Deadly Force: Hollowpoint or FMJ?


PDA






Dirty Dawg
December 17, 2008, 03:14 PM
To my way of thinking the obvious answer for SD would certainly have to be hollowpoint, however, I believe either round would be effective if well placed. My question-- based on comments I've seen here and on a court case I saw on television-- is which round would be the better choice from a legal standpoint? If I were to use deadly force in an otherwise righteous situation, would I be less certain of success in a Texas courtroom if my chosen round was hollowpoint?

Talk amongst yourselves...

If you enjoyed reading about "Deadly Force: Hollowpoint or FMJ?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
Jorg Nysgerrig
December 17, 2008, 03:17 PM
If I were to use deadly force in an otherwise righteous situation

What does that even mean?

Eagles6
December 17, 2008, 03:20 PM
Your only concern should be what would be most effective in saving yours and your family's lives. Better to be judged by 12 than carried by 6.

subknave
December 17, 2008, 03:25 PM
Well, from what I have read you would be better off in a courtroom if you were not using hollowpoints or anything else that could be construed as extra deadly and if your pistol was stock and not altered or with any laser sights or other improvements. Anything that a lawyer could argue ahows that you were just waiting the opportunity to shoot someone. I guess the best weapon for a courtroom would be an older single shot 410 shotgun or .22 revolver. Be hard to argue you were just waiting to kill someone with those.

On the other hand you have to get to the courtroom to be worried about it in the first place. In my opinion if you shoot targets or whatever just load up with the same ammo you use for that wether fmj, lead, wadcutter or whatever. If you normally shoot hollow points because you got a great deal on them then load up with those. I would stay away from the Glasers and Talon types etc. if you are worried about it.

Coronach
December 17, 2008, 03:28 PM
Use the hollowpoint, unless you are in a place where it is illegal. The police use hollowpoints for the same reason you should- they offer more reliable stops.

Mike

Jorg Nysgerrig
December 17, 2008, 03:30 PM
Your only concern should be what would be most effective in saving yours and your family's lives. Better to be judged by 12 than carried by 6.

By that logic, one should ignore all laws that would impede effective defense. Might a well convert everything to full auto and set up some claymores in that case. I wish people would quite repeating this idiocy as a justification to ignore legal consequences. It's better to neither be judged by 12 nor carried by 6. If a little foresight can prevent both situations, then do it.

Well, from what I have read you would be better off in a courtroom if you were not using hollowpoints or anything else that could be construed as extra deadly
Cite?

Coronach
December 17, 2008, 03:34 PM
I concur, Jorg, but in this case the idea of putting first things first- surviving the encounter- has more merit than handwringing about potential legal strategy for the wrongful death lawsuit.

Mike

Jorg Nysgerrig
December 17, 2008, 03:40 PM
Coronach, you should know I'm no fan of needless handwringing. :) I also think that in the case of a good shoot, these things probably won't make much difference, at least where I live.

But the "better judged by 12..." mentality is certainly a slippery slope, as they say. One might say that a 14" shotgun is more effective indoors than an 18" one. Therefore, in the spirit of the "Better judged than carried" idea, it would be "ok" to cut down that barrel illegally as it's better to be tried for making an SBS than to be dead. When it comes down to it, you'd probably really be better off using the 18" to help mitigate the potential of Problem 2.

Coronach
December 17, 2008, 03:43 PM
Oh, I agree. I'm sick of the phrase, myself.

Mike

GRIZ22
December 17, 2008, 03:44 PM
A good shoot is a good shoot and I don't think it makes any difference if you use FMJ or hollowpoints. That's in regards to a criminal case.

The plantiff (here you're talking about the other guy's lawyer not a asst DA, prosecutor, etc) in a civil case may likely bring up the hollowpoint issue. The defense (that's you and your attorney) can be prepared to squash any allegation your use of hollowpoints was premeditation to kill or seriously wound your attacker.

If you use a FMJ, a plantiff's attorney can bring up your use of "military" ammunition.

My attitude is use hollowpoints if you legally can wherever you are as any type of ammunition can be used against you in a civil suit.

Japle
December 17, 2008, 03:57 PM
Certainly you shouldn't carry anything that's actually illegal. That doesn't mean you shouldn't carry the most effective gun and ammo combination that you can handle well and is legal in your jusrisdiction.

If you're carrying ammo that's less effective than what you could, legally, be carying and you get killed because the BG shoots back after being solidly hit, you're a Darwin Award candidate.

Putting theoretcial, "what if" legal considerations ahead of your survival is just stupid. Would you rather be charged with a bogus "crime" or be dead?

In the entire history of gunfighting, there has never been a case where one of the shooters wished he had a smaller gun that held fewer rounds of less powerful ammo.

expvideo
December 17, 2008, 04:20 PM
...I saw on television...
Yep. There you go.

Cops use hollow points. That's a pretty strong defense.

Deanimator
December 17, 2008, 04:28 PM
Well, from what I have read you would be better off in a courtroom if you were not using hollowpoints or anything else that could be construed as extra deadly and if your pistol was stock and not altered or with any laser sights or other improvements.
There is an infinitesimal chance that you will be charged because you used a factory hollowpoint in a good shoot.

There is a 100% chance that you will be sued (and possibly charged) and lose or settle if you get a through and through and hit an innocent person.

Zundfolge
December 17, 2008, 04:28 PM
If anyone EVER finds themselves being prosecuted because they use hollow points (under the guise that use of hollow points is prima facia evidence of intent to do more damage than necessary) then all your defense attorney has to do is drag a firearms expert on the stand to make the case that hollow points are SAFER for use in self defense because they don't over penetrate and harm others.

IIRC when police departments started switching to JHPs there were cries from criminal rights organizations (like the ACLU) that the cops wanted to hurt people more and the over penetration issue is what was used to trump those claims.

GEM
December 17, 2008, 04:48 PM
Weapons type issues become relevant in ambiguous shoots. If you are charged then someone doesn't think it is a righteous shoot - by definition.

Then you need a lawyer and experts who are knowledge about the emotional influences on juries and the specifics of weapons related to this kind of emotional priming.

So don't shoot someone stupidly.

KBintheSLC
December 17, 2008, 05:04 PM
This is a very old and well-beaten topic. The fact is that using expanding ammo will not get you into any "extra" trouble. If you are in a legitimate SD shooting, using JHP's will not make you "guilty" of a crime. Those accusations have been shot down in court many times with arguments like...

1) Expanding ammo is safer; it doesn't penetrate as much.
2) The police use expanding ammo, if its good enough for their stringent liability issues, its good enough for me.
3) Expanding ammo is more humane; it delivers energy more effectively and requires less shots to be fired.

expvideo
December 17, 2008, 05:07 PM
Never use hand loads for self defense. Hand loads are will get a lot of attention from the prosecutor. Defensive ammo is labelled that way. FMJ is labelled as target ammo. If it says "defensive ammo" on the box, you can hardly be held accountable for using it for that purpose.

Friendly, Don't Fire!
December 17, 2008, 05:28 PM
"Personal Protection" or something similar to that marking.

I think all the talk about what will happen AFTER a shooting probably won't even come about if we are all careful and only shoot if absolutely necessary to save our life and/or someone else's life.

If the shooting is at all questionable, DON'T DO IT!

22lr
December 17, 2008, 05:40 PM
I use both. If im running around town I put FMJs in my gun incase I need the penetration. At home I keep loaded with some wicked hollowpoints (blacktalons). From view point, if someone is in my house then I want a bullet that can kill them faster than they can kill me. But if I ever have to shoot though anything I want FMJs. Legally if you use deadly force, use it well, otherwise maybe you should just use a baseball bat.

GEM
December 17, 2008, 05:44 PM
What if you shoot through the BG into to the baby carriage with cute twins in it? The shoot through is a major reason for HP in self-defense.

Black Talons don't kill anybody faster than other quality loads.
You don't want to kill folks, you aim to stop your attacker.

Oh, well.

Cyborg
December 17, 2008, 06:30 PM
I use Speer Gold Dot 55gr. .40S&W identical to what SAPD carries. I know what FMJ means in a long gun round but I'm not sure what would be in a handgun round. I do know that I want maximum stopping power and minimum chance of "over penetrating" - i.e. through-and-through. Through-and-through is bad from two standpoints. First if the projectile exits the tango then there is energy on the projectile that did not get transferred to said tango. Second, if the projectile exits the tango then it could hit an innocent bystander on the otherside of the tango which could easily result in TWO people taking you to court. Since I have allegedly had special training (like LEOs and CHL licens holders) I would face a stricter standard than some joe blow off the street.

I do know I have a tiny advantage regarding intent. Should I wind up in court, I would call the man who trained me when I took the course to get my commission as a wittness. He would testify that I was taught to shoot to stop rather than to kill. I was still trained to aim for COM but the goal is to stop not kill.

BTW, a .40 cal JHP is not always or even often lethal. All the more so if the tango is hopped up on drugs and/or alcohol. There was a guy went postal at a Dennies a couple of years back. Killed on cop and wounded a couple more. He got something like 5 of those Gold Dot .40s and lived to go to court. I am happy to say he got LWOPP and so will be a guest of the taxpayers of Texas until he dies.

Jorg, Coronach, the meaning of the "better 12 than 6" saying is simply that it is better to live through the incident. Your "slippery slope" is the result of taking the saying beyond its intent and meaning.

My maxim is a bit different. You can be paroled from prison. There IS no parole from the cemetary. I have no desire to kill anyone. But if the situation is such that someone's wife is going to collect their hubby's life ensurance, then I am going to do my best to see it isn't mine.

Dirty Dawg
December 17, 2008, 07:03 PM
Thanks for the replies gentlemen. I knew this was a "well-beaten topic" but I generally get no satisfaction from the search feature on this site. Seems like the response is often all over the board.


Quote:
...I saw on television...
Yep. There you go.

I believe it was live on court TV some time ago-- not some network docudrama-- where a defendant was getting beaten up pretty good for using hollowpoint ammunition. As I stated up top of this thread, my inclination is to carry the best round to neutralize the threat, which for me is most often Hydra-Shock. However, the proceedings that day did give me pause, though not so much as to make me change my ways. An opinion-- which I was sure some of you possessed and which in fact was what I received-- was what I sought and for which I am grateful.

kingpin008
December 17, 2008, 07:13 PM
Never use hand loads for self defense. Hand loads are will get a lot of attention from the prosecutor.

Please cite a source where hand loads were in any way detrimental to the final verdict in a self-defense shooting case.

Japle
December 17, 2008, 07:30 PM
Kingpin, Mas Ayoob has given details on several cases where it was a big problem.

I won't do your homework for you, though. You'll have to look it up yourself.

JImbothefiveth
December 17, 2008, 07:39 PM
Use hollowpoints with 9x19 and up, as you don't want your round to kill an innocent bystander. That would get you in a lot more legal trouble than the use of a hollowpoint, and even if it wasn't, aren't a few extra legal fees worth saving someone's life?

mpc12
December 17, 2008, 07:39 PM
Massad Ayoob actually had an article in recent history discussing just that. A man shot another man in self defense at very close range. That shooter was subsequently "hung out to dry" when no powder marks or anything of the like could be found on the man that would have indicated he was shot from close range. The man was shot with handloads set up for bullseye with a very light load, so they would not leave those markings. Then, there was no standard to test against as the shooter saying "these are the specs that bullet was loaded to" was worth nothing as he could have just as easily been lying about the entire thing. Moral of the story being, using a factory load allows for repeatable results for investigating law enforcement personnel if a subject like this is ever called into question.

expvideo
December 17, 2008, 07:47 PM
Never use hand loads for self defense. Hand loads are will get a lot of attention from the prosecutor.

