Ridiculous Conviction--AZ Dog Walker Shooter


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HarryB
June 15, 2006, 08:19 PM
To continue the thread updated here:

http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=117022

http://www.azcentral.com/php-bin/clicktrack/print.php?referer=http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/0615hikershooting-ON.html

Man convicted in killing of hiker

Peter Corbett
The Arizona Republic
Jun. 15, 2006 11:55 AM

A retired Valley teacher was convicted of second-degree murder by a Coconino County jury that rejected his self-defense argument in the shooting of an unarmed man on a trail north of Payson.

Harold Fish, 59, faces a sentence of 10 to 22 years for killing Grant Kuenzli, 43, in a confrontation involving the victim's dogs May 11, 2004, in the Coconino National Forest.

Coconino County Superior Court Judge Mark Moran will set a sentencing date on Monday in Flagstaff.

Fish, a father of seven, was jailed after the verdict was announced late Wednesday afternoon, following two days of jury deliberation.

Fish's attorney, Melvin McDonald, said he was shocked by the verdict and plans to appeal.

"Ten years in prison for a guy who is attacked on the trail and he has four seconds to react," McDonald said. "He's now convicted of murder. I will never understand that until the day I die."

Fish claimed he was defending himself from a violent attack after two dogs and then Kuenzli charged at him.

McDonald said the judge should have permitted evidence about Kuenzli's character and the fact that he was carrying a screwdriver in his back pocket that could have been used as a weapon. Those two issues will be central to the appeal, he said.

Coconino County Attorney Terry Hance said he thinks the verdict "reflects the sentiment of the community" about the case.

The shooting sparked debate in Arizona and nationally about self-defense, the use of firearms, the dangers of unleashed dogs and the safety of hikers in the wilderness.

Gun-rights advocates also have followed the case.

McDonald said that the National Rifle Association contributed about 5 percent of the cost of defending Fish.

Hance, the county attorney, said the jury sent a clear message about when it is, and is not, appropriate to use deadly force.

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Cosmoline
June 15, 2006, 08:38 PM
There are enough facts in the accounts to raise my brows a bit. No bites, no dead dogs, no weapon in the dead man's hands. I think you could call that murder. There is at least a jury question. The excluded evidence probably should have come in, and I think he has some strong appeal points. The possibility of a deadly weapon on the victim's person tends to bolster the claim that he posed an imminent deadly threat, even if the shooter didn't see it. The past psychotic behavior of the victim would also tend to lend credibility to the defendant's version.

TallPine
June 15, 2006, 09:25 PM
I thought this guy had already been acquitted or charges dropped once already :confused:

gunsmith
June 15, 2006, 09:27 PM
said the jury sent a clear message about when it is, and is not, appropriate to use deadly force.

Clear as mud!:cuss:

So having two dogs come at you and a guy charging you despite knowing you have a gun in your hand is not the time for self defense? you need to wait untill you have a screwdriver in your chest and a dog at your throat?

Most of my life has been spent in NY and SF and sooooo many people think crazy homeless people need to be coddled and that they are some how noble because they are smelly and crazy and can not mind their own business.

ball3006
June 16, 2006, 11:29 AM
I haven't seen a dog yet that will continue to approach you after you placed a shot between their front legs......chris3

NavajoNPaleFace
June 16, 2006, 11:38 AM
This case was well publicized when it first happened many months ago.

Even with his live accounts to the news media it was quite clear his justifications were iffy at best.

From what I hear my impression is that his was a bad shoot and he deserves whatever the courts muster out to him.

Just so everyone knows the guy shot at (or hit) the dogs and the dead dogs' owner came running and screaming at the shooter.

Although I would agree the shooter MIGHT have had justification to shoot the dogs at no time was a weapon seen in the hands of the, now, dead guy (nor were there any words given to indicate the shooter could've reasonably and prudently believed the dead guy even had one on him), and with Arizona state law, doesn't justify the use of deadly force.

The article left out many, many facts about the case that was made public and known back in 2004 when the incident happened.

To me it is not sufficient to be allowed to just shoot an irrate dog owner that, albeit dumb, comes running at you screaming.

The conviction is not ridiculous.

WT
June 16, 2006, 12:01 PM
Well, it looks like the shooter screwed the pooch.

Snake Eyes
June 16, 2006, 12:02 PM
...the guy shot at (or hit) the dogs and the dead dogs' owner came running and screaming at the shooter.

No, he did NOT. Fish fired a "warning" shot to scare/stop the charging dogs. The really funny thing is: when every one is justifying his conviction, they always throw in "...there weren't any dead dogs or injuries...". The guy was trying to AVOID killing initially.
it is not sufficient to be allowed to just shoot an irrate dog owner that, albeit dumb, comes running at you screaming.

How about running at you screaming that he's going to kill you, which is what Fish testified to?
and with Arizona state law, doesn't justify the use of deadly force
Wrong. You only have to be in "reasonable fear for your life or grave bodily harm". Some one running up a trail at me, in the woods, screaming like a madman that he is going to kill me, AFTER he KNOWS I HAVE A GUN would make me fear for my life.

Further, the whole altercation took place in 4 seconds. Dog charge, warning shot, Kuenzli charge, 3 shots COM. FOUR SECONDS! That's about 2.5 Tueller drills. Try it at home with your dogs, Cosmoline, (I've seen pictures of those animals) and tell me you think a reasonable man wouldn't be in fear for his life.

FWIW, the news reports I heard yesterday seem to indicate that the prosecutor fixated on the fact that Fish fired 3 rounds into Kuenzli and that 2 of the 3 were "fatal" shots, ergo, Fish was not defending himself because he fired more rounds than strictly necessary to stop the threat.

Of course, how you determine, under adreneline dump, that the first two rounds (fired in ~<1second) are sufficient, the prosecutor failed to demonstrate and Fish's attorney failed to defend.

Creeping Incrementalism
June 16, 2006, 12:22 PM
There are enough facts in the accounts to raise my brows a bit. No bites, no dead dogs, no weapon in the dead man's hands. I think you could call that murder. There is at least a jury question. The excluded evidence probably should have come in, and I think he has some strong appeal points. The possibility of a deadly weapon on the victim's person tends to bolster the claim that he posed an imminent deadly threat, even if the shooter didn't see it. The past psychotic behavior of the victim would also tend to lend credibility to the defendant's version.

Cosmoline, I don't know anything about this other than what has been presented in this thread, but everything seems to follow the shooter's account. Also, I don't know what the deal with having to have a weapon is. Hands and fingers, elbows, knees, feet, and foreheads are weapons that frequently cause great bodily harm or death.

Warren
October 8, 2006, 02:31 AM
Just watched an NBC news special on this case, and yes Fish got screwed over.

Maybe his lawyers cvould have done better I don't know.

They interviewed two of the eight jurors, one was an IT guy and the other...a teacher. And she had the lack of reasoning ability I've come to expect from teachers.

Part of what got her to vote quilty was the fact that Fish used HP ammo. I do not see how that in any way was relavent to the case.

The prosecutor should not have been able to raise that issue or the defense should have a done a better job of showing ammo choice did not matter.

Also the judge let the prosecution present all manners of evidence showing that Grant Kuenzli was a great guy, never hurt a fly type of person. However the defense was very limited in rebuting that characterzation by the judge.

How is that fair?

So we had a headline grabbing DA pandering to a jury, some of whom could not think their way out of a paper bag, put an innocent man in jail.

Hopefully, the appeals process will work out in Fish's favor.

Liberal Gun Nut
October 8, 2006, 02:53 AM
Doesn't sound ridiculous to me. Sounds very possible that it was a heated argument about "you better control your dogs', "oh yeah, you better control your dogs", "oh yeah...", which ended with a pistol shot. I could buy that, and it sounds like the jury did too.

tulsamal
October 8, 2006, 03:26 AM
Coconino County Attorney Terry Hance said he thinks the verdict "reflects the sentiment of the community" about the case.

And here all this time I thought a verdict was supposed to "reflect the law" rather than public sentiment!

Pretty bad when even the county attorney basically says you were tried in the court of public opinion rather than in the courtroom based on the law.

Gregg

strambo
October 8, 2006, 05:46 AM
No bites, no dead dogs, no weapon in the dead man's hands.I wasn't there, so I'll not comment on the case, but start a general discussion. It is disturbing that wounds on "victims" are often required as "proof" that they were attacked, or in fear for their lives. The law has no requirement that you be wounded, or that there is obvious, incontrovertible evidence that the BG can carry out his threat...just that a "reasonable" person would be in fear for their life in the same situation.

