, or if that junk gun or kniffe you plant on the corpse is really theirs, or a "throw-down"? CHANGE NOTHING - SAY NOTHING except the bare minimum necessary to ensure that ALL evidence is promptly and correctly collected - and if you CAN'T say nothing, (by far the best course until a lawyer arrives) TELL THE TRUTH.

psyopspec
February 15, 2006, 02:56 AM
Camp David, I'd much rather have the cops come into my residence and see all my violent video games sitting on the shelf than a body I'd dragged across the threshold. How would you intend to explain such a scenario when modern technology would easily prove your innocence (in regards to where the victim was shot) and your guilt (in tampering with evidence)?

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