Please cite a source where hand loads were in any way detrimental to the final verdict in a self-defense shooting case.

I didn't say that it would be "detrimental to the final verdict" of the case. I said that the prosecutor would give it a lot of attention. And as it has already been stated, Massad Ayoob covered this very well in one of his articles, citing actual cases. Why don't you calm down and lose the aggressive tone.

kingpin008
December 17, 2008, 10:58 PM
My point is this - the prosecutor can give it all the attention he wants, that doesn't mean that it's going to mean jack squat when it comes down to the verdict being handed down.

So the fact that the prosecutor may argue that the loads were loaded this way or that way really don't matter, does it? Now, as I stated earlier - if anyone can provide citations regarding incidents where the particular load used in a self-defense shooting lead to the otherwise good shoot being ruled unlawful, I'll concede the point.

Frank Ettin
December 17, 2008, 11:03 PM
Use good quality, factory JHP ammunition.

[1] It will generally prove to be the most effective.

[2] It's defensible. That's what all law enforcement agencies use.

expvideo
December 18, 2008, 01:15 AM
My point is this - the prosecutor can give it all the attention he wants, that doesn't mean that it's going to mean jack squat when it comes down to the verdict being handed down.

So the fact that the prosecutor may argue that the loads were loaded this way or that way really don't matter, does it? Now, as I stated earlier - if anyone can provide citations regarding incidents where the particular load used in a self-defense shooting lead to the otherwise good shoot being ruled unlawful, I'll concede the point.
But my point is that no one is making that point. I only said that the prosecutor would use that against you, not that it would necessarily lead to a conviction.

jaybeedubya
December 18, 2008, 01:22 AM
Neither; Use a Franchi Spas-12 loaded with Frag-12 Shotgun shells. It might not look good legally but it'll sure as hell make the jury think twice before convicting you!

Kidding, I'd personally load up with hollowpoints. It might be a little hard explaining why you'd need a FMJ's penetration rating. Just kind of throwing that out there.

LIQUID SNAKE
December 18, 2008, 09:39 AM
"My question-- based on comments I've seen here and on a court case I saw on television-- is which round would be the better choice from a legal standpoint?"

From a legal standpoint?

Are you kidding? from a "legal" standpoint your automatically guilty until proven innocent for anything nowadays. If you want to be on the "legal" side of the law on this issue then just let the assailant kill you. After all dieing is perfectly "legal". Not in the case of suicide, that's actually illegal in most states interestingly. Though it's seldom you here of anybody actually being charged.

Seriously though, nothing is best from a "legal standpoint" except you dying or, just not being there in the first place. However from a "real life" stand point whatever you have with you at the time is the best choice. From what I've read a lot of you guy's don't pack as often as you should. Like, all the time for example. So chances are for most of you that you won't even be armed at all when a situation like that even happens. Kind of makes the whole discussion of ammo choice rather moot don't you think. I for example always pack, period. If a situation happened to me right now for example I'd be using HPs because that's what I got on me at this moment. You see? It's what you got at the time that you will probably use. HPs, FMJs, your kids 22 or, probably in most of you guys cases, nothing because you might not even be armed. Also, I say probably because whats to say if you were armed and in one of these situations that you could do anything about it regardless. You could be one of the hostages or most likely it would happen and be over so fast you couldn't respond fast enough to be any help anyway. Or you couldn't get to the scene at all. Or you were to far away to get there in time, like across the room, store/house, parking lot, or street.

I notice a lot of guys are literally drooling for a chance to test their metal. Being a hero is overrated. Out here in Nevada the last HERO we had was some dumbass armored truck driver who got robbed by professionals while he and his partner were on ATM duty. One of the robbers had got the drop on him and his partner while they were out of the truck and inside one of their delivery points. The Pro got the money and had already escaped to the getaway car outside, when Mr, Hero decided to go outside and stop them. Up to that point no shots were fired and nobody got hurt. His partner an older and wiser fellow told him not to follow but, he did anyway and payed with his life. Mr, Hero got shot dead by another suspect armed with an AK rifle who was posted outside as a sentry for just that very reason. His partner told investigators that our Mr, Hero said once that "he would gladly die for his job". He got his wish. **** like that happens so often in Nevada most doesn't make the news so as to not scare away the tourists. He could have stayed inside with everyone else and nobody would have ever said anything or though him a cowered for it. Also, he wouldn't be ****ing dead now. I wonder if he had HPs or FMJs?

bullseye308
December 18, 2008, 10:05 AM
Just find out what your local police carry and carry the same thing. If any question about your ammo is brought up just tell them that is what the locals carry. ;)

Bubba613
December 18, 2008, 10:56 AM
Kingpin, Mas Ayoob has given details on several cases where it was a big problem.
Ayoob was able to cite about 4 cases that were 20 years old. Not a one of them was a classic "self defense" case. In one of them a man was accused of shooting his wife. His claim was that he was trying to get the gun away from her and it went off. Moral, never point your gun at your wife.
If your case hinges on whether you should have used fmj or jhp or handloads or factory loads then you probably shouldn't have done what you did anyway.

kingpin008
December 18, 2008, 12:14 PM
But my point is that no one is making that point. I only said that the prosecutor would use that against you, not that it would necessarily lead to a conviction.

Ok, I get that. What I'm trying to say (and I mean this with all due respect) is: who cares? It's a prosecutor's job to use things against you - of course they'd try to use the handload issue against you as well. I don't think anyone expects differently. Knowing that, why bother mentioning it, unless your point was that using handloads in a self-defense shooting could result in an otherwise good shooting being ruled criminal?

That's my point. Unless you (or anyone) brought it up intending to argue that it was an issue that could be used to successfully argue you into a conviction, (which so far, there is no evidence of) the entire thing is a non-issue.

mljdeckard
December 18, 2008, 01:20 PM
I agree with GEM. Nit-picking over things like hollow-points, trigger mods, handloads, etc. are what a prosecutor would try to use against you only if he has a very weak case, but for some reason wants to prosecute you anyway. Where I live, the laws, prosecutors, and precedents are very gun friendly. Defensive shootings are almost never prosecuted here. Defensive shootings rarely occur here. But ask yourself, really, if a case is reduced to the difference between the damage a hollow-point would do vs a FMJ, the prosecutor is really reaching for straws.He could TRY to push it either way. He could say JHP ammo is malicious. (But the police use it.) He could say people who carry JHP ammo are trying to be police, and want to do their job for them. If you use FMJ, they could say you are showing disregard for the safety of others. If a lawyer is gunning for you, they can TRY to say anything.

A few weeks ago, I was at the range with a friend of a friend, and he was worried about using defensive ammo that says "Law enforcement use" on the box. I told him he was being overly concerned, and needed to make sure the bullet went where he wants it to go.

I honestly split a few hairs depending on caliber. I use Federal 230 gr HSTs, but if I had to use 230 gr hardball, I would still be confident of the effectiveness of the round. On the other hand, if I carried 9mm, I would NOT feel as confident carrying 115 gr FMJ. 9mm is a good round today because of all the advances made in defensive bullets in the last couple of decades. I would be mostly concerned being painted as not taking the threat seriously by not carrying the most effective ammo I could. Then you would be explaining why you were sure you had to shoot to protect yourself, but the bullets you were shooting were not the most effective you COULD have been using.

expvideo
December 18, 2008, 01:29 PM
Ok, I get that. What I'm trying to say (and I mean this with all due respect) is: who cares? It's a prosecutor's job to use things against you - of course they'd try to use the handload issue against you as well. I don't think anyone expects differently. Knowing that, why bother mentioning it, unless your point was that using handloads in a self-defense shooting could result in an otherwise good shooting being ruled criminal?

That's my point. Unless you (or anyone) brought it up intending to argue that it was an issue that could be used to successfully argue you into a conviction, (which so far, there is no evidence of) the entire thing is a non-issue.

What the prosecutor uses against you in court is important and it is a valid point. Massad Ayoob addressed this very well with several citations in his article.

You have obviously never been prosecuted for a criminal violation, or you would understand the significance.

kingpin008
December 18, 2008, 01:49 PM
What the prosecutor uses against you in court is important and it is a valid point.

Agreed. You're still missing (or ignoring) my point though.

Massad Ayoob addressed this very well with several citations in his article.

Not quite. As Bubba613 stated earlier, Mas has cited cases, but none of them have proven that using handloads has in any way caused a jury to rule against a defendant. Thus, my point stands.


You have obviously never been prosecuted for a criminal violation, or you would understand the significance.

That's ridiculous. Never having been the subject of a criminal court proceeding does not equal ignorance of significant factors related to that proceeding, any more than never having been in a fist-fight would make me ignorant of what happens in a fist-fight.

Sure, I may not be able to grasp the finer details of some of the elements involved, but the idea that we're dealing with here - that even though a prosecutor may home in on the fact that handloads were used, if there has been no wrongdoing it wouldn't matter what loads were used - doesn't exactly take a rocket surgeon to understand.

BTW - My fiancee is an ex-court reporter, and I've sat in the courtroom many times, and witnessed many cases, from drunk driving hearings to a murder case. So please, don't try to tell me that I can't understand the significance of what a prosecutor does and does not focus on during a case.

athensguy
December 18, 2008, 03:23 PM
Hello, this is my first post. I've recently purchased a couple new firearms after having not done any shooting for about 10 years.

There is a case in AZ with a Mr. Harold Fish. He was convicted of second degree murder after shooting someone three times with 10mm JHP. They said his choice of round alone was an overreaction.

http://www.haroldfishdefense.org/

The laws have since been modified, but he his still being tried under and older version of laws regarding SD. His case is on appeal.

mljdeckard
December 18, 2008, 03:31 PM
That case has a lot more wrong with it than hollowpoints. I doubt hollowpoints or otherwise would have made any difference at all.

Frank Ettin
December 18, 2008, 03:32 PM
This has been done to death here, and on other boards. Anyone who's interested can do some searching. But here are the highlights --

[1] I'm a lawyer, and I know about impugning someone's character in front of a judge and jury, and have participating in doing so (it's part of the job). And I'm also a shooter and NRA certified instructor. Iíve also taken Massad Ayoobís LFI-1 class.

[2] It's not about the gun or ammunition per se. It's about how certain factors, like tinkering with your gun, using handloaded ammunition, putting "Punisher" grips on your gun, walking around wearing a "Kill Them All and Let God Sort it Our" T-shirt at the mall, or other "gun nut" stuff can be used to attack your character and credibility. This is important because if you're in trial at all, somebody in authority thinks that your claim of self defense is vulnerable, and your testimony might be crucial to establishing that your use of lethal force was justified. If the jury can be convinced by the prosecutor that you're a junior Rambo wannabe, they just might not be inclined to believe your story.

[3] At a trial, at the end of the presentation of evidence, each side gets to argue what the trier of fact should infer from the evidence. So a prosecutor might argue that a trier of fact should infer certain things about your character and disposition for violence from the evidence that you handloaded yourself the ammunition you used. Indeed, I'd expect a prosecutor to conjure up for the jury the image of you up late at night in your garage quietly assembling special super killer bullets.