Ironically, the better you get at recognizing deadly force situations and the better trained you are, the less likely it is that you will sustain injuries while defending yourself. Should you stall and wait for the weapon to come out...let them "get a shot" in? Maybe your "Kung Fu" is good enough to maneuver so as to be stabbed (or bit) in a non-vital loction to help you with "problem #2" in the court before you take him out.:scrutiny:

strambo
October 8, 2006, 05:49 AM
I could buy that, and it sounds like the jury did too.I could "buy" just about any explanation that does not defy the laws of physics or go against everything known about human behavior.

However, our laws say you are innocent until "proven" guilty. Yardstick for "proven guilty" is beyond a reasonable doubt. "Yeah, I could buy that" hardly sounds like meeting that standard. The idea is to err on the side of innocence in such matters, not err on the side of "guilty" just because the prosecutor's "theory" of motivation and justification for the charges is plausable.

Biker
October 8, 2006, 07:58 AM
It appears to me that Fish let his anger get the best of him and was too quick on the trigger. Just because you have a gun, doesn't mean you have to use it.

Biker

MDG1976
October 8, 2006, 10:05 AM
I saw the NBC show and I think he got screwed. A juror (a female tracher) said one reason they convicted him was because he used HP ammo which was "designed to kill". Fish, a 57 year old teacher with 7 kids and no criminal history, had 10 people testify that the BG was prone to sudden outbursts of violent behavior. The BG was homeless, on anti-depressants at the time of the incident, and had a long crimiminal history including 2 restraining orders from an ex girlfriend. Fish tended to the BG after he shot him and hailed down a car to call an ambulance. I think what we have here is a ignorant and biased jury. The only mistake I can see is that Fish talked to the police without "lawering up" first.

brerrabbit
October 8, 2006, 01:56 PM
I have to go with biker on this one. Not seeing any other evidence other than testimony by the survivor,,,

AndyC
October 8, 2006, 02:01 PM
Saw it last night on TV. Yeah, I think the point that he used HP ammo counted against him in the eyes of the jury was ridiculous and should have been better explained by the defense.

I also don't like the fact that talking to the police without a lawyer counts in your favour, as far as the jury was concerned.

However, my personal belief is that it was a confrontation between two individuals, neither of whom were willing to back down and one got shot as a result. Bad shoot, IMO, and a bad situation for anyone to have been in.

El Tejon
October 8, 2006, 02:07 PM
Wow, this story blew multiple THR myths out of the water!!!:D

1) Problem #2 does exist. It is a reality and not El Tejon's fantasy that you can go to jail for shooting someone. Imagine that!

2) Ammo selection may be a big, big factor to a jury. Let me repeat that: ammo selection may be a big, big factor to a jury. I hope poor Mr. Ayoob, who has received so much grief from the Order of the Keyboard Commando of THR, comes on by and gives us other cases where this has happened.

To those that continually ask about "case law" for this proposition, well, you can write this case down.:)

3) The police do not view CCWers as good people. If you shoot a fellow human being you are prey and not subject to a community service award as many on THR believe. Do not run your mouth.

BTW, this case is not ridiculous. It is what can happen and what usually happens when you kill fellow human beings. Do not think that just because you carry a pistol that you are Batman and immune for the harm you cause for using your pistol.

Helmetcase
October 8, 2006, 02:17 PM
It just doesn't smell right to me (the shooter's side of the story).

I can see why it would have been tough to convince a jury that his life was really in danger; not saying I'd have voted to convict, but I am saying I wouldn't shoot in that situation, if for no other reason than it's too damn easy to see how a jury wouldn't think you were really defending your life.

Don Gwinn
October 8, 2006, 02:23 PM
They interviewed two of the eight jurors, one was an IT guy and the other...a teacher. And she had the lack of reasoning ability I've come to expect from teachers.
Yes, she was wrong because she is a teacher. Just like the shooter is in the wrong because he is also a teacher and therefore his ability to reason is . . . . hey, wait . . . .

I just found out yesterday that I'm officially a "Highly Qualified Teacher" under the No Child Left Behind Act . . . . and I was planning to use power tools later today. Maybe I should rethink that.

Beren
October 8, 2006, 02:25 PM
I have to go with biker on this one. Not seeing any other evidence other than testimony by the survivor,,,

However, my personal belief

Your suppositions as a juror are irrelevant. If it isn't demonstrated beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused is guilty, then the accused is innocent. Facts should guide a jury's decision, not bias or "what if" scenarios unsupported by testimony or physical evidence.

The "HP ammo is designed to kill" issue is one that the defense attorney should've been able to put down. Are the police in that jurisdiction issuing HP ammo? If so, are they "intending to kill" anyone they shoot?

As a reasonable man, I can see why a 59 year-old man would be in fear for his life upon being charged by two dogs and a screaming wildman. What's he supposed to do, wait until his skull is cracked open and his brains are leaking out? Wait until the wildman knocks him down and the dogs are gnawing on him?

Does physical evidence exist to categorically disprove his accounting of events?

Best of luck to the victim on his appeal.

Zonamo
October 8, 2006, 02:25 PM
I think the prosecution was politically motivated to try and skirt AZ's new law on standing one's ground.

Just to be precise, Arizona has always been a "stand your ground" state.

§13-411. Justification; use of force in crime prevention
A. A person is justified in threatening or using both physical force and deadly physical force against another if and to the extent the person reasonably believes that physical force or deadly physical force is immediately necessary to prevent the other's commission of arson of an occupied structure under section 13-1704, burglary in the second or first degree under section 13-1507 or 13-1508, kidnapping under section 13-1304, manslaughter under section 13-1103, second or first degree murder under section 13-1104 or 13-1105, sexual conduct with a minor under section 13-1405, sexual assault under section 13-1406, child molestation under section 13-1410, armed robbery under section 13-1904, or aggravated assault under section 13-1204, subsection A, paragraphs 1 and 2.

B. There is no duty to retreat before threatening or using deadly physical force justified by subsection A of this section.

The recent change in the law had to do with "affirmative defense."

Prior to the change, you could be required to prove in court that your actions were justified. After the change in the law, the court must prove your actions were unjustified. Here is the revised law with changes in blue:

§13-205 Affirmative defenses; burden of proof
A. Except as otherwise provided by law, a defendant shall prove any affirmative defense raised by a preponderance of the evidence. Justification defenses under chapter 4 of this title are not affirmative defenses. Justification defenses describe conduct that, if not justified, would constitute an offense but, if justified, does not constitute criminal or wrongful conduct. If evidence of justification pursuant to chapter 4 of this title is presented by the defendant, the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant did not act with justification.

As for the case in question, it was prosecuted before the change in the law.

brerrabbit
October 8, 2006, 02:34 PM
Beren

Hate to say it but the victim is dead. This was not a good shoot. The lack of injury to the dogs and to the shooter say a lot.

Whether or not the state has to prove a case now is irrevelant. at the time of the shootings, the shooter had to prove that it was a good shoot. That is why he was convicted

Even under current law, it still reeks of a bad shoot.

cropcirclewalker
October 8, 2006, 02:34 PM
I just watched portions of the broadcast again to reinforce what I thought I heard them say last night.

The prosecution argued that the piece Fish was carrying (a 10mm) was MUCH more powerful than what most police officers carry.

So, I guess if he had been carrying a .40 then that argument wouldn't have come up?

I thought a .40 and a 10mm were like identical. :confused:

jerkface11
October 8, 2006, 02:38 PM
2) Ammo selection may be a big, big factor to a jury. Let me repeat that: ammo selection may be a big, big factor to a jury. I hope poor Mr. Ayoob, who has received so much grief from the Order of the Keyboard Commando of THR, comes on by and gives us other cases where this has happened.

Let's see Mr. Ayoob says not to use HANDLOADS for self defense. I've never heard anything about him saying not to use HOLLOW POINTS. So how exactly does that pertain to this case?

Biker
October 8, 2006, 02:49 PM
I watched the special on TV last night at a Bro's house. Fish's entire story reeked when the physical evidence is taken into account.
Of the two dogs, one was described as "passive" and the other was a "fear biter". Fear biters do not attack, they flee and bite only when cornered.
The attacker had gunshot wounds in his hands that would indicate that he was covering up when shot.
Do we really want to live in a society in which a man can be shot for yelling because he was in fear for his dog's life, said dogs who were no real threat to begin with?
Fish did not act in a manner that another reasonable man might act. Would a reasonable person shoot another man for yelling at him?
*That's* the salient point in this case.

Biker

strambo
October 8, 2006, 03:02 PM
The lack of injury to the dogs and to the shooter say a lot.
Why should that say anything at all? You can defend yourself...but don't be too good at it.:uhoh: I hope not to be injured if I have to use deadly force to protect myself. That is the point isn't it? To keep from being injured? Couldn't the 1st injury you sustain be a fatal one?

He could have gunned this guy down just because he was mad...he could have been in fear for his life, either way a lack of injury to him doesn't mean much. This reasoning could result in a lot of good people going to jail for manslaughter just because they can effectively protect themselves.

cropcirclewalker
October 8, 2006, 03:06 PM
Mr. Biker,

If one dog was passive and the other was a "fear biter" what would cause them to go running after Fish?

Wouldn't they have been running away?

So I suspect that because of the character of the dogs that this is what really happened.

Fish comes hiking down out of the woods.

The two weenie dogs see him, panic and run away.

Kuenzli sees his dogs run away and feels so bad that he tries to run away too and as a result Fish feels so overconfident that he hauls out his piece and whacks Kuenzli, who is prolly on his knees and holding his hands up in a defensive manner.

I figgered this all out by knowing that passive and fear biting dogs will not pack up and attack.

brerrabbit
October 8, 2006, 03:11 PM
Strambo

My primary home defense weapon is a 12 guage shottie. but I am semi proficient with many handguns.

If I was attacked by dogs, followed by a man. I would handle first things first. The nearest threat gets handled first. There would be at least one dead dog on the ground before the dog owner was shot.

The defensive wounds that were incurred by the actual victim say a lot.

The story does not stand up to scrutiny based on the evidence.

This is not an argument about being too good about shooting. If it were, the dogs would have been dead.

cropcirclewalker
October 8, 2006, 03:24 PM
This is not an argument about being too good about it. If it were, the dogs would have been dead. I can only assume that you did not see the piece last night.

According to Fish, the dogs started running toward him, barking and flashing teeth. Fish being reasonable and not interested in killing strange dogs, fired one shot into the ground. The dogs, being reasonable and not wanting to get shot, peeled off.

Kuenzil, not being very reasonable, freaks and starts running toward Fish, shouting inintelligible threatening like comments and waving his arms.

After Fish stops the most iminent threat was he then supposed to hunt down and shoot the dogs?

That doesn't sound very reasonable.

Biker
October 8, 2006, 03:24 PM
According to Fish's own testimony, the dogs weren't running *after* Fish, they were running *to* him - in other words, doing what dogs do. If he felt threatened by the dogs, he would've shot them judging by his actions as they concern the deceased.
Let me know when you decide to post something worth reading.
I'm guessing that your previous post was made in jest.

Biker

WayneConrad
October 8, 2006, 03:33 PM
At the time Fish was convicted, Arizona law had a horrible provision that placed the burden of proof on Fish. Yep, you heard that right. In self defense cases, you first had to admit to the murder, and then prove that it was justified.

We've since gotten rid of that. The burden of proof is once again on the state. Fish appealed on the basis that the the new law should apply to his case. I believe that the court rejected his application.

So, before you're quick to judge Fish because a jury found him guilty, remember that the deck was stacked in favor of the prosecution.

cropcirclewalker
October 8, 2006, 03:52 PM
Mr. Biker,

Yes, I try at times to be Jesty.

But....I know what dogs do. I don't know if you are the same kind of biker as me, but I have ridden thousands (maybe 10s of thousands) of miles on my bicycle. I have been chased (maybe miles) by dogs. I have only been bitten once.

I can tell when a dog just wants to be friends and when it is protecting it's turf and or when it wants to bite me.

The dog running up to you with a stick in it's mouth is not going to bite. The dog showing you his teeth might. Most people can tell the difference.

I also own dogs which I like to keep around the home place to let me know when we have company coming down the drive.

Normal reasonable dogs will not run at a stranger barking and flashing their teeth unless they think they can get away with it. My dogs stand on the porch or in the drive and bark and raise their danders (Fur on the back of their necks).

They do not attack. Sometimes they growl when a stranger walks up to the porch but they don't flash their teeth.

I am of the opinion that discharging one round into the ground was a very reasonable response.

Finally, whether the dogs were attacking or playing fetch doesn't matter. They were not under control, Fish turned them and they went away.

The only part they played in this tradgedy is that because of their actions, a reasonable guy made a reasonable response which pushed a guy with questionable "Reason" over the edge.

In conclusion, I won't say that your posts are "Not worth reading", but perhaps they could have been better reasoned.

Socrates
October 8, 2006, 04:09 PM
I believe the Constitution prohibits Ex Post Facto laws, laws that apply retroactively, regardless of what the state of AZ says. Judge, or appellate level, are likely NOT going to get overturned.

I have a hard time with this one. If the dogs had bit Fish, better case. How big are the dogs? The fact that they turned, and didn't attack, makes it hard to believe he felt the dogs threatened his life.

I've often felt I might have to take actual physical harm to justify the use of a firearm to defend myself, particularly in Kali. Also, it's about the only way to know if the guy is just running his mouth, or intent on doing you bodily harm.

Besides, getting punched is a bit different from being in fear for your life.

My girlfriend hates homeless people. She's walking down 7th street in San Francisco, and some guy steps out, and punches her in the face, for no reason. He wasn't trying to kill her, just felt like punching a 95 pound, 5'2" girl in the face today. Maybe figured it was better in jail then on the street, and was trying to get there. He got away with it.

There are some VERY scary people on the street. One guy I tried to keep incarcerated, shot a police officer, and, shot and killed a police dog in Golden Gate park. 20+ pages of rap sheet. Pretty much said if he gets off his meds, he goes crazy, on a consistent basis. Psychiatrist, and defense attorney STILL wanted the guy free after 6 years, so he could go out, get off his meds, and go crazy again. Guess you have to kill someone before they keep you in for life...

Told both the shrink and the defense attorney, same guy that got Dan White off with the twinkie defense, I'd like the guy to move in next door to them...;)

All that said, I suspect the physical evidence might have told a different story then the TV show, concerning Fish. I sure hope so...

The issue really is if Fish had a reasonable fear for his life, I guess. Having to prove that is NOT a position he should have been in, in the first place.

MOST laws are written that self-defense is either based on a reasonable person standard, it's reasonable for you to believe your life is threatened, based on what a normal person would believe in the situation, or, the lower standard, that all you have to believe is that your life is threatened, and only your state of mind matters.

Appears AZ had a much higher one, that you have to PROVE that your life was threatened. NOW, the question becomes what the standard of proof is.
Is it beyond a reasonable doubt? Which is like 75% certain? That's the usual
level of proof required for the state to convict.

That's VERY hard to do, with no weapon, in play, no dog attack, etc.

S

PS
Picked Socrates, because I'm a teacher, Special ed. I've had to face a number of irate students, that came very close, and, appeared intent on attacking me. NONE have. (High school level, San Francisco, Balboa High School, takes all the worst kids in the Bay area, that have been kicked out for guns, and drugs, who take BART to school, or, local gang kids, mainly).I have little doubt that I would have to be struck, at least, prior to being able to defend myself. I also have little doubt a weapon would have to be present, as well.

Biker
October 8, 2006, 04:10 PM
Apologies, cropcirclewalker, of course your posts are "worth reading". Poor choice of words on my part.
Chalk it up to frustration - shootings such as this make it harder for all of us, IMO.
It seems that many on this board only have hammers and every problem is a nail.
BTW, I ride a Harley and have owned dogs all my life although I enjoy my bicycle.
I still disagree with you, but I figure I owe ya a brew...

Biker:)

Nio
October 8, 2006, 04:21 PM
It seems to me that this case is a very good argument for pepper spray. If Mr. Fish had an intermediate weapon, he might not be in prison today.

Nio

cropcirclewalker
October 8, 2006, 04:42 PM
Yo, Mr. Biker,

Hey, no problemo.........except NO DIET BEER. :barf:

I watched the piece twice because I was trying to see if there was an underlying anti-gun theme and since the show was also dealing with the CO and PA school shootings.

The most immediate conclusion I drew from the hiker piece was that it was an excellent argument for the Three S principle (shoot, shovel and shut up) or at least Fish would have been better off if he just went on down the path since his cell wouldn't work.

I guess then I sort of got contrary when there were posts here demanding that the only proof that a person is reasonable is if there is a trail of dead bodies (both dog and man), blood and tooth marks.

Fish walks along and encounters the guy camping with his dogs.

He (Fish) holds up his hand with an open palm toward as a symbol of peace (for thousands of years recognized as such) and non aggression.

The dogs attack (dogs are pack animals and will develope a pack mentality regardless of their individual characteristics) and Fish makes a reasonable response and successfully turns away the attack.

The crazy guy erupts as he had apparently done before and breaks the law of natural selection.

Fish gets to go to the slammer.

Too bad.

River Wraith
October 8, 2006, 05:28 PM
What a load of garbage. I hope it's overturned on appeal. Looks like the prosecutor had rather the guy let the so called "victim" sic his dogs on the man and stab him to death with the screwdriver.

MDG1976
October 8, 2006, 05:37 PM
What's he supposed to do, wait until his skull is cracked open and his brains are leaking out? Wait until the wildman knocks him down and the dogs are gnawing on him?