[4] So Suzy Soccermom now asks herself, as she sits on your jury deciding whether to believe your story about what happened when you shot that nice gang member, why store bought ammunition wasnít lethal enough to satisfy your perverted blood lust. Remember, Suzi Soccermom and her friends are going to be deciding if the shoot was good.

[5] Yes, we know that there doesn't appear to be a case documenting this, but this would be a trial court matter, and trial court activities are not well publicized or generally published in the official legal reporters. Only decisions of courts of appeals on matters of law are regularly published. In any case, I suspect that the great majority of private citizens who own guns for self defense, including those with CCWs, are not necessarily enthusiasts. They most likely own and carry factory stock guns loaded with ordinary, commercial ammunition. So in fact, it's pretty unlikely that there have been too many cases in which a modified pistol or handloaded ammunition were used.

[6] Of course, if itís a clean shoot, it wonít matter. BUT why do we think that if we are unfortunate to have to fire our guns in self defense that everyone is necessarily going to agree that it was a clean shoot? Who decides? If we're on trial, someone doesn't think it's a clean shoot, and determining whether or not it was is what the trial is all about.

So you're well trained, did everything correctly and exercised proper judgment. But the physical and forensic evidence is unclear. The witnesses tell conflicting stories. Or for whatever other reasons, the DA or the grand jury has concluded that there is probably cause that a crime has been committed and that you committed it. And so you're held to answer and are now on trial. Now it's not a "clean shoot" until either the judge dismisses the charge or the jury acquits.

Yes there are clean shoots -- instances where the fact that it was legitimate self defense is so clear that things don't go beyond a preliminary investigation. But in real life we can't always count on things working out for us so nicely.

But if you find yourself on trial, someone in authority did not think it was a justified shoot. And this is where the details can get sticky. If youíre pleading self defense, you must, in effect, admit to the act and must demonstrate the factors that justify your use of lethal force, i. e. that you were reasonably in fear of being killed or grievously injured. This can place your perception, state of mind and disposition in issue. You will probably need to tell your story about how you were in fear for your life and had no choice, and whether or not the jury believes you depends in part on the impression you make on them.

[7] Of course, if one is unlucky enough to be on trial, whether or not he used handloads would be only a perhaps small factor. But personally, I'd rather avoid any of these sorts of "wild cards" altogether. Even though I may have an explanation, I know from experience that the less I have to explain, the better off I am.

[8] Whenever someone comes up with a hypothetical to support an argument as to why this isn't an issue, he seems to tell a nice, clean, simple "good shoot" story. Unfortunately, things aren't always that neat. Real life can be messy, and if you're on trial in the first place, the DA or grand jury didn't think it was "good shoot." So try this one on for size.

A guy in a parking lot 7 yards away from you is looking at you and making threatening gestures in your direction with a large butcher knife he's holding in his right hand. He shouts that he wants your money. You're holding your gun drawn in low ready and order him to drop the knife and go away.

At your trial for manslaughter you testify as to that and then say that in response to your order, he begins to raise the knife and move toward you. You further testify that you were in fear of your life, you could not effectively retreat because your back was to a group of closely parked cars, so you believed that you had no choice but to shoot. You shot several times, and he crumbled, dropping the knife as he fell. He never moved again and was dead when the EMTs arrived

However, an eyewitness testifies that the alleged assailant had actually broken off the attack before you fired. He had dropped the knife and started to turn away, and only then did you shoot.

And the forensic pathologist testifies that, based on the entrance wounds and position of the body, he was turning away toward his left when he was shot. Also, given the nature of the wounds, he would have most likely have retained his grip on the knife when he was shot, although it's not impossible that he would have dropped it.

Now your lawyer has to explain or overcome the eyewitness and the forensic pathologist to solidify your claim of self defense. It's also very useful to your case for the jury to believe your account of what happened and the way you perceived things. Do you think that whether members of the jury see you as a solid, responsible citizen or as a gun nut who spends his spare time concocting ďspecialĒ killer ammo when store bought is good enough for the police would make any difference in how they evaluated your testimony?

Sure, you can explain. But do you really want your lawyer, in addition to having to deal with the testimony of the eyewitness and the pathologist, to also have to try to explain to the jury why handloading ammunition is a good, wholesome hobby? Itís one more thing to explain when thereís already some seriously bad evidence that needs to be dealt with.

kingpin008
December 18, 2008, 03:37 PM
I'm somewhat familiar with the Fish case - what I would like to point out in that case, is that there were a number of things that went wrong with his case - the most important, perhaps, the fact that the attacker's previous violent criminal history was not allowed to be presented as evidence.

So yes, the issue of Mr. Fish's handloads was brought up, but it still does not prove that using handloads during a self-defense shooting will negatively affect the final outcome of a court case.

mpc12
December 18, 2008, 03:43 PM
To be fair, the case I citied per the Massad Article did result in a guilty verdict. Reason being the defense made the case that the shooting was from such a distance that the use of deadly force was not justified and jury felt the same way. IIRC the ballistics were tested using the factory load that corresponded to the case the gentleman had reloaded in.

gregormeister
December 18, 2008, 03:51 PM
Hydroshocks...

GregGry
December 18, 2008, 03:51 PM
That harold fish case did not use the bullets caliber or construction to convict him. People keep using this case as proof that a caliber can be used as proof of intent, and that just by using a certain caliber you will be found guilty. All of which is complete BS. The fact that you had a gun is enough to prove intent if you have a bad self defense shooting, there is no need to start talking ammo type.

Also that harold fish case site has a lot of things on it that could be grounds for a mistrial. However they seemed to want to base their case off of the dead persons previous records, which have no real basis in what happened in that self defense shoot. Fish failed to prove that he was justfied in the shoot. Now the evidence of the screw driver was not allowed in, that obviously could have had a different outcome. However we need to get over this caliber/bullet construction is going to get you convicted myth.

the fact that the attacker's previous violent criminal history was not allowed to be presented as evidence. What a attacker has done in the past does not prove innocence or guilt in the current case, therefore it has no reason to be in the case. If you allowed the previous history on serial rapists/burglers, etc into a case they are being tried on, the second the jury hears that information the person is going to be viewed as guilty (if they haven't already).

GregGry
December 18, 2008, 04:03 PM
Never use hand loads for self defense. Hand loads are will get a lot of attention from the prosecutor.

How would the prosecutor be able to find out they were hand loads? How is this going to affect a self defense shoot when it comes a guilty or innocent verdict? What court cases exist where a handload was a key peice of evidence? As far as never using handloads for self defense because it is incriminating, it is a myth.

Sure a lawyer can try any angle of a case to achieve what their goal is. Your not going to get a conviction on just a handloaded round of ammo. No lawyer is going to try to have that the meat and potatoes of their case, unless its a case where someones gun blew up and they are suing the manufacture.

MD_Willington
December 18, 2008, 04:45 PM
Using HP's is like a safety feature, HP's tend to stay put once inside the target, yet ignorant people on juries will never understand this...

Friendly, Don't Fire!
December 18, 2008, 05:10 PM
whether the person was JUSTIFIED in the shooting to save his life and/or save the lives of others.

That is why it is extremely important NOT to even pull out your weapon unless you are CERTAIN it is going to be "them or you."

I really believe I would rather die with my gun still concealed than pull it out and shoot someone in the wrong circumstances thereby causing me to be the person on trial.:scrutiny:

Frank Ettin
December 18, 2008, 09:24 PM
...So yes, the issue of Mr. Fish's handloads was brought up,...
AFAIK, Fish didn't use handloads. He used commercial, JHP, 10mm ammunition. The prosecutor made an issue of both his use of JHP ammunition and his use of a "powerful" cartridge.

...the most important, perhaps, the fact that the attacker's previous violent criminal history was not allowed to be presented as evidence....
In most cases that would be inadmissible under the rules of evidence.

...That harold fish case did not use the bullets caliber or construction to convict him....
The thing is that the prosecutor made an issue of both Fish's use of JHPs and a "powerful" cartridge, BUT Fish's lawyer did not deal with those issues properly.

How would the prosecutor be able to find out they were hand loads?...
If you really think that the investigator and the forensic team won't be able to figure it out, good luck.

...How is this going to affect a self defense shoot when it comes a guilty or innocent verdict?...
See post #41.

After practicing law for over 30 years, I will not use handloads for self defense. Of course, if anyone wants to use handloads for self defense, that's his prerogative. I don't care. It won't be my problem.

Frank Ettin
December 18, 2008, 09:28 PM
...Now the evidence of the screw driver was not allowed in, that obviously could have had a different outcome....
Under the rules of evidence, the fact that the assailant had screwdriver in his back pocket would have been inadmissible as irrelevant. Fish didn't know about it.

Japle
December 18, 2008, 09:42 PM
fiddletown, that was a good post (at 2:32). Excellent points.

It probably won't matter in this argument, of course. The voice of reason is often ignored. :rolleyes:

DMF
December 18, 2008, 09:54 PM
As I've said before:

Here is the key if deadly force is justified, it's justified no matter what you use to deliver that force.

Want a real scenario?

Man on a subway in NYC is threatened by 4 young men, he is ILLEGALLY carrying a revolver. He uses the ILLEGALLY carried revolver to shoot the four men. He asserts self defense on the 4 counts of attempted murder and is acquitted. He is however, convicted on the one count of illegal carry of a handgun.

BTW, for those don't remember that was Bernard Goetz.

Again, if lethal force is justified by a threat of death or serious bodily injury, the tool you use to deliver that justified force is irrelevant.

I have NEVER seen any caselaw that supporst the notion that the instrument used to deliver deadly force is a factor in determining whether deadly force was justified. I have NEVER seen any caselaw that supports the idea that the instrument used to deliver deadly force is a factor in a civil tort, if the person intended to deliver deadly force. I have heard of one case where modifications to a firearm were a factor in a civil tort involving an accidental discharge. However, the key distinction there is that the delivery of deadly force was UNINTENTIONAL, not an intentional use of deadly force for self defense.

Frank Ettin
December 18, 2008, 10:23 PM
...if deadly force is justified, it's justified...
And who decides if it's justified? No one has to take your word for it. If you're on trial there's some dispute about whether or not your use of lethal force was justified, and if the jury doesn't think so, you go to jail. All sorts of factors will affect the thinking of the jury and may dispose them in your favor or against you. Why make your situtation any more difficult than it needs to be?

From what I know of the Fish case, he was justified in using lethal force. But in his case, the jury didn't buy it. He had a number of problems, including the issues the prosecutor made of the type of ammunition he used (and there were of course others). And another problem is that his lawyer didn't deal effectively with those issues.

Trials are complicate exercises with a lot of moving parts. One thing that you will want, if you're ever a defendant, is to get the jury as much on your side as possible. Things that can get in the way of the jury getting on your side aren't good things for you. If you can avoid such things ahead of time, you can help yourself later on.

Some things may be worth taking risks over. Getting training and using good quality, commercial JHP ammunition can help increase your chances of prevailing in a lethal encounter; so they're worth the risk.

Using handloads, compared with quality factory ammunition, or embellishing your gun with vigilante symbols won't improve your chances of prevailing in a lethal encounter; but they may not sit well with a jury. So why do such things?

This isn't about case law. It's about trial tactics and how lawyers tell their clients' stories to juries.

rscalzo
December 18, 2008, 10:31 PM
Please cite a source where hand loads were in any way detrimental to the final verdict

More urban myth.