This is exactley what the jury wanted him to do. As well as the guy from NBC who was doing the interview. He asked Fish, "The gun is heavy, why didn't you hit him with it instead of shooting him?" (although that statement seems totally insane, I did not make it up). To which Fish replied, "I didn't think of that." Not a good response.

But....I know what dogs do. I don't know if you are the same kind of biker as me, but I have ridden thousands (maybe 10s of thousands) of miles on my bicycle. I have been chased (maybe miles) by dogs. I have only been bitten once.
I can tell when a dog just wants to be friends and when it is protecting it's turf and or when it wants to bite me.
The dog running up to you with a stick in it's mouth is not going to bite. The dog showing you his teeth might. Most people can tell the difference.

I too have ridden tens of thousands of miles on a bicycle in my life. And I have been chased many, many, many times and bitten once by dogs. On a bike, I can out run any dog (the one time I was bit was on a super steep hill). I've also run many many miles in my life (when I have no chance of out running a dog). Nothing will make your blood turn ice cold like the sudden realization that a dog has just decided to have you for lunch. Maybe the adrenaline rush of the charging dogs angered Fish and made him shoot the guy. I doubt it, though. He's what happened:
-Fish came around a ben on a trail and startled Kuenzil and his dogs.
-The dogs charged Fish.
-Fish fired a shot and the dogs got scared and peeled off. At this point, both parties are fired up.
-Kuenzil was enraged by this (he was prone to sudden fits of rage) and charged Fish.
-Fish feared for his life and shot Kuenzil.
One key bit that was missing from the show was how far Fish & Kuenzil were apart when Fish shot. Was Kuenzil close enough to Fish for Fish to fears for his life?

meef
October 8, 2006, 05:51 PM
You can get more details after 24 hours from this link:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15174955/

I came in late on the show and unfortunately didn't get to see all of it. However, one of the main things that caught my attention was Dateline's interview with a couple of the jury members after the fact. The shooter used a 10mm pistol with hollowpoints. The lady jury member was a bit horrified that someone should use such a powerful weapon loaded with bullets that were obviously meant to kill....:confused:

*** lady?.. There's another kind?

At any rate, without trying to recreate the whole show with what portion I saw, this conviction demonstrated to me that even if you are involved in a righteous shooting (I believe this one was - and there's a poll on the link where 75% of the viewers agree) you can not necessarily expect to receive justice from a jury of your "peers".

What really sucks is that the deceased had a well-documented history of violent outbursts and behavior, but that was not admissible because it wasn't relevant to this instance - so sayeth the legal system.....:cuss:

A father of 7, a school teacher with no criminal record whatsoever now goes to jail for 10 years for defending his life (so he claims to have believed) with a firearm.

Food for thought to those who carry.

meef
October 8, 2006, 05:58 PM
MDG1976:As well as the guy from NBC who was doing the interview. He asked Fish, "The gun is heavy, why didn't you hit him with it instead of shooting him?" (although that statement seems totally insane, I did not make it up).Agreed... that is an insane statement, for a number of reasons. And for Fish, just another potential lose/lose situation in this scenario.

So maybe he hits him with the pistol. The pistol goes off and once again, the assailant ends up dead. Fish gets charged with negligent homicide most likely.

Win/win for the DA. He still gets to prosecute and receive publicity for his valiant crime fighting stance.

On the other hand, if the nutjob gained control of the pistol, killed Fish - likely he's going on his merry freaking violence-prone way and saying nothing to anyone. Poor Fish..... loses yet again.

:banghead:

I know, I know. Lots of speculation on my part. I just think justice was poorly served in this instance.

:mad:

m1aman
October 8, 2006, 06:01 PM
what bugs me is the idea that because the attacker wasn't armed fish shouldn't have used his weapon to defend himself.

are people saying that if your attacker isn't armed than you have to keep your pistol holstered and take a beating?

c_yeager
October 8, 2006, 06:01 PM
Doesn't sound ridiculous to me. Sounds very possible that it was a heated argument about "you better control your dogs', "oh yeah, you better control your dogs", "oh yeah...", which ended with a pistol shot. I could buy that, and it sounds like the jury did too.

Yeah, good thing the burdon of proof for a murder conviction is not "I could buy that". Show me where it was *PROVEN* beyond a reasonable doubt.

Warren
October 8, 2006, 06:39 PM
Why is it that a strong defense of Fish, equates in some posters' minds, with a desire to be be 'Batman' or to to see every problem as a 'nail'?

This is not the case AT ALL.

I wish that Grant Kuenzli had not been harmed that day. However he created the circumstances that led to his demise. It was his fault.

The prosecutor was not pursuing justice he was just after a conviction. He had help with the gullible jurors whim he misled into voting his way.

And I agree this is bad for us because it shows prosecuters that if they just bend the facts enough and introduce enough non relevant information they can get a conviction.

meef
October 8, 2006, 06:43 PM
And I agree this is bad for us because it shows prosecuters that if they just bend the facts enough and introduce enough non relevant information they can get a conviction.Heh.....

Warren. Believe me, that's not a concept that just suddenly occured to prosecutors with the advent of this trial.

:(

MDG1976
October 8, 2006, 07:16 PM
I forgot to add: one juror suggested that Fish should have done more to save the guy after he shot him. ***? He's not a doctor. What have we learned from this case?

-Carry a .22 loaded with FMJs
-Use the gun as a club before firing it
-always have a witness around when you have to defend yourself
-go to med school & learn to care for gun shot wounds

One legitamite statement: my CCW instructor said NEVER talk to the cops if you have to shoot. Always get a lawyer first.

Biker
October 8, 2006, 09:02 PM
River Wraith...

Where did you get the impression that Kuenzil sicced his dogs on Fish and threatened Fish with a screwdriver? No evidence exists to indicate that either happened, according to Fish.

Folks, it's a sad state of affairs when an American male feels justified in shooting another man just because he's being yelled at.

When out in the boonies, it's normal to meet unleashed dogs and most will run up to you as dogs do. If you shoot at my dog for doing so, you can bet your keester I'm going to get in your face and you'd *best not* draw a gun on me.

What the hell ever happened to common sense and testicles? It's alright to shoot a man because he's yelling at you?

Good Lord...Fish's story is a sad one but the fact is, he put three bullets in a man who was pissed at him because he shot at his dogs.
Have we become such a pussified nation that shooting a man who is verbally confronting you is an accepted practice?
Unbelievable...

Biker

progunner1957
October 8, 2006, 09:25 PM
what bugs me is the idea that because the attacker wasn't armed fish shouldn't have used his weapon to defend himself.

are people saying that if your attacker isn't armed than you have to keep your pistol holstered and take a beating?

If an unarmed attacker charges me when I have my weapon pointed at him, this tells me one thing: He intends to take the weapon away from me and kill me with it. Why Fish did not scream this from the rooftops is beyond me.
The prosecutor was not pursuing justice he was just after a conviction. He had help with the gullible jurors whim he misled into voting his way.
And...So we had a headline grabbing DA pandering to a jury, some of whom could not think their way out of a paper bag, put an innocent man in jail.
That was exactly my take on it.
Saw it last night on TV. Yeah, I think the point that he used HP ammo counted against him in the eyes of the jury was ridiculous and should have been better explained by the defense.
The prosecutor sang and danced about the HydraShok HPs; if Fish's gun had been loaded with FMJ and he would have had to shoot the attacker 6 or 8 times to stop him, the prosecutor would have sang and danced about that instead.

What "message" did this sleazy prosecutor and the ignorant, gullible jury send? This: "You may get a CCW permit and have the 'right' to use deadly force to defend your life, but if you do so, you'll wish you had just endured the attack instead."

I'm taking Masaad Ayoob's "Judicious Use of Deadly Force" (LFI-1) class ASAP.

Brass Fetcher
October 8, 2006, 09:28 PM
Not passing judgement on Fish's actions (or the lunatic idea that he should have used his gun as a hammer) , but are there times in your opinion when hand-to-hand is more appropriate?

Having been in two fair fights with no weapons, I recall getting about as much beating as I gave.

Would the jury have looked at this case differently if Fish had used his weak arm as a 'chew toy' for the dogs while pulling his gun?

Biker
October 8, 2006, 09:58 PM
Medulla O...

Nothing blowhard about it. I will get square in your rectum if you unjustifiably shoot at my dogs. Most Idahoans would. Don't much matter to me if you believe that or not. Then again, most Idahoans have enough common sense not to shoot at domestic dogs in the boonies and enough cojones to face up to another man without shooting him for no good reason.

Biker

MDG1976
October 8, 2006, 10:29 PM
"what would you have him do, take a beating and have his brains leaking out before he used deadly force?"

I guess I will have to be the first to say it, but, YES. Taking the life of another is the LAST thing you do, not the first.

The problem with this arguement is that the victim in this type of situation has no idea if he is going to "take a beating" or get killed. Can you honestly say that Fish should have gone hand-to-hand with this guy before shooting? What you you have done?

Warren
October 8, 2006, 10:44 PM
Good Lord...Fish's story is a sad one but the fact is, he put three bullets in a man who was pissed at him because he shot at his dogs.
Have we become such a pussified nation that shooting a man who is verbally confronting you is an accepted practice?
Unbelievable...

Uncontrolled, frightening dogs. And not just verbally. There was a physical threat as well.

Everyone's sense of RAID is different.

You may not have shot, I may not have shot. Fish did shoot because in his mind he had a reasonable fear of being harmed or killed.

You cannot apply your standards to this situation without being unfair to Fish.


I believe he was in mortal fear for his life, he shot to stop that threat. This does not merit a 10 year, no parole, sentence.

Had it been a fair trial he would have been aquitted.


Fish stopped the threat by using a firearm. What if instead he used a walking stick to poke the charging Kuenzli in the chest to ward him off? And what if do to bad luck Kuenzli suffered a mortal injury as a result?

Would we even be talking about this case? I doubt it would have even gone to trial.

It likely would have been written off as mis-adventure. But because a firearm and a CCWer were involved it became political and we have the result we have.

MDG1976
October 8, 2006, 10:46 PM
So you are saying you should just shoot because there is a "chance" that he might get a beating, that he might get killed?

100% Yes. If someone is a split second away from attacking you and you think that they "might" kill you you should shoot.

Taking a life is the last thing to do. After your head is split open, after your teeth are knocked out, AFTER the screwdriver is pulled, or a jury is going to convict you because you are "trigger happy."

You're right in that it would look better to a jury to have fired only after a physical confrontation. However, it is not a realistic scenario. The purpose of CCW is not to have a weapon as backup if you can't handle your attacker's assault. The purpose is to use the weapon to avoid the attack in the first place.

Warren
October 8, 2006, 10:54 PM
How long does it take to go from 'not in a fight' to 'just lost a fight and are now incapable of defending yourself'? And where in that progression do you get a chance to draw your gun? And can you count on getting that chance?


This case is right on that razor's edge of legality, ethics and morality AND tactics.

MDG1976
October 8, 2006, 10:59 PM
How long does it take to go from 'not in a fight' to 'just lost a fight and are now incapable of defending yourself'? And where in that progression do you get a chance to draw your gun? And can you count on getting that chance?

Well said.

Biker
October 8, 2006, 11:08 PM
When did the men of America go from *maybe* taking a bloody lip to shooting another man because they *might* take a bloody lip?
This is not a rhetorical question.

Biker

Warren
October 8, 2006, 11:32 PM
What is the difference in inches and force applied between getting a bloody lip and getting a cracked skull or a blinded eye?

Again do you recognize that there might be difference between you getting in a fight and a rather frail 57 year old man? You might be able to survive a myriad of situations that Mr. Fish could not.

cropcirclewalker
October 8, 2006, 11:33 PM
I can't believe that I am reading this.

Why is it that we mourn the loss of our dogs more than we mourn the loss of our loved ones.

Well, Maybe just me.

I lost both my parents, one at a time. My mother from a chronic disease from which she suffered for like 35 years. My father from a heart attack while he was in his 80s.

Both of those losses were heart rending, but, not unexpected.

Charley, the corn dog, (I got him in Iowa) my weiner dog was a constant companion for more than 14 years. The unconditional love that a dog has for it's master is a marvel. Dogs know when you stumble over them or when you kick them from a bad day at the office.

I cried like a baby when I lost the Corn Dog. Yes, I know the loss of a loved pet.

My daughter bought a replacement dog for me. She sensed my loss.

Buck was a Bloodhound/Rotweiller cross. Hard to imagine? Yes.

He was nothing like the corn dog. The corn dog hated the UPS man and the Postman. He would set up such a racket when the UPS truck was even in the neighborhood that I knew what was up.

Buck?

Laid sleeping on the porch. The UPS truck drives up.....Buck would open one eye, lift his head slightly, look at the truck, lower his head and go back to sleep. I guess it was the Bloodhound in him.

Since I lived on 90 acres in the woods, a friend in the big city asked if I would adopt his dog, which he had bought for his children and turned out to be too big and otherwise much for a standard city sized lot.

Buster was a Malamute, Wolf like mongrel that was very assertive of his personal space. He was not aggressive. He was assertive.

I had to hook up his collar and drag him into the truck. He went but not without some resistance.

Time passes.

So, Buck and Buster formed this exploring/hiking society.

Down here in the Ozarks there are lots of guys that run cattle.

Hard as it is for me to imagine, there are farmers down here that just naturally and without rancor shoot any loose dog that they may see on their land.

They run cattle.

They think that loose dogs run the meat off their cattle.

They shoot any dog that they see on their land.

Buster and Buck went hiking one Sunday Morning and never came back.

Hey, they are dogs. It's not their fault. They're dogs.

Life is hard. Then you die.

If you all out there think that I will fly off the handle, wave my arms, shout, make threatening gestures, charge and run at the farmer that whacked my dogs then you must be living in the big city where life is good and no harm comes to any living thing.

Sort of like utopia.

Grow up.

edited because thinking about the corn dog and buck made me forget what I was trying to say.

These dogs that allegedly attacked Fish were not even the crazy guy's dogs. He was walking them as a service for the local shelter.

Yes, we all love our dogs and yes, we may take their safety to be as important as our own, but please do not forget that these alleged dogs (that Fish did not shoot AT only into the ground to discourage) were not threatened and they were not His.

This guy was a wacko. He was crazy.

All of us who were walking a dog that was not ours and because of which we had no emotional connection and would yet, charge yelling, waving our arms, making threatening gestures and otherwise challenging the safety into the prescence of an obviously armed stranger who had just discharged a round into the ground, please raise your hands and take one step forward.

.
.
.
.
That's what I thought.

The Real Hawkeye
October 8, 2006, 11:59 PM
I guess it all depends. If, hypothetically, I was walking with my two friendly golden retrievers off leash in the woods, and unexpectedly a lone hiker comes around the corner, my dogs first reaction would be to run towards him in greeting. Knowing how some people react to large dogs running towards them, I would attempt to rush in the same direction in the hopes of grabbing their collars before my dogs got shot by some nut with an itchy trigger finger. That could be misinterpreted as two dogs attacking, and my joining in the attack, I guess. That, in my opinion would be a very bad shoot, though. You have to use some judgment in distinguishing between friendly dogs and attacking dogs, it seems to me. It could be, however, that this was indeed a case of "sickem," with the dog owner joining in on the attack. I wasn't there. Hard to make the judgment call on just the description provided in the starting post.

.45&TKD
October 9, 2006, 12:21 AM
I would base my decision on the history of the 2 men.

The dead guy had a violent history coupled with mental illness.
The shooter was a model citizen.

If the dead guy had lived, who's story would you believe?

CliffH
October 9, 2006, 12:27 AM
http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/0324trailshooter24-ON.html
http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=117022

The case drew widespread attention after Coconino County investigators initially agreed that the shooting was justified. But Coconino County Attorney Terry Hance, after reviewing the evidence, decided to seek the second-degree murder charge against Fish.

http://m1911.blogspot.com/2006/08/injustice-in-arizona.html

...... in that brief moment, gun in hand, vicious dogs in the area, with limited mobility on the steep trail, a heavy pack on his back, and a large enraged man screaming death threats charging down upon him, Harold Fish had few options; he faced his attacker, gave verbal warnings, and at the last possible moment, since the crazed man made no indication of second thought or hesitation as he charged directly toward the still smoking muzzle of Fish's Kimber, Fish obeyed his training and pulled the trigger.

http://www.paysonroundup.com/section/frontpage_lead/story/23266

Of the 60 cases the NRA fund supports, Harold Fish is one of them, according to the Web site.

http://www.azcentral.com/specials/special21/articles/0601hikershooting01.html

Hance is being besieged by Arizonans demanding that charges be filed against Harold "Hal" Fish, 57, in the May 11 shooting of Grant Kuenzli.

The detectives said it was a justified shooting.

Kuenzli was running downhill, or "loping" according to the prosecution.

Fish had just fired one warning shot, not wanting to kill any of the dogs. Still has the pistol in his hand. Was he supposed to holster or throw it away?

Kuenzli was shot at close range, as in there were powder burns on him.

At first, Hance wasn't going to prosecute. After some residents started screaming "Guilty", he reversed his decision. Some say he's got a political career he's trying to enhance, which was what motivated his reversal.

The NRA must have figured the shooting was, or could be proven to be, a "good shooting" or else why would they have partially funded his defense?

Personally, I'm not going to try to hit someone with my gun. That's not what it's designed for. 'Sides, my normal carry is a S&W 642 - they'd just laugh.