Frank Ettin
December 18, 2008, 11:15 PM
More urban myth
Not urban myth. Professional judgment -- mine and others who have training and experience in the law. Also see point [5] in post #41.

In any case, do what you want. It's not my problem. I, however, won't use handloads for self defense myself.

Cyborg
December 18, 2008, 11:16 PM
I am not any sort of gun "enthusiast". I had basic firearms training at OCS at Quantico in 1971 and again at USAF BMTS at Lackland AFB. I know that FMJ means "full metal jacket". I was not aware that handgun ammunition is available in FMJ. The ammunition which I carry is Speer Gold Dot - a type of jacketed hollow point. The copper cladding extends to the rim of the cup in the tip and the rim is scored in (IIRC) 8 places to facilitate controlled expansion. As I understand it, the copper cladding helps keep the projectile in one piece during the expansion process.

I know what a FMJ means for long gun ammunition. In a war fighting situation it helps assure the round will penetrate the target. Since any sort of expanding ammunition is expressly prohibited by the Laws Of Armed Conflict, all U.S. troops are allowed to use is "ball ammunition".

Now, will someone PLEASE tell me - PM is fine - what FMJ means in the context of handgun ammunition? Since, so far as I am aware, BGs for the most part do not wear ballistic vests, penetrating power would not seem to be important.

I am not interested in killing anyone but I do want to stop them from hurting me or my family. So stopping power would seem to be of paramount importance. Hollow point ammunition is better for that.

Cy

kingpin008
December 18, 2008, 11:47 PM
Cyborg - FMJ is the same for handguns as it is for rifle - Full Metal Jacket.

kurtmax
December 18, 2008, 11:51 PM
Any decent attorney won't have a problem arguing against using JHP ammo.

JHP has less penetration, and is actually less 'deadly' on average because you don't need to shoot someone as much (There is actually a govt. study on this you can dig up. They analyzed police departments that used FMJ and switched to JHP and found that they had to shoot people less times which caused less deaths (most deaths are from bleeding.. less holes means less bleeding)).

Frank Ettin
December 19, 2008, 12:05 AM
kurtmax, I agree. JHPs are defensible and worth defending. That's what I use in my self defense guns.

Cyborg, you've kind of hit on the crux of the great debate. The proponents of FMJs for self defense argue that they need reliable penetration. The proponents of JHPs argue that modern JHPs provide enough penetration and usually expand to make bigger holes so they're more effective. Any way, I go with the JHP crowd.

GregGry
December 19, 2008, 03:54 AM
Under the rules of evidence, the fact that the assailant had screwdriver in his back pocket would have been inadmissible as irrelevant. Fish didn't know about it.

For some reason I thought I read that he knew about it. If he didn't know then it wasn't included in his basis to shoot, and you are right it has no relevence in the case. Thanks for clearing that up.

If you really think that the investigator and the forensic team won't be able to figure it out, good luck.

With enough looking at a shell casing I am sure you can figure out it was a reload. Double extractor/ejector marks, and duplicate sets of marks on other parts could be an indication. However, comercial reloaded ammo would show the same signs, or rounds that are chambered and ejected numerous times without being fired. Sure if they outright asked they would likely find out. If you are justified in using deadly force it doesn't matter if you used a ar15, a shotgun, or a pistol. Sure depending on your choice you might be grilled a bit, but if you meat and potatoes stack up (You were reasonable with using deadly force) then your fine. If your meat and potatoes don't stack up, it really isn't going to matter what gun you used.

Ben86
December 19, 2008, 04:14 AM
Your first concern should be having the ammunition most effective at stopping people from commiting violent acts that is within the limits of your budget. But if you can afford to buy the $500+ gun you can at least buy $100 worth of ammo. Hollowpoints help keep the bad guy down better and the bystanders safer from shoot throughs. What's not to like?

And what about this argument: "I could have used fmjs in which case I may have had to shoot five into him to stop him because they punch neat holes, but instead I used jhps and only had to shoot him twice and he lived."

WardenWolf
December 19, 2008, 06:10 AM
The question I have is why soft points weren't even mentioned? Soft points have the advantage in that they usually feed as well as FMJ, and also tend to do significant damage. They may not be quite as effective as modern hollowpoints, but they will certainly be more effective than FMJ.

Deanimator
December 19, 2008, 08:31 AM
I was not aware that handgun ammunition is available in FMJ.
That used to be the ONLY commonly available handgun ammunition for semi-automatic pistols. It has always been extremely common, and still is.

Go to Walmart and see what kind of 9x19mm, .40 S&W and .45acp ammunition they have. Most of it, certainly the most affordable, will be FMJs. Even their cheapest .38 Special ammunition is loaded with a 130gr. FMJ, similar to the GI .38 Special load formerly used by aviators and female MPs.

Deanimator
December 19, 2008, 08:34 AM
The question I have is why soft points weren't even mentioned? Soft points have the advantage in that they usually feed as well as FMJ, and also tend to do significant damage.
1. I can't name a widely available soft point 9x19mm, .40 S&W or .45acp load.

2. Almost all of the ammunition with soft points or soft point bullets for reloading that I've seen are for revolvers. The Winchester White Box .44 Magnum that I buy at Walmart for my Model 29s is jacketed soft point.

Frank Ettin
December 19, 2008, 11:48 AM
With enough looking at a shell casing I am sure you can figure out it was a reload. Double extractor/ejector marks, and duplicate sets of marks on other parts could be an indication....
Plus, if they search your house, which they might, especially if you've been charged, they will find your reloading set up and probably things like broken boxes of the same type of bullet in the rounds remaining in the gun and the extra ammunition you caried on your person. If they decide to analyze the powder in the remaining rounds from your gun, they will probably find that it matches a type of canister powder found among your reloading supplies. I think that they'll figure out you loaded the ammunition.

...If you are justified in using deadly force it doesn't matter if you used a ar15, a shotgun, or a pistol....
Who decides if you were justified? And if you're on trial, there's some dispute about whether you were justified, and now it's not a "good shoot" until the charges are dismissed or you're acquitted. At trial, things like the type of gun, may, with the urging of the prosecutor, affect the thinking of the jury and may dispose them in your favor or against you.

Bubba613
December 19, 2008, 12:51 PM
At trial, things like the type of gun, may, with the urging of the prosecutor, affect the thinking of the jury and may dispose them in your favor or against you.

And you may be the victim of some government conspiracy. But I'm not planning to worry about any of those things. I leave that part to lawyers who get paid to tell their clients not to do something because it's safer that way.

Frank Ettin
December 19, 2008, 02:07 PM
Be my guest, Bubba. As I've said before, it's not my problem. I've had a very good career helping my clients avoid trouble while at the same time achieving their goals.

kurtmax
December 19, 2008, 02:52 PM
Using reloaded ammunition should be no problem legally either. A prosecuting attorney may come up with anything. You need to get a good attorney, and don't be afraid to 'point out' things to him if he's not completely familiar with firearms terms at whatnot.

I wouldn't use reloads... not for legal reasons, but for reliability reasons. Bulk primers and such seem to have a higher fail rate than good quality factory ammo (I use Speer Gold Dot 9x19).

GEM
December 19, 2008, 02:53 PM
Fiddletown is so on the money.

I would add that instead of internet arguments - one can turn to real professional level literature.

1. The legal and jury research literature clearly indicates the role of emotional variables in influencing juries. There have been specific studies that indicate that weapons appearance and exposure issues can be detrimental to a defendant. It interacts with gender of juror, shooter and juror gun expertise.

2. Defending the role of HP rounds - there are forensic science journals that will demonstrate the risk of overpenetration of FMJ rounds in actual shootings and the expert scientists state recommendations for HP rounds because of that.

3. As Fiddletown so ably states - if you are on trial - a lot of folk don't think it was a clear cut good shoot - that's a big DUH. For civilians and police, you can find a good number of trials on shootings that were thought to be ambiguous - thus the cliche of if it is a good shoot is absolute BS.

4. If you get a lawyer - you should be sure that they are familiar with this body of knowledge. You should also plan your self-defense strategies with a modicum of common sense to limit your vulnerability to such attacks over marginal gains because you think you are the Einstein of reloading and/or you think you need FMJ to shoot through some Zombie or other nonsense.

GregGry
December 19, 2008, 03:50 PM
Plus, if they search your house, which they might, especially if you've been charged, they will find your reloading set up and probably things like broken boxes of the same type of bullet in the rounds remaining in the gun and the extra ammunition you caried on your person. If they decide to analyze the powder in the remaining rounds from your gun, they will probably find that it matches a type of canister powder found among your reloading supplies. I think that they'll figure out you loaded the ammunition.


Ok so they proved that you reloaded your ammo. Show me a court case where this A) was ever brought up, and B) it had a bearing on the case. I still don't understand why so many people have this fear, it is completely irrational. I fail to see why the money and time would be spent trying to figure out if its dreaded handloaded ammo rather then just factory stuff. Not to mention what about black powder rifles/guns? Since you loaded the gun powder and the ball/bullet, it would be the same thing as handloaded ammo. Yet I don't hear anyone saying don't do it.


Who decides if you were justified? And if you're on trial, there's some dispute about whether you were justified, and now it's not a "good shoot" until the charges are dismissed or you're acquitted. At trial, things like the type of gun, may, with the urging of the prosecutor, affect the thinking of the jury and may dispose them in your favor or against you.

any lawyer worth his salt could overcome any prosecuting attorney's weak attempts at making you seem guilty because of the gun and ammo your using. I mean honestly what is all of this fear based off of? I have never read a court case where handloaded ammo caused a conviction, nor the choice in firearm. If your justified in using a .22lr your justified in using a 44mag. We can play games all day about what justified means, and we aren't going to get anywhere. Thats why unless someone can find court cases to back up that you wouldn't be justfied in a self defense shoot because of your choice in firearm, ammo type, if you reload, etc it is just a myth.

Frank Ettin
December 19, 2008, 03:51 PM
...The legal and jury research literature clearly indicates the role of emotional variables in influencing juries. There have been specific studies that indicate that weapons appearance and exposure issues can be detrimental to a defendant. It interacts with gender of juror, shooter and juror gun expertise...
And it's helpful to remember that the prosecutor will be doing everything he can to systematically exclude from the jury anyone who knows anything about guns. Some members of the jury might well have doubts about whether private citizens ought even have guns.

...If you get a lawyer - you should be sure that they are familiar with this body of knowledge....
+1, the lawyer works for you.

Also, one needs to be sure that his lawyer knows how to handle a self defense case. Even an able and experienced criminal defense lawyer may not have much experience with, or know how best to manage, a self defense case.

The typical defense in a criminal case is, "I didn't do it." So criminal defense lawyers have a lot of experience dealing with alibi and mistaken identity defenses, and they tend to be skilled at attacking the prosecution case and creating a reasonable doubt in the minds of the jurors. That's what the best criminal defense lawyers know how to do and can do very well.

But in a self defense case, the defendant says, "I did it, but I was justified." So now his lawyer's jobs are to demonstrate that the defendant satisfied the elements necessary to legally justify his actions and to defeat the prosecutor's attacks on the defendant's contentions. This is a very different sort of defense, and most criminal defense lawyers have little or no experience with it.

Frank Ettin
December 19, 2008, 04:02 PM
GregGry,

The points you're trying to raise have all been covered -- see posts 41 and 53. I've fully laid out the bases for my opinion and for why I won't use handloads for self defense.