Shoot at my dogs, we'll have words. Call me chicken or whatever else, I'm not going to charge someone with a weapon pointed at me and all I've got are my bare hands - that could be considered suicidal.

But, I'm not just going to stand there while some fool comes running at my loaded weapon hollering that he's going to kill me. I'm going to believe him. Especially if I've got maybe 3 or 4 seconds to try to determine if he's serious.

cropcirclewalker
October 9, 2006, 12:36 AM
Yes, Mr. Hawkeye, thank you for your contribution.

These two dogs were not the personal dogs of the crazy guy that got shot. He was walking dogs belonging to the shelter.

For all we know the crazy guy could have brought the dogs back to the shelter and then the shelter would have euthanized them.

These dogs were not the property of the crazy guy.

I know you must love and cherish the two golden labs that are yours.

I have a black lab, "Beaux" that I also love. I would have included my Lab mix "Buddy" as well, but I just lost him due to old age.

The emotional attachment which we apply to our own pets may have been a factor here.

I wonder what ever happened to these two dogs?

If there is anybody out there who knows?

I doubt it.

To summarize............

The crazy guy did not own these dogs. They were not his.

Please do not try to emphasize how you would have felt if a stranger would have shot a round into the ground in front of "Your dog Fluffy".

These were not His dogs.

beerslurpy
October 9, 2006, 12:36 AM
Excluded evidence and jury instructions are the things appeals are made of. Wait and see.

And it is a much bigger deal than you might think- if you exclude the right evidence, you can make the bad guy seem like an angel, make the guy defending himself look like he murdered someone in cold blood etc. Jury instructions go to the heart of what the jury considers before returning a verdict. For an obviously overturnable instruction, imagine if the judge said that the jury could only find self defense if the decedent-attacker had a drawn weapon.

meef
October 9, 2006, 01:55 AM
Let me see if I have what appear to be the facts straight here.

Fish has his pistol out and has fired a warning shot towards the dogs.

Nutjob rushes Fish even though he has a drawn pistol.

Fish has a couple of choices - A.) Holster the pistol (if there's time) and go into "fair fight" mode. Or.... B.) Shoot somebody who appears to be certifiably (or at least temporarily) insane in that he's rushing a drawn firearm.

Ummm.... so how many of the "fair fist fight" crowd here would be willing to bet their lives that the maniac wouldn't/couldn't take away your pistol and smoke you with it? :scrutiny:

Seems like this whole thing went down with very little time to weigh the consequences of "this action" vs. "that action". And the apparent reason for that is that Fish was being charged by someone in a rage.

So.... whenever a police officer has his weapon drawn and a suspect - who doesn't appear to be armed - charges him, the officer should holster his weapon and attempt to settle the issue man to man? I venture to guess that any cop you suggest that to would rightfully laugh in your face.

If some berserker came at me while I'm holding a pistol, I don't think a rational person would consider it unreasonable or unmanly of me to think he might just have killing me somewhere in his immediate game plan. And I'd be really hard pressed to say I'd want to take the gamble of losing my firearm to him and finding out. YMMV.

This wasn't about getting into a fight and taking some lumps. It was about possibly being disarmed and killed with one's own weapon.

At least that's my take with the facts I've seen so far.

CliffH
October 9, 2006, 02:26 AM
If some berserker came at me while I'm holding a pistol, I don't think a rational person would consider it unreasonable or unmanly of me to think he might just have killing me somewhere in his immediate game plan.

I agree with you, but it seems as if the jury didn't - for whatever reason.

Litefoot
October 9, 2006, 02:30 AM
None of us know (except Mr. Fish) what really happened. We're all just guessing. But we do KNOW some disturbing facts:

1) As mentioned before the caliber (10mm) and bullet type (HP) were used by the DA to characterize the defendant as some sort of "loose cannon". My weapon of choice is a 10mm. In the movies, do you ever see the lady being attacked grab a butter knife from the drawer? No, she grabs the biggest butcher knife.

2) The DA also convinced the jury that Mr. Fish (upstanding family man) and the alleged assailant (a documented psycho) should be judged on their "behavoir" on that day, not on their character as witnessed by ump-teen friends/neighbors over the years. The jurors actually bought that one.:what:

3) Why didn't the defense bring expert witnesses to talk threat response and the difficulty of assessing threats in a bad situation? Seems like they could have found many cases where acquitted persons used deadly force to protect themselves when their wasn't sufficient time to ponder the consequences of NOT acting.

Two things are certain: The defense was TERRIBLE and the jurors were extremely incapable of reasonable rational thought.

Beren
October 9, 2006, 09:21 AM
I guess I will have to be the first to say it, but, YES. Taking the life of another is the LAST thing you do, not the first.

Taken by itself, I agree with your statement.

I disagree that there is a requirement for me to absorb a life threatening injury before I am allowed to use life threatening force to prevent a life threatening injury. The goal of self-defense is not "mutually assured destruction." It's "stop a lethal threat to you, preferably BEFORE you yourself sustain the serious, life-threatening injury you reasonably believe is imminent."

meef
October 9, 2006, 11:08 AM
Medula Oblongata:But that couldn't be. I have it on the informed authority of numerous THR members that Fish was a saint and the dead dude a deranged psychopathic killer with slathering at the mouth attack hounds.Very clever and cute, but not quite what has been said.

What has been established, however, is that the defense produced 10 witnesses (who had no reason to favor Fish) who testified (though not to the extent they wanted to, becuase it wasn't allowed) that the deceased was given to sudden extreme and threatening outbursts of temper. The prosecution, on the other hand, didn't produce even 1 witness stating the defendant was a trigger-happy nut just hoping for the opportunity to someday be able to use his "more-powerful-than-the-police-carry-loaded-with :eek: HOLLOWPOINTS :eek:" pistol on the first person he thought he could get away with it.

This was a very questionable shoot. Let the appeals process take its course, and learn all the evidence before declaring conspiracy.I don't recall any claims of conspiracy. It has been opined that the prosecutor was perhaps a bit self-serving in his decision to bring charges. I suppose that would be a first for any prosecutor.

As to it being a very questionable shoot... if you carry for self defense, let's hope you never find yourself in a similar shoot/don't shoot split second decision situation. You might just find yourself then facing an ambitious prosecutor and a jury consisting of people aghast at the prospect that you would carry a weapon "more powerful than the police use and loaded with (gasp) hollowpoint bullets that are meant to do as much damage as possible".

I gather it's more likely you would just calmly put your weapon back in its holster and proceed to go Marquis of Queensberry with someone who (according to testimony) is intent on killing you.

Good luck.

:cool:

SteveS
October 9, 2006, 11:30 AM
2) Ammo selection may be a big, big factor to a jury. Let me repeat that: ammo selection may be a big, big factor to a jury. I hope poor Mr. Ayoob, who has received so much grief from the Order of the Keyboard Commando of THR, comes on by and gives us other cases where this has happened.

I tend to agree with Mr. Ayoob, though I still like to base my decisions on some evidence and reason. That being said, I think this case shows that juries can fixate on all sorts of things in making their decisions, so unless you are carrying a phaser set on stun, you will be assuming some level of risk. I would hope that any decent defese attorney would address ammo selection with a jury that likely knew very little about guns.

Master Blaster
October 9, 2006, 11:37 AM
The detectives said it was a justified shooting.

Kuenzli was running downhill, or "loping" according to the prosecution.

Fish had just fired one warning shot, not wanting to kill any of the dogs. Still has the pistol in his hand. Was he supposed to holster or throw it away?

Kuenzli was shot at close range, as in there were powder burns on him.

At first, Hance wasn't going to prosecute. After some residents started screaming "Guilty", he reversed his decision. Some say he's got a political career he's trying to enhance, which was what motivated his reversal.

The NRA must have figured the shooting was, or could be proven to be, a "good shooting" or else why would they have partially funded his defense?

Personally, I'm not going to try to hit someone with my gun. That's not what it's designed for. 'Sides, my normal carry is a S&W 642 - they'd just laugh.

Shoot at my dogs, we'll have words. Call me chicken or whatever else, I'm not going to charge someone with a weapon pointed at me and all I've got are my bare hands - that could be considered suicidal.

But, I'm not just going to stand there while some fool comes running at my loaded weapon hollering that he's going to kill me. I'm going to believe him. Especially if I've got maybe 3 or 4 seconds to try to determine if he's serious.

A couple of years ago a woman with a history of mental illness was ranting and waving a steak knife after an arguement with a stranger at a restaurant, the police who had been called found her wandering down the road still holding the knife. They tried to reason with her but when she charged them they drew and fired. This was two Delaware State police officers who were veterans of the force, they had clubs and pepper spray. They drew their guns and fired and she died. Neither of them had a mark or cut on them. The woman was 48 years old and only weighed 120 lbs, both the police officers were in their 30s and each weighed over 230 lbs.
DSP issues .357 sig hollowpoints. By the standard in this story they should both be in jail.