If you think it's just a myth, you and anyone else is welcome to use handloads for self defense. It's not my problem.

GregGry
December 19, 2008, 04:57 PM
I understand where you are coming from, limit all of the potential risks to your credibility. However I still stand firm that it is more of a myth then something that is reality. There are more knowledgeable people here on firearm cases that have been tried in the past then 99% of websites, and after years of people asking if handloaded ammo is a legal liability nothing has ever come up other then don't do it.

I have been witness (And part of) cases where lawyers brought up all sorts of things that had little to nothing to do with the case. IT happens, but its not going to get a conviction without other evidence.

dvcrsn
December 19, 2008, 05:22 PM
Unless you live in someplace like New Jersey (which bans civilian use of HPs in handguns)--use the hollowpoints--because of the fact the police use them, they stop the person quicker and they are less likely to over penetrate. Most jurors will find use of the handguns and ammo the police use more acceptable than something more exotic (using Ruger, Smith, GLock, Taurus revolvers/pistols in39/357/9mm/40/45/10mm is going to be easier to justify than an Xframe Smith or a 44mag Desert Eagle for instance)

GregGry
December 19, 2008, 05:51 PM
justify than an Xframe Smith or a 44mag Desert Eagle for instance)
So you know if all the criteria are met and you can use deadly force, it doesn't matter if you use a truck or a .22lr to stop the threat. Even if you use a caliber handgun that you aren't allowed to carry you are going to be charged/lose your ccw for that, but you can't base a shooting on it being justified by what caliber is used. There are many reasons why a .44mag revlover isn't the idea weapon to use, none really have to do with legal liability unless you shoot though your intended pers or miss.

rscalzo
December 19, 2008, 06:18 PM
which bans civilian use of HPs in handguns

That is not quite correct. HP ammo is allowed for use on the range, hunting and in one's home/business which are areas that allow CC without any permits.

Frank Ettin
December 19, 2008, 06:23 PM
...limit all of the potential risks to your credibility....
And why not do so when it doesn't impair your effectiveness?

...There are more knowledgeable people here on firearm cases that have been tried in the past then 99% of websites...
One of whom is Massad Ayoob, and he recommends against the use of handloads for self defense. Part of his recommendation is based on the likelihood that gunshot residue from exemplar handloads would not be admissible if GSR is material.

...after years of people asking if handloaded ammo is a legal liability nothing has ever come up other then don't do it...
And how many self defense shooting are you aware of in which handloaded ammunition was used? And as far as you know, in how many self defense shootings that went to trial were handloads used? As I've said before, I strongly suspect that in the substantial majority of self defense shooting, ordinary factory ammunition was used. There is most likely no good data on handloads at trial. Without data, we have to rely on professional judgment.

...where lawyers brought up all sorts of things that had little to nothing to do with the case. IT happens, but its not going to get a conviction without other evidence....
If you're on trial following a self defense shooting, there is other evidence. No prosecutor is going to pursue a possible self defense shooting case if all he has is that handloads were used. He will have to have additional evidence in order to feel confident enough that he can rebut your claim of self defense to take the case to trial. Without more, he's not going to spend the taxpayers' money and risk his reputation.

Friendly, Don't Fire!
December 19, 2008, 07:17 PM
how about different lots of "manufactured ammunition?"

Suppose I have six rounds in my defense gun that are all 20 years old and the only other "same ammo" I have at all, I purchased just last week.

How are "they" going to test the lot from 20 years ago with the lot that I bought last week. Everything is identical, although I'm sure after 20 years, the powder and primers may be different!

Or, as someone else mentioned, suppose I use my blackpowder rifle for self defense? That is hand-loaded to my specifications, and I don't even write down those specs.

QuickRick
December 19, 2008, 07:24 PM
I would use the best HPs money can buy. What is your/your family's lives worth? As to the legal advice, good council can be had from this forum. Keep in mind however the states from which your advice originates. This is also a factor to consider from the TV shows. Most of the settings are big cities in liberal, anti gun states. Los Angeles and New York City come to mind. Also remember the entertainment industry in general, and Hollywood in particular are as anti gun, puke liberal as they come... Be thankful you reside in Texas. They have the castle doctrine and they believe in it. They actually feel that citizens who are attacked/assaulted by criminals are victims. Imagine that! I doubt you could reside in a better state if called upon to defend yourself with a firearm...Lord willing, you will never have to.

Frank Ettin
December 19, 2008, 07:45 PM
...how about different lots of "manufactured ammunition"...
The major manufacturers retain quantities from each lot.

Suppose I have six rounds in my defense gun that are all 20 years old and the only other "same ammo" I have at all, I purchased just last week.

How are "they" going to test the lot from 20 years ago with the lot that I bought last week. Everything is identical, although I'm sure after 20 years, the powder and primers may be different!

Or, as someone else mentioned, suppose I use my blackpowder rifle for self defense? That is hand-loaded to my specifications, and I don't even write down those specs...
Then if it's important to your case that you establish that you were a certain distance from your assailant, you won't be able to use GSR to do it. Maybe that hurts you and maybe it doesn't. But it is what it is. If you don't have admissible evidence with which you might be able to prove something that you have to prove, you'll just be out of luck.

Friendly, Don't Fire!
December 19, 2008, 08:02 PM
it is either me or them.

Period.

Frank Ettin
December 19, 2008, 08:25 PM
...it is either me or them...
As you wish. But I think of all this as really two fights. The first is on the street. The second is the possible legal aftermath.

I'm often puzzled by the amount of time and energy folks are willing to spend on preparing for the former, while hoping that the latter will just kind of take care of itself. People spend untold hours of research trying to pick just the right gun/holster/cartridge. We train and practice. But when we start talking about dealing with the legal aftermath, often the response is "a good shoot is a good shoot."

The Harold Fish case also illustrates how the legal aftermath can go south. It was reported to me, when I was recently in Arizona, by people apparently knowledgeable, that Fish was initially advised by both the investigating officer and the DA that it looked like a "good shoot." The DA was not planning to prosecute. But then friends of the man Fish shot put pressure on the DA to prosecute. So Fish went on trial and is now in jail.

In any case, everyone here is an adult and able to both make his own decisions and bear the consequences of those decisions. Of course, one might reflect that one's family and those who might depend on him will also bear those consequences.

Japle
December 19, 2008, 09:14 PM
All I know is the gun does not show unless it is either me or them.

Period.


Maybe, maybe not. If you think you can decide what's going to happen in a confrontation that's started and largely controlled by someone else, I wish you luck. Things aren't always as cut and dried as we might wish. Lots of variables. Lots of decisions being made by people who don't have your best interests in mind.

Friendly, Don't Fire!
December 19, 2008, 09:45 PM
I believe God has things happen for a reason. We might not understand now what that reason is, however someday we shall "know as we are known."

altitude_19
December 19, 2008, 09:52 PM
It's a matter of simple rhetoric for me.

The INARGUABLE factors:
1.) Many a self defense cases have come down to the question of how far away the deceased (or injured) party was when they were shot.
2.) Gun Shot Residue (GSR) is often admissible as evidence to determine distance from firearm to target at time of discharge.
3.) Accurate calcualation of distance based upon GSR depends upon knowing what specific charge (amount AND composition) was in the cartridge(s) fired.
4.)The charge in handloaded cartridge(s) fired CANNOT be assumed to have been the same as the remainder of the cartridges carried on the person of the shooter (I know MANY pistoleers who carry multiple calibers/loads, especially when it comes to reloads for revolvers) nor can it be assumed to be accurately documented in a reloader's logbook (your handwritten "bullet diary" is INADMISSIBLE).
The (seemingly) OBVIOUS conclusion:
If you are involved in a righteous shooting, where you did everything right (as I hope all of you would), you WANT all the facts about the encounter to be accurately deduced by an investigating official. Said investigating official won't have much to go on if he cannot even establish how far you were from the person you shot. After all, you would hardly be justified in shooting a knife wielding attacker who was 30+ paces off at time of discharge, and those are exactly the types of facts that tend to be distorted with the introduction of faulty GSR evidence.
BOTTOM LINE:
Handloaded ammunition makes it difficult to establish certain forensic elements of any given investigation as its load and composition is virtually impossible to verify beyond a reasonable doubt. Handloads are a variable in an equation that you need to be SOLID if you hope to walk away a free citizen. If you want an investigator to be able to prove the crowbar-swinging maniac was right on top of you when you pulled the trigger, give him to tools to do it; stick with a personal defense load whose GSR characteristics can be established beyond a reasonable doubt.

Friendly, Don't Fire!
December 19, 2008, 09:59 PM
I now use new factory ammo for my defense loads, thanks to the knowledge I gained from this site!

Bubba613
December 20, 2008, 08:05 PM
The Harold Fish case also illustrates how the legal aftermath can go south. It was reported to me, when I was recently in Arizona, by people apparently knowledgeable, that Fish was initially advised by both the investigating officer and the DA that it looked like a "good shoot." The DA was not planning to prosecute. But then friends of the man Fish shot put pressure on the DA to prosecute. So Fish went on trial and is now in jail.

As he should be.
When I first heard of the case it sounded bad to me. I wondered how he would avoid prosecution and jail.
Note that the jury's decision had nothing whatsoever to do with caliber, action, bullets, reloads or anything else. It had to do with the fact that the coroner's evidence contradicted the claim of self defense.

GregGry
December 20, 2008, 09:21 PM
(((And how many self defense shooting are you aware of in which handloaded ammunition was used? And as far as you know, in how many self defense shootings that went to trial were handloads used? As I've said before, I strongly suspect that in the substantial majority of self defense shooting, ordinary factory ammunition was used. There is most likely no good data on handloads at trial. Without data, we have to rely on professional judgment.)))

Handloaded ammo has been used in self defense and in homicides. The way that some people make out handloads to be a danger to you if you have to use them, is based on opinion and not fact. If handloads are so dangerous to a persons case there would be evidence to support it, not just opinions, since handloads have been used in cases.


((((4.)The charge in handloaded cartridge(s) fired CANNOT be assumed to have been the same as the remainder of the cartridges carried on the person of the shooter (I know MANY pistoleers who carry multiple calibers/loads, especially when it comes to reloads for revolvers) nor can it be assumed to be accurately documented in a reloader's logbook (your handwritten "bullet diary" is INADMISSIBLE).)))))

You can't assume that all rounds in commercial remanufactured ammo, or even cheap factory ammo is 100% identical. The remaining ammo that is in your gun (Provided you have some left) could still be used in an attempt to prove your distance with some degree of accuracy.



((((The (seemingly) OBVIOUS conclusion:
If you are involved in a righteous shooting, where you did everything right (as I hope all of you would), you WANT all the facts about the encounter to be accurately deduced by an investigating official. Said investigating official won't have much to go on if he cannot even establish how far you were from the person you shot. After all, you would hardly be justified in shooting a knife wielding attacker who was 30+ paces off at time of discharge, and those are exactly the types of facts that tend to be distorted with the introduction of faulty GSR evidence. )))

If they can't establish evidence contrary to what you have stated how is it that you will be found guilty? GSR evidence is something that can be used to establish distance, however mostly at closer range. The presence or lack of it could used to prove or disprove claims of distance. However you are missing a key element in GSR. That it is not 100% accurate, and that it can be proven wrong. With a handloaded round, if you can prove that a low loaded round would leave little to no GSR at close distances, then there is a hole in the claim that the lack of GSR means the person was shot at a further distance. Yes in an ideal world you would want the GSR to go along with your statements, but there are circumstances with even factory ammo that might not be possible (Such as shooting through your coat if that was your only option).

Frank Ettin
December 20, 2008, 09:23 PM
...the jury's decision had nothing whatsoever to do with caliber, action, bullets, reloads or anything else. It had to do with the fact that the coroner's evidence contradicted the claim of self defense.
Cite the facts and the sources on which you base this claim.

Harold Fish is an older, slighter man. His assailant was a younger, heavier man, angry and charging downhill at Fish.

I also find it interesting that you would take that view. You seem to be prepared to shoot an unarmed man smaller than you, in a situation otherwise not unlike Fish's.
...I am 6 ft tall and 210 lbs. If another guy comes rushing up to me cursing and threatening and he's 5'8" and 165 lbs does that mean I can't defend myself with deadly force? Is there some kind of contest you have to go through first to see whether he really is stronger or more fit?
...Did you actually think that one through? You're going to let some guy pummel you to the ground and only then think about drawing your weapon?
Hello?
No, I don't think so. Do what you want. I'm drawing and firing if the situation arises....
Also, what is "unarmed"? Just because someone doesn't appear to have a weapon doesn't make it so. I'd hate to get shanked by an "unarmed man."
See the following posts:

http://www.thehighroad.org/showpost.php?p=5165522&postcount=10

http://www.thehighroad.org/showpost.php?p=5166029&postcount=19

http://www.thehighroad.org/showpost.php?p=5165720&postcount=15

Basically, Bubba, you've said the you'd shoot in Harold Fish's situation.

GregGry
December 20, 2008, 09:27 PM
Also, back to my black powder question. If GSR is so important and has to be in your favor, what about black powder guns? Who knows if you put a load +/- 10 grains in it, extra eye of newt, or even some raw meat for flavor when shooting on the range. There is just about no way to prove how much of what was in the gun when you pulled the trigger. People have used BP weapons in self defense, and they have not been found guilty. Obviously with a variable of black powder being way more of a variable then smokeless powder in a modern case/firearm, there are ways to deal with GSR problems.

Frank Ettin
December 20, 2008, 09:45 PM
Handloaded ammo has been used in self defense and in homicides....
Prove it. Cite the cases.

You can't assume that all rounds in commercial remanufactured ammo, or even cheap factory ammo is 100% identical...
Then you might have problems if you're hoping to use GSR in your defense. Personally, I use quality, commercial ammunition.

...The remaining ammo that is in your gun (Provided you have some left) could still be used in an attempt to prove your distance with some degree of accuracy....
Only if you could establish that it is the same as the rounds fired. That was, for example, a problem in the case of New Jersey v. Bias. Because handloads were involved, the judge would not accept that the rounds remaining in the gun were the same as the round fired and would therefore not admit evidence related to GSR from firing any of those remaining rounds. For an extensive recitation of the facts of that case, see post http://www.thehighroad.org/showpost.php?p=2129976&postcount=140 .

If they can't establish evidence contrary to what you have stated how is it that you will be found guilty? ...
Well for one thing, the jury might not believe you without corroborating evidence. Remember, you're pleading self defense. You have to demonstrate that you were justified.

Bubba613
December 20, 2008, 09:58 PM
Cite the facts and the sources on which you base this claim.

I will not do your research for you.

Basically, Bubba, you've said the you'd shoot in Harold Fish's situation.
I said absolutely no such thing. Please do not put words in my mouth or distort what I said, even if that is your job.

When the story first broke I thought he would have been very justified shooting the dogs and not at all justified in shooting the other guy. Nothing I've seen since then has contradicted that. The jury obviously thought so too.

Frank Ettin
December 20, 2008, 10:11 PM
I will not do your research for you.
I've done the research. And my research has told me that Fish was justified in shooting. If you think differently, it's your burden of proof.

I said absolutely no such thing. Please do not put words in my mouth or distort what I said...
I did not put words in your mouth. I quoted from your posts in the disparity of force thread and provide links to the posts I quoted from.

The quotes are there. You've described Harold Fish's situation -- an assailant charging, cursing and threatening. In Fish's case, the assailant was bigger and younger than Fish. But you ask, "...I am 6 ft tall and 210 lbs. If another guy comes rushing up to me cursing and threatening and he's 5'8" and 165 lbs does that mean I can't defend myself with deadly force?"

Friendly, Don't Fire!
December 20, 2008, 10:22 PM
first, then the guy got pissed at Fish and started coming after him?

I guess I would be rather pissed myself if someone shot my two dogs, however, had I been on the other side (Fish), I would try to befriend the dogs, even if they were growling and snarling at me.

I once had a neighbor whose dog would run over to my house when I came outside and I felt so threatened by that dog that it would attack me, that I finally loaded my shotgun with buckshot and left inside the front door, just in case.

Fortunately, I was never attacked and that person moved, however, before they moved a kid came to my door one evening with his face in shreds and blood all over the place. That dog had attacked that young guy.

I didn't want to bloody-up my vehicle, so I believe I called the ambulance, or his parents or some such thing.

Friendly, Don't Fire!
December 20, 2008, 10:26 PM
I take that statement from Bubba as asking whether force would be justified.
"...I am 6 ft tall and 210 lbs. If another guy comes rushing up to me cursing and threatening and he's 5'8" and 165 lbs does that mean I can't defend myself with deadly force?"

"does that mean I can't defend myself with deadly force?"

I take that as Bubba "asking the question" -- kind of a rhetorical question -- not so much as a statement that he would absolutely DO IT!

altitude_19
December 20, 2008, 10:30 PM
You can't assume that all rounds in commercial remanufactured ammo, or even cheap factory ammo is 100% identical. The remaining ammo that is in your gun (Provided you have some left) could still be used in an attempt to prove your distance with some degree of accuracy.

Come now, I know you know what the jury is more likely to believe. Ammo manufacturers make their living by making millions of rounds nearly identical to eachother (ESPECIALLY premium PD ammo). MAYBE they'll believe the remainder of the ammo (as you said, if any) in your weapon and use it to establish distance. But they will almost DEFINITELY believe samples from remaining factory PD ammo (WHICH, BTW I've NEVER had issues with [so why not use it?]).

If they can't establish evidence contrary to what you have stated how is it that you will be found guilty? GSR evidence is something that can be used to establish distance, however mostly at closer range.

Isn't closer range where most gunfights take place? "Conversational distances" is the way I've heard it described. Come to think if it, 3 out of 4 of the times I've drawn a pistol have been close enough for GSR to be a factor.

The presence or lack of it could used to prove or disprove claims of distance. However you are missing a key element in GSR. That it is not 100% accurate, and that it can be proven wrong.

Perhaps, but the incident wherein the poor man was convicted of shooting his wife (actually a suicide) was dependant on this less-than-100%-reliable evidence. Would you take an accused murderer's word for what the charge in the cartridge was? Who's to say a shooter didn't load the round to spit excess GSR to make it seem like he was closer than he really was? In any case, a conviction based on GSR evidence frought with misinformation happened to him, and it can happen to you.

With a handloaded round, if you can prove that a low loaded round would leave little to no GSR at close distances, then there is a hole in the claim that the lack of GSR means the person was shot at a further distance.

Absolutely true, IF you manage to prove it was low loaded. Maybe you could, but it's been established that others have failed to do so. You really wanna roll those dice? Think I'll hang on to my Golden Sabre. Maybe it costs a little more, but it's CHEAP insurance in the grander scheme of things.

Yes in an ideal world you would want the GSR to go along with your statements, but there are circumstances with even factory ammo that might not be possible (Such as shooting through your coat if that was your only option).

Maybe there are circumstances with factory ammo where GSR evidence is dubious or even useless, but I GUARAN-DAMN-TEE you that it is EXPONENTIALLY more likely to be the case with handloads. Oh, and if I had to shoot through my coat, I think I'd be pretty hasty to point out my ruined leather to cover that base. :D

Bubba613
December 20, 2008, 10:51 PM
I've done the research. And my research has told me that Fish was justified in shooting. If you think differently, it's your burden of proof.
I thought you were in a different state from Fish? How do you know what the jury saw or didnt see?
I have no burden of proof. The jury voted to convict. Everything I've seen so far tells me that was correct. If you think differently maybe you could write and volunteer your time and expertise for an appeal.
I did not put words in your mouth. I quoted from your posts in the disparity of force thread and provide links to the posts I quoted from.
Of course you did. Please acknowledge this obvious fact before I write you off as a troll.

Frank Ettin
December 20, 2008, 10:53 PM
Did Fish shoot the guy's dogs
first, then the guy got pissed at Fish and started coming after him?

I guess I would be rather pissed myself if someone shot my two dogs, however, had I been on the other side (Fish), I would try to befriend the dogs, even if they were growling and snarling at me....
Of course Fish didn't shoot the dogs. He fired into the ground to scare the dogs off. Sure, that would have ticked off his assailant, but Fish did not injury the dogs, and the assailant, larger and younger than Fish, came charging down a hill threatening Fish.

take that statement from Bubba as asking whether force would be justified.

"...I am 6 ft tall and 210 lbs. If another guy comes rushing up to me cursing and threatening and he's 5'8" and 165 lbs does that mean I can't defend myself with deadly force?"
"does that mean I can't defend myself with deadly force?"

I take that as Bubba "asking the question" -- kind of a rhetorical question -- not so much as a statement that he would absolutely DO IT!
First, in context, I think it all suggests that he thinks he ought to be able to use lethal force in such a situation. Look at the entire post.

I dont get the concept. I am 6 ft tall and 210 lbs. If another guy comes rushing up to me cursing and threatening and he's 5'8" and 165 lbs does that mean I can't defend myself with deadly force? Is there some kind of contest you have to go through first to see whether he really is stronger or more fit?

Also, read that together with his statement in post http://www.thehighroad.org/showpost....9&postcount=19.

...You're going to let some guy pummel you to the ground and only then think about drawing your weapon?
Hello?
No, I don't think so. Do what you want. I'm drawing and firing if the situation arises....

...If GSR is so important and has to be in your favor, what about black powder guns? Who knows if you put a load +/- 10 grains in it, extra eye of newt, or even some raw meat for flavor when shooting on the range. There is just about no way to prove how much of what was in the gun when you pulled the trigger...
What that means is that if GSR is important to your defense, you're out of luck. GSR isn't going to be important in every case. But you have no way of knowing ahead of time whether it will be in your case. If it's important to you and you don't have a way to get in good GSR evidence, well that will be just too bad.

Frank Ettin
December 20, 2008, 10:55 PM
Of course you did. Please acknowledge this obvious fact before I write you off ...
If you want to write me off, that's your privilege. Everything is out in the open for all to see.

stevereno1
December 20, 2008, 11:06 PM
If your intent in carrying a defensive weapon is to STOP a threat, and you can legally purchase hollow-point ammo in your state...By all means, carry the most effective round that you can. My only warning would be to NEVER put hand-loaded ammo into your carry gun, EVER. as long as you carry commercial, factory manufactured ammunition, in a legal manner, yu are good to go.

GregGry
December 20, 2008, 11:13 PM
(((Prove it. Cite the cases.)))