Police around here will not hesitate to draw a gun on and shoot a charging Dog. When the newspaper interviews the dogs owner,The dog is always someone's pet who would never hurt a fly.


If an Arizona police officer had been involved in the exact same incident as Mr. Fish, there would have been no charges, and no trial.

brerrabbit
October 9, 2006, 11:45 AM
But then again, police officers get away with many questionable shoots, but then again that is OT.

I would love to have the presumption by the courts that police have as to my veracity and if I ever have to shoot, wether it was lawful or not.

The thing is, non-LEO do not share the police's presumption of "line of duty" in the courts, quite likely for good reasons.

cropcirclewalker
October 9, 2006, 12:35 PM
Mr. Master Blaster has rung the gong on this one.

Biker
October 9, 2006, 12:41 PM
Really? The guy that Fish holed wasn't armed with a knife.

Biker

Beren
October 9, 2006, 12:48 PM
Screwdrivers work exceptionally well as stabbing instruments. Kuenzli had one in his back pocket.

Not that he'd have needed it to beat to death a man much older than he was.

Biker
October 9, 2006, 12:52 PM
Having a screwdriver in your back pocket that "could have been used as a weapon" isn't justification for shooting a man. I carry one in my tank pouch and sometimes in my back pocket. Haven't stabbed anyone with it yet.
I don't recall Fish stating that he was threatened with a screw driver.

Biker

Master Blaster
October 9, 2006, 12:54 PM
Biker your point is well taken. There was no how do the brits put it? Offensive weapon involved, just a screwdriver, which was not being brandished.

What you say to the police when they arrive on the scene is very important.
Make sure you know the law and the standard for using deadly force in your state. With respect to dogs running at large Delaware is a shoot first state, The dog is presumed to be a threat if it is running at large (not on a 6' or less lead in its owner's hand). If it behaves agrgressively toward you or your animals under your control, any force up to and including deadly force is justified. The law also specifically exempts you from charges or prosecution.
It also exempts you from Civil liability.

As far as deadly force on people goes, its a question of wether you fear injury or death to you or another. There is no duty to retreat. Different states have different laws.

Police at least in DE, have exactly the same standard for the use of deadly force as any citizen, So if a citizen was confronted by the lady with a knife it would also be a good shoot, despite any letters to the editor or any public outcry. And there was some, many in the community argued that the police should have wrestled with the lady and at least got Cut before they shot her.
Fortunately our AG knows her job.

Part of the job of a good AG / DA is to actually uphold the law as it is written, that means being fair and objective in the application of the law.

rbernie
October 9, 2006, 01:04 PM
In reading all of this back-n-forth, I still don't understand how this man was convicted by a jury of his peers...

What was the sum of evidence that led them to conclude BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT that the defendant was guilty of second degree murder?

cropcirclewalker
October 9, 2006, 01:19 PM
The nail that Mr. Master Blaster tack drove upon it's head was that

if it was an Arizona cop that whacked the crazy guy there would have been no charges or trial.

Biker
October 9, 2006, 01:20 PM
From my POV?

On TV Fish came off as disingenuous as did his police recordings. He shot an unarmed man who had wounds in his hands and forearms that suggest a defensive posture rather than an aggressive stance.
He shot at dogs for no good reason, IMO, although it could be he just doesn't know dogs. In any case, he came off as trigger happy and emotional - not a good combo.
This is truly a sad story for all involved, but IMO, Fish shot a man who didn't need shot.

Biker

Biker
October 9, 2006, 01:24 PM
How did you come to the conclusion that the dead man was crazy?

Biker

.45&TKD
October 9, 2006, 01:35 PM
He shot an unarmed man who had wounds in his hands and forearms that suggest a defensive posture rather than an aggressive stance.

This could also be explained if the dead guy was reaching out to grabb the shooter.

.45&TKD
October 9, 2006, 01:38 PM
How did you come to the conclusion that the dead man was crazy?

I know it was in the news that he had committed himself for fear of violence to himself and others at one point and was on anti-depressant drugs among others.

highlander 5
October 9, 2006, 01:43 PM
IMHO Mr Fish should have been cleared of any wrong doing but with juries who can tell.I would agree some raving nutjob is coming at me after a shot is fired I'm not wating to be beaten to a pulp.
I'm in the same age group and phyiscal condition that Mr Fish is in. My days of throwing hands with anybody has long since past.
It is good to know that the law in AZ is "stand your ground' as I hope to move there in the next few years after I retire
The HP issue,most non shoters haven't a clue about hp vs fmj etc. Several years ago state trooper shot a BG they had chased all over creation in my former town chase ended up with BG wraping his car around a tree, BG still able to move minor injuries,trooper arrives order BG on the gound etc BG is a very large individual refuses to comply after several warning trooper shoots BG,BG dies. Talking to a fellow worker about shooting he's irate cause the cop didn't "shoot him in the leg,arm" tried to expain that in a stress situation you shoot for the biggest thing you see the body but he was adimant about shooting in leg arm etc
BTW someone mantioned a "fair fight" in this day and age there is no such thing

Biker
October 9, 2006, 01:55 PM
The photos of the wounds showed the bullets entering from the back of the hand and exiting the palms which would indicate that the dead guy was covering up.
Concerning the drugs, he was taking an anti-depressant and the level of the drug in his system at the time of death was well within prescribed limits.
No other drugs were found.
Fish was in very good physical shape at the time of the shooting (an ardent hiker) and was far from frail. I'm a few years younger than him, and although I'm broke up a bit, I don't figure I'd choose to shoot a man who was pissed at me, especially if I'd just shot at a couple of dogs who were in the man's charge.

Biker

only1asterisk
October 9, 2006, 02:11 PM
The photos of the wounds showed the bullets entering from the back of the hand and exiting the palms which would indicate that the dead guy was covering up.

Or in a combative posture.


As far as I'm concerned deadly force is an entirely appropriate response to both unarmed human attackers that present a certain level of threat and human aggressive canines.

Let us remember that the first shot was fired at 8 feet and the last at contact range.

It is beyond me how any reasonable person could be find Mr. Fish guilty of anything.

David

Helmetcase
October 9, 2006, 02:29 PM
Again, not saying I'd have voted to convict, but I largely am in Biker's camp here. One thing I keep coming back to--if he hadn't fired the warning shot (something I wouldn't do, and no cop would be allowed to do), Kuenzli wouldn't have charged and gone nuts as he's alledged to have done; I think there's an undercurrent of canine phobia that runs pretty close to the surface here at THR with some folks, and that drives the "good shoot" case to some extent.

Unless you're really frail, and a lot more frail than this 57 year old is made out to be (and let's face it, 57 is the new 47, the guy's not that over the hill y'all), a couple of mutts running down a trail shouldn't be cause to fire IMHO. I've stared down everything from 180lb mastiffs that eat Rottweilers for lunch to mini poodles that draw blood and everything in between, and IMHE you have a lot more to fear from a non domesticated predator than any breed of domestic dog.

What would I have done differently? Stood still and stood firm, and the dogs probably would have passed me by. IF, and it's a big IF, they do decide to attack, let em have at your weak arm and draw and fire. IF the dogs had actually attacked him, his case would be a lot stronger--but there's no real indication that was even likely to have happened.

If Fish had just let the dogs go by, which they probably would have done (if the shelter had had them and determined them to not be vicious, I'd say the odds of this are better than 99.999%--how do I know? I WORK in an animal shelter, darnit :neener: ), if he'd just kept his cool....he'd be a free man and we'd never have heard from him.

IMHO, he used his weapon to prevent perceived possible harm, not an imminent threat to his life, and it's why it's a questionable shoot.

As for defensive vs. combative posture, I'm sure medical examiners have seen enough examples to be able to differentiate between the type of wounds each posture produces versus a shooter. If there was anything to that, the defense should have stepped up. That they didn't probably tells you something. Fish might have shot him, and once he realized he was being shot, Kuenzli might have tried to attack to save his own life.

Beren
October 9, 2006, 02:39 PM
Having a screwdriver in your back pocket that "could have been used as a weapon" isn't justification for shooting a man.

Agreed, but that wasn't why I made the statement. You stated he was unarmed. He was armed, and that was the sole point I was making.

Armed or unarmed isn't relevant, however. What is relevant is disparity of force.

Nor did Fisher shoot at the dogs "for no reason." He fired "warning shots" as the dogs aggressively approached him. One dog was known to be an aggressive biter, while the other was a "fear biter." K. had been specifically instructed by the Humane Society to keep both animals on leashes.

"Hank had been seized by animal-control workers in 2003 and had a documented history of aggressive behavior toward adults and children and was once almost shot by a Gila County Sheriff's detective, according to the document."