I will send a request to all of the local agencies to find exact cases where handloads where used. I know they exist because I have worked with firearms examiners who have delt with ammo that was obviously shot numerous times (It makes identifying the exact gun used troublesome). I have also been witness to multiple headstamp shells being found on scene, which would suggest handloading or a commercial reloader (Both of which would be bad under conventional theory). There are many people that handload and get other peoples handloaded ammo. To think the possibility is not there for anybody in the USA to use a handload for self defense or in a homicide is foolish.


(((Then you might have problems if you're hoping to use GSR in your defense. Personally, I use quality, commercial ammunition.)))

GSR is something that can be proven and disproven. It could help your case, but if your case isn't strong without it, then there are likely problems dealing with the specifics of the case. In the case where witnesses say that you pulled the trigger on someone that was 50 feet awway, and you have no GSR evidence, sure the GSR might be very significant. However the witness statements will likely trump the GSR evidence in the long run. I don't use handloads for defense because I don't handload pistol rounds, and I doubt that I could create a better load then what I can get on the market.

((((Only if you could establish that it is the same as the rounds fired. That was, for example, a problem in the case of New Jersey v. Bias. Because handloads were involved, the judge would not accept that the rounds remaining in the gun were the same as the round fired and would therefore not admit evidence related to GSR from firing any of those remaining rounds. For an extensive recitation of the facts of that case, see post http://www.thehighroad.org/showpost....&postcount=140 .)))

I can see where establishing the same powder charge might be difficult. However if there is a complete lack of GSR in the case of a suicide such as the one listed on that link, there are ways to establish distance. If the lack of GSR establishes that the shot came from more then 4 feet away, and you have a body that hasn't been moved from where it is laying, it might be possible to establish the distance required wouldn't allow for the shot to have been taken place. If you then have no gunshot residue in the area believed to be where the shooter was, that would further establish that something is wrong with the GSR and it can't be relied on. You could also prove that if the load was a full power (like factory or other handloads found) it would have done different damage to the skull then what was present (Such in the case where a round didn't cause a through and throught to the skull). If you take the damage present and the lack of gunshot residue, and compare that to the distance required to duplicate that on a kadaver skull, you would find its not possible to duplicate the situation. Again this is relying on the facts that the place the body was found is established as the actual place the shot was taken. If the test on a skull suggests the shot had to be taken at 30 yards to equal the penetration and damage found, and there are no holes the the walls, then obviously something is wrong.

Also I am not ruling out that the suicide was indeed a homicide, I have not read the case in detail, it is possible that he is/was guilty. I don't trust anyone to give me just the facts from a case regardless of who they are. I will read the actual case in the future to understand more. Not to mention that case shows that you have an uphill battle if you use low powered handloads in guns you keep in your house that others could kill themselves with. Sure you could infer the gunshot residue issues in a self defense case, but its easy enough to prove that a low loaded ammo could leave little to no residue.

(((Well for one thing, the jury might not believe you without corroborating evidence. Remember, you're pleading self defense. You have to demonstrate that you were justified.)))

If your start is that a person appraoched you with a hand on a buldge in a pocket and said "I am going to shoot you unless you give me your money" and you shot them, that is your testimony and is evidence as to what actually happened. If there is no evidence that can be determined from GSR, or real shaky evidence from GSR that shows they were farther away then you claim, that could easily be trumped in court. Now if you claim you shot them at 5 feet away and there is no residue anywhere, the attmept could be made to give the idea that your lying. However just based on a lack of GSR being the only thing that can be used against you (absent of any other evidence to contradict your story), I find it hard to believe that any D/a would persue a case. In that suicide case you posted I find that no gunshot residue being found as suspicious, and a D/a would likely persue a case.

stevereno1
December 20, 2008, 11:20 PM
It could easily be found, by any slick lawyer, that you were making "death bullets" or some such nonsense. A jury of idiots might just believe said lawyer in a case, and hold you liable for everything that you own and hold dear. Stick with factory loads and let their lawyers defend their product in your self defense case.

stevereno1
December 20, 2008, 11:23 PM
Reference Massad Ayoob for details on actual court cases that have turned "regular Joes" into time-serving jailbirds because of questionable ammo, or stupid statements that were made after the fact of a self defense shooting. He is the expert.

GregGry
December 20, 2008, 11:24 PM
What that means is that if GSR is important to your defense, you're out of luck. GSR isn't going to be important in every case. But you have no way of knowing ahead of time whether it will be in your case. If it's important to you and you don't have a way to get in good GSR evidence, well that will be just too bad.

If GSR is really so important that one should not use handloads for fear of GSR not being able to be used properly, then ammo from manufactures should be certified and quality tested to insure that the GSR caused by the ammo they produce will be able to be relied upon as a determiner of distance. The problem is every shot will be slightly different since its not a fixed thing, and you can't ever write off a factory round from being low loaded (Or have a incomplete burn of the powder/no power). So there really isn't any way you can rely 100% on GSR as being accurate. It is not DNA evidence, or finger prints. If the only thing saving your case is GSR then you likely have a lot of other evidence that contradicts your statement of what happened.

GregGry
December 20, 2008, 11:29 PM
It could easily be found, by any slick lawyer, that you were making "death bullets" or some such nonsense. A jury of idiots might just believe said lawyer in a case, and hold you liable for everything that you own and hold dear. Stick with factory loads and let their lawyers defend their product in your self defense case

When you have the green light to use deadly force it really doesn't matter if you use a 22lr or a mack truck. So whatever the load you use can't be used as evidence to prove that you intended to kill someone, and it can't prove that the person you shot was putting you at risk of great bodily harm or death. The round is mearly the tool that you used to stop the threat/stay a live. Absent of any evidence to prove what you did wasn't justified, you will be found not guilty regardless of the tool you used. Lawyers can try to say and do almost anything they want. However if they don't have any evidence they aren't going to get anywhere. Sure the bullets/gun are evidence, as the tool that was used. Beyond that they really can't prove much.

altitude_19
December 20, 2008, 11:37 PM
GregGry, you seem to be operating on the presumption all jurors are smart, savvy fellas like yerself. :D Evil ammo has been done, and I'm sad to say it's worked a couple times. One more benefit to using my pretty "Golden Sabre" instead of evil, ugly "BLACK TALON." :what:

Frank Ettin
December 20, 2008, 11:42 PM
...So whatever the load you use can't be used as evidence to prove that you intended to kill someone, and it can't prove that the person you shot was putting you at risk of great bodily harm or death....
No, but it can lead members of the jury to not like you. And that can matter when it may be important that they believe your story. It's about the psychology of juries.

...Absent of any evidence to prove what you did wasn't justified...
If there wasn't such evidence, or at least evidence from which a jury might infer you weren't justified, you wouldn't be on trial.

...However if they don't have any evidence they aren't going to get anywhere....
If the prosecutor didn't have what he thought to be enough evidence to get you convicted, you wouldn't be on trial.

moooose102
December 20, 2008, 11:49 PM
everyone i have talked to here, in my county (leo's, attorney, ex prosecutor) all said the same thing. if it is a rightous shooting, it isnt going to make any difference what you use for a gun, or ammo. if it is good, there is no trouble, however, if its not a clear cut case, it could get sticky, whatever that means. also, i had been discussing at home problems, not out in the streets. if you shoot a person on the street, with a 300 magnum, there will probably be some kind of law suit. also, i live in a rural area, not a lot of ambulance chasers (if any), and not a lot of rich kids who went wrong. so that probably makes a difference. if you look at it this way, now days, most leo agencys are using hollow points, to limit liability of overpenetration litigation. if it is good for your local leo's, it should be good for you.

GregGry
December 21, 2008, 12:01 AM
If there wasn't such evidence, or at least evidence from which a jury might infer you weren't justified, you wouldn't be on trial.

I know of numerous instances where people where charged and brought to trial with evidence that amounted to nothing. I know of judges in my cities court system that have thrown out cases because the city failed to provide any evidence in the case.

A very good friend of mine was charged with hit and run on property (her apartments brick pillar for a awning overhang) when she slid in the parking lot (Ice) and hit it. She left the scene (everyone knew it was her) to get a cell phone so she could call the building landlord to tell him what happened, and to call the cops. She fullfilled the requirements after a accident (And it was not a hit and run because she had a complete defense to leaving the scene). However her cities D/a chose to go all the way to trial with it, and a jury found her not guilty.

Although I agree that jurors have the midset the people infront of them must be guilty since they aren't in court for nothing, that doesn't mean a person will be found guilty.

Frank Ettin
December 21, 2008, 12:20 AM
..I know of numerous instances where people where charged and brought to trial with evidence that amounted to nothing. I know of judges in my cities court system that have thrown out cases because the city failed to provide any evidence in the case....
Sure, you will occasionally find DAs who lack judgment, or who were handed a true bill by a grand jury that was out to lunch, but those are aberrations. A reasonably smart and ambitious DA wants to win cases. Winning cases is good for his career (and ego) while losing cases or having them tossed out is not. He will try to avoid taking clear losers to trial.

GregGry
December 21, 2008, 12:29 AM
Yes you are right.

Also, since I really haven't said this, I would say that you should buy the best self defense ammo you can buy. Its going to be hard to duplicate the power, accuracy, and reliability, of solid defense ammo with a handload. So for the sake of your own well being and the well being of others, use the best that you can get.

Art Eatman
December 21, 2008, 12:32 AM
Seems to me that if a fella was really worried about this sort of thing, he'd find out what the cops carried and did the same as they.

Kleanbore
December 21, 2008, 12:47 AM
The original question pertained to the choice between hollowpoint or FMJ rounds.

I choose the former, primarily because of the reduced likelihood that a round might go through the target and strike an innocent third party.

The discussion veered into the hand loads vs factory loads debate we have heard here before. My view is that if I'm the defendant, and I don't have witnesses to corroborate my story (or worse, there are "witnesses" who contradict it), and the lack of GSR on the person I have shot is used by the prosecutor to argue that the likely distance indicates against my having been in imminent danger, it may be essential to my case to prove that my ammunition would not have put GSR on the target at a short range.

Without the lot acceptance data, ISO 9000+ ratings, and independent third party records of a factory, there is a high likelihood that my expert's demonstrations would not be admitted in court.

Frankly, I don't want to ever be in that situation.

LIQUID SNAKE
December 21, 2008, 05:45 AM
HP ammo doesn't even work right 100% of the time anyway. You stand just as good a chance of over penetrating a target with a failed HP as a FMJ. Not all ammo works the way it's supposed to. Also their are those magic bullets still floating around. How often you here of a bullet doing some strange totally unpredictable thing?

Frank Ettin
December 21, 2008, 05:54 AM
HP ammo doesn't even work right 100% of the time anyway....
If it doesn't work, it acts the same as FMJ so you're no worse off with JHPs. And modern JHPs are very reliable.

TwitchALot
December 21, 2008, 06:40 AM
I'm somewhat familiar with the Fish case - what I would like to point out in that case, is that there were a number of things that went wrong with his case - the most important, perhaps, the fact that the attacker's previous violent criminal history was not allowed to be presented as evidence.

So yes, the issue of Mr. Fish's handloads was brought up, but it still does not prove that using handloads during a self-defense shooting will negatively affect the final outcome of a court case.

That harold fish case did not use the bullets caliber or construction to convict him. People keep using this case as proof that a caliber can be used as proof of intent, and that just by using a certain caliber you will be found guilty. All of which is complete BS. The fact that you had a gun is enough to prove intent if you have a bad self defense shooting, there is no need to start talking ammo type.

Bullet construction/type most certainly affected the outcome of the Fish case (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15199221/page/5/), at least, according to one of the jurors on the actual trial:

"The jurors believed Fish did the right thing in helping Kuenzli after the shooting, but some were troubled about whether he could have done more.

Nelson: Why didnít he try to stop the bleeding? Why didnít he try to pack the wound? He was a scout master.

And this juror was disturbed by the type of bullets Fish used.

Elliot: The whole hollow point thing bothered me. That bullet is designed to do as much damage as absolutely possible. Itís designed to kill.

Finally, all of the jurors reacted strongly to the testimony of the medical examiner."

Now, does this mean that just because you use hollow points you'll be found guilty? Of course not. But the fact is that the use of a hollow point, and more importantly, it's description by prosecutors, had an effect on this juror. Maybe it affected the others, maybe the defense did not address this as well as they thought they did or should have, who really knows? It certainly played a role in the outcome of this particular case.

That said, I'd recommend (and I'm no expert, so take my advice with a grain of salt) hollow points. Both FMJ and hollow points can be spun and used negatively against you. You may as well use the more effective round.

Friendly, Don't Fire!
December 21, 2008, 07:01 AM
And I would think any reasonable person would take a person screaming and coming at them (after they only shot the ground to scare the attacking dogs away) as a real THREAT -- especially if the attacker coming at the person is larger than they are.:eek::what::confused::uhoh:

I wonder, could the "attacker" possibly have thought that his dogs were shot?

Bubba613
December 21, 2008, 09:41 AM
Now, does this mean that just because you use hollow points you'll be found guilty? Of course not. But the fact is that the use of a hollow point, and more importantly, it's description by prosecutors, had an effect on this juror. Maybe it affected the others, maybe the defense did not address this as well as they thought they did or should have, who really knows? It certainly played a role in the outcome of this particular case.

That said, I'd recommend (and I'm no expert, so take my advice with a grain of salt) hollow points. Both FMJ and hollow points can be spun and used negatively against you. You may as well use the more effective round.

ANYTHING can be used against you. That isn't a reason not to do it. A decent attorney will be able to anticipate these issues and counter them effectively. I had a friend, a well meaning otherwise well informed guy, look at my hollow points and exclaim "these are forbidden by the Geneva Convention!" He could easily end up on a jury somewhere. It will be the defense attorney's job, assuming anything gets that far, to inform jurors of the truth about it.
My issue with the Fish case is that the guy appeared to be about 30 yards away. Certainly no threat if unarmed.

Friendly, Don't Fire!
December 21, 2008, 10:05 AM
I didn't know the guy he shot was about 30 yards away.
That's 90 feet which is quite a distance.

What I visualized was some guy running at him and about 8' away, ready to pounce almost at the next step or two!

So, in my mind, what I see is something completely different than what apparently occurred.

Deanimator
December 21, 2008, 10:10 AM
HP ammo doesn't even work right 100% of the time anyway. You stand just as good a chance of over penetrating a target with a failed HP as a FMJ.
That's like saying, "Parachutes don't even work right 100% of the time anyway. I'm going to skydive with an anvil."

As somebody else said, if you use hollow points, the WORST thing that could happen is that they don't expand.

The .45 FMJs are never going to be bigger than .451.

The .45 JHPs are never going to be SMALLER than .451. They probably will get to between .60 and .80. Tell me the downside again...

moooose102
December 21, 2008, 10:28 AM
How often you here of a bullet doing some strange totally unpredictable thing?

um, very seldom. normaly, they enter what you point the sights at, go in, and do pretty much what they were designed to do. 25 years ago, might have been a different story. but today, bullet manufacturers HAVE to test their bullets for fear of being dragged into court themselves. if their bullets were notorious for failing, the blood thirsty money hungry ambulance chasers would be all over it like stink on a skunk.

Kleanbore
December 21, 2008, 10:43 AM
ANYTHING can be used against you. That isn't a reason not to do it. A decent attorney will be able to anticipate these issues and counter them effectively.

Hmmm...too many people I have known thought that.

The outcome will boil down to what evidence the defendant can produce, what evidence the state will produce, how the defendant and the state's witnesses describe the facts, how the judge instructs the jury, and finally, how the jury interprets the facts presented.

If some of the evidence (say lack, of GSR on the deceased) introduced by the state indicates against a justified homicide, that will work against the defendant. He will have to counter it. Same regarding unfavorable witness testimony.

But if here is no favorable witness testimony, no security camera tapes, etc. to counter the prosecution's evidence, the defendant's case may depend on the introduction expert witness testimony on the subject of scientific forensic trace evidence to show that the ammunition used would not have left GSR on the deceased at very short range.

Whether that evidence is admitted will be up to the trial court judge. If he does not consider tests on the defendant's ammunition to be sufficiently objective, reliable, and accurate because of a lack of lot acceptance test records and independent third party records of a factory that is ISO 9000 rated, he is apt to rule against admission.

The jury will not have that evidence before them to consider. They will have the defendant's testimony, any testimony from prosecution witnesses, and the fact that the defendant has shot someone, evidently at greater than point blank range. Add to that statements the defendant has made on the internet and the law enforcement officers' descriptions of the defendant's loading bench, bookshelf, etc.

The prosecutor will use all of this, and perhaps some things the defendant has said to portray the defendant as one who fired without legally sufficient reason.

To me that's a pretty good reason to not do anything that might weaken the case for justifiability of homicide.

Bubba613
December 21, 2008, 11:26 AM
Given that everything can be spun (and will be) by a prosecutor to the defendant's disadvantage, then the logical next step to your assertion is just to do nothing and wait to be a victim.
I find that unacceptable.
I will take what I consider to be the most reasonable steps to avoid a confrontation in the first place, to de-escalate a confrontation where possible, to avoid shooting where possible, and to shoot to end the threat when all else fails. My choice of weapon and ammo will be geared to the last resort and assume that everything else has failed. If that gets me sued, OK so be it.
But I am not going to sit around and say "well, in one case 20 years ago in NJ the jury thought this was detrimental so I'm not going to use it." That's nonsense.

MP3Mogul
December 21, 2008, 12:13 PM
Find out which HOLLOWPOINT your local PD carries and carry it. If you should ever "have" to go to court because of a justified shooting:

You carry hollowpoints because they break up on impact and do not go through the bad guy, thus causing harm to an innocent bystander.

I have been in two defense shootings. The first one charges were never brought. The 2nd time they were, but the grand jury did not indict me. I think it depends on the situation. Either way, I'll use HP's no matter what and say just what I said above... I use them so my rounds don't "over penetrate" and harm an innocent.

Frank Ettin
December 21, 2008, 12:57 PM
...I didn't know the guy he [Fish] shot was about 30 yards away....
As I read the story that TwitchALot posted the link to, Fish's assailant was 30 yards away when he started charging at Fish. But Fish's appeal brief (http://www.haroldfishdefense.org/hfappeal.htm ) says that Fish testified that he "...waited until the last possible instant before firing and shot Kuenzli just a few feet short of a physical encounter..." and that he estimated the distance as 5 to 8 feet when he shot. The brief also states that, "The stateís firearms expert, ... was unable to refute Fishís account of the shooting, including the fact that Kuenzli was 5-8 feet away. [R.T. 5/02/06 , 202-203]. Haag also testified that the number of bullets in the gun, the bullet found at the scene, the placement of the ejected casings, the angle of the entry wounds were all consistent with Fishís account. [R.T. 5/02/06 , 219; 222-223; 235] ..."

Given that everything can be spun (and will be) by a prosecutor to the defendant's disadvantage, then the logical next step to your assertion is just to do nothing and wait to be a victim.....
I don't think anyone has suggested anything like that. The point is to stack the deck in your favor as much as you reasonably can.

Kleanbore
December 21, 2008, 01:05 PM
From Bubba613:Given that everything can be spun (and will be) by a prosecutor to the defendant's disadvantage, then the logical next step to your assertion is just to do nothing and wait to be a victim.
I find that unacceptable.

I don't agree that that's the next logical step, but I think most of us will agree wholeheartedly that it's unacceptable!

I will take what I consider to be the most reasonable steps to avoid a confrontation in the first place, to de-escalate a confrontation where possible, to avoid shooting where possible, and to shoot to end the threat when all else fails.

Great strategy.

My choice of weapon and ammo will be geared to the last resort and assume that everything else has failed.

The "last resort" will include an investigation and perhaps prosecution.

But I am not going to sit around and say "well, in one case 20 years ago in NJ the jury thought this was detrimental so I'm not going to use it." That's nonsense.

The jury never saw the evidence--the trial judge refused to admit it. However, it is not the outcome of the Bias case in the trial courts on which a prudent person would bet his record, fortune, and personal freedom. That the appellate courts evidently did not find the trial court judge to have been in error might tend to give one pause, though.

In the case of most kinds of evidence, all evidence that is introduced is to be admitted and weighed by the jury. Scientific forensic evidence and expert testimony is another matter--the trial judge will decide, based on certain criteria, whether that kind of evidence will be admitted in court. I believe that one will almost always see fingerprints, DNA, hair and fiber evidence, mass spec testing data, etc. admitted; to the best of my knowledge one will not see polygraph test results admitted anywhere as evidence in a capital case.

Should GSR become an issue, the trial judge would have to decide on the admissibility as evidence of GSR test data on the ammunition used by the defendant. My lay interpretation of the criteria now set forth for the Federal courts is that handload test data would probably not be admitted. The new Federal precedent would likely not be determinative in a state court, but the principles involved in the Federal precedent could certainly influence the trial court judge's decision--the state would no doubt make the same kind of arguments that influenced the Supreme Court.

One might reasonably assess the likelihood that the refusal of a trial judge to admit ammunition test results might determine the trial outcome as low, unless the lack of GSR evidence on the victim were to weigh heavily. One might reasonably assess the likelihood that the choice of hand loads might influence the jury's assessment of the defendant's state of mind and determine the outcome as very low. That these factors, in combination with other evidence or the lack thereof, might tip the balance in the minds of the jury cannot be reasonably argued, however. And when assessing risks, likelihood must be considered in combination with the potential consequences, which in this discussion include conviction for murder in a case in which the fact that the defendant killed the victim has already been established.

Now, if premium factory ammunition were demonstrably less reliable and effective than hand loads one would have to enter the likelihood and potential consequences of ammunition failure into the equation, but I cannot accept that any reasonable person would actually believe that today.

By the way, I started shooting fifty two years ago and I started hand loading two years later. If memory serves, I have had two center fire rounds fail to fire. Both were WWII military rounds. For all I know, the .38 Spl. FMJ round spent most of the war on a dock. The 6.5X52MM rifle round had the bullet seated in an unsized case via a couple of dimples. The bullet wobbled and the case was essentially unsealed against the elements.

From MP3Mogul: You carry hollowpoints because they break up on impact and do not go through the bad guy, thus causing harm to an innocent bystander.

Yes indeed. That's why I retired a 9MM that only functions reliably with ball ammunition (after reading Mas Ayoob's latest book).

Friendly, Don't Fire!
December 21, 2008, 03:43 PM
It seems there was some information that was supressed by the DA regarding the guy that was shot. From what I could gather he had quite a temper and there was even something about him with regard to his former girlfriend.

Anyway, back to the original topic of this thread.

It seems that in most circumstances, factory manufactured high quality hollow