"The previous owner of Sheba said, She would probably run up to someone if she was with another dog and would appear aggressive through barking and growling and might run at you. A Coconino Sheriff's Department detective said the dog would have bitten anybody given the chance on the night of the shooting of Kuenzli."

As for K. himself:

"McDonald also said the jury was prevented from hearing evidence and expert testimony about Kuenzli's psychiatric condition and history of violent behavior, including two suicide attempts and an alleged strangling attempt of a man visiting a woman Kuenzli had been stalking."

====

I've been in a position where I almost had to shoot a dog that was charging at me. Fortunately for myself and the dog, the dog stopped several feet from me and barked rather than attacked. The owners came out and got their dog under control.

I've known dogs all my life, but I do not tolerate biters, and I do not feel obliged to wait until a dog bites me to take action. If you don't want your dog to get hurt, keep it under control. It's *YOUR* responsibility as an owner, not mine.

====

Fisher shouldn't have fired warning shots. He shouldn't have talked to the media. If the dogs were charging him, he should have shot them. He didn't, because like all of us, he didn't want to hurt something if he didn't have to do it. That the dogs were unhurt lends credence to the claim of self-defense against K., in my book, because Fisher had already demonstrated a desire to avoid inflicting harm.

So, what do we have? Two dogs with an aggressive history, one of which was almost put down by a deputy sheriff in the past. We have a guy with a documented history of mental problems and aggressive behavior, including assault and stalking. I can easily believe Fisher was charged by two dogs, fired a warning shot (dumb), then shot at K. as K. charged screaming at Fisher. It's enough to create reasonable doubt in my mind that a unjustifiable homicide took place, but evidently that was not the current standard in AZ at the time.

Beren
October 9, 2006, 02:45 PM
F, they do decide to attack, let em have at your weak arm and draw and fire. IF the dogs had actually attacked him, his case would be a lot stronger--but there's no real indication that was even likely to have happened.

I am continually boggled by the mindset that you must let yourself sustain injury before action is justified. While I can understand some of us would rather be crippled or even killed by a domestic animal rather than cause it harm, it's improper to force that mindset on the rest of us. I have no duty to allow anyone or anything to cause serious injury to me.

If two dogs charge you snapping, growling, and barking, you're welcome to offer your arm as a chewing post. Don't expect most reasonable men to do the same.

he used his weapon to prevent perceived possible harm, not an imminent threat to his life, and it's why it's a questionable shoot.

Firing a warning shot was stupid. He should have shot the dogs, though I do believe he perceived an imminent threat of serious or lethal injury. We all love our dogs, but you're fooling yourself if you don't think the average dog can't do serious harm. Harm, I'd repeat, that I nor anyone else share any duty to suffer.

Biker
October 9, 2006, 02:51 PM
If K. was armed because he had a screwdriver in his back pocket, then so am I when I work on my scoot.
You're reaching.
Kindly describe the factors that justify the 'disparity of force' defense.
I work with the local Humane Society and know that they work with our local Animal Shelter. They won't adopt out aggressive dogs and forgive me if I don't put a detective on the dog expert list.

Biker

johnster999
October 9, 2006, 03:09 PM
This conviction is the result of what some on THR refer to as "Blissninny" thinking. The jurors were stunned that someone in their area might actually carry a gun. The ammunition hype and involvement of pet animals (dogs) added to the emotional picture the prosecutor painted for them. They swallowed it hook/line/sinker, as "blissninnies" often do.

Still, Fish is at least alive and physiclally whole. He has a long fight ahead but at least he has a chance. More than what his attacker would have offered.

WayneConrad
October 9, 2006, 03:14 PM
rbernie said, "What was the sum of evidence that led them to conclude BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT that the defendant was guilty of second degree murder?"

That standard of evidence was not in effect during the trial. At the time, self defense in Arizona required that the defendant first admit to the killing, and then prove that it was justified. Notice the difference? The state didn't have to prove murder. The defendant had to prove that it wasn't murder.

We've fixed that. Thank goodness.

Beren
October 9, 2006, 03:15 PM
If K. was armed because he had a screwdriver in his back pocket, then so am I when I work on my scoot.

Um, that's the very definition of being armed.

armed  /ɑrmd/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[ahrmd] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation
–adjective
1. bearing firearms; having weapons: a heavily armed patrol.

They won't adopt out aggressive dogs and forgive me if I don't put a detective on the dog expert list.

These dogs weren't adopted out. They were being walked. They had documented histories of aggressiveness, kind of like the guy who was walking them.

ArmedBear
October 9, 2006, 03:17 PM
This is also a good argument for non-lethal weapons.

Pepper spray would have worked fine here even if there was a real threat, and no one would be dead or in jail.

The right to carry does involve some responsibilities. Unlike neighboring CA, AZ lets you carry with few restrictions. With rights come responsibilities.

Beren
October 9, 2006, 03:30 PM
M.O., most of the sniping in this thread has been coming from the vicinity of Nebraska. :D

why do you guys seem to revel in the thought of doing so?

I haven't seen anyone post here "reveling" in the thought of killing or harming another person. Obviously no one here wishes to hurt someone else, and to suggest otherwise is inaccurate at best.

That said, very few people here seem willing to assume the best of intentions from a charging, howling man immediately after scaring off his charging, howling dogs. I didn't see convincing physical evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Fisher committed murder.

However, that was not the standard in AZ at the time. He had to admit to murder, then try to prove it was "reasonable." That's not the standard where I live, and I doubt it's the standard in Nebraska either. Burden of proof should always rest solely with the prosecution.

Most of what I've heard from those supporting the verdict can be summed up as "I saw Fisher on the media and I thought he looked like a guilty dog-hating slimeball; I love dogs and sympathize with Mr. K, and Fisher should rot, that dog-endangering filth!"

And, yes, I have less compunctions shooting a dog than I ever would about shooting a person. I've had dogs around my entire life and love them, but I have no obligation to let one seriously injure me. Most of the time, their threat displays are simply that - threat displays. However, I wasn't there when Mr. Fisher was charged. Therefore, I have to accept his explanation unless I can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he's lying.

That's where I'm coming from.

Biker
October 9, 2006, 03:34 PM
Um, according to your definition, if you carry anything that *can* be used as a weapon, you are armed. If your wife carries a set of keys and yells at me - including threats - I guess I'm justified if I shoot her?
Reaching again...
Also, if you're being honest, we *all* have a history of violence.

Biker

The Real Hawkeye
October 9, 2006, 03:34 PM
It all comes down to whether or not the guy was justified in pulling his weapon and firing at the dogs. If he was, then he was, I think, also justified in what followed. When I walk my dog I also carry a gun. If my dog slipped his lead and ran towards someone (in my dog's case, it would be to greet, not to attack), and the guy pulled a gun, my gun would get pulled too. It's just a fact that most dog lovers in this country think of their dogs in exactly the same way that they think of their small children, and would respond to threats to their lives in exactly the same way. This is one of those situations where it is very hard to determine who's right and who's wrong. Seems like a no win situation.

.45&TKD
October 9, 2006, 03:36 PM
While I can understand some of us would rather be crippled or even killed by a domestic animal rather than cause it harm

I think that I would risk physical injury just to avoid the legal problems.

What a nightmare!

I think that Fish was justified, but for me personally, firing my weapon would be the absolute last resort. The only scenario where I would consider a warning shot would be against a wild animal, where my cailber was insufficient.

.45&TKD
October 9, 2006, 03:38 PM
It's just a fact that most dog lovers in this country think of their dogs in exactly the same way that they think of their small children, and would respond to threats to their lives in exactly the same way.

This would be a mistake.

only1asterisk
October 9, 2006, 03:39 PM
Beren's last post sums up my view as well.

We've been down this road a time or two. This thread will be locked soon because people can't see past their emotional blinders.

David

Art Eatman
October 9, 2006, 03:41 PM
Naw, it's on account of a lot of backing and forthing of expressing conflicting opinions, with nobody seeming to do any mind-changing. And, like most threads beyond a couple of pages, innocent remarks get personal-insult responses.

Art

The Real Hawkeye
October 9, 2006, 03:42 PM
This would be a mistake.That's why I said "it's just a fact," meaning it's a fact, right or wrong, wise or foolish. It might be foolish to rush into a burning building after your four year old child, but lots of people would do that too. Foolish or not doesn't really come into the analysis ones goes through when those situations come up.

Beren
October 9, 2006, 03:43 PM
according to your definition, if you carry anything that *can* be used as a weapon, you are armed. If your wife carries a set of keys and yells at me - including threats - I guess I'm justified if I shoot her?

It's not my definition.

It depends. Are you under 5'6" and weigh less than 110 lbs? Would a reasonable man think that my "wife" would pose a threat of serious or perhaps lethal harm to you? Did she have the opportunity, ability, and obvious intent?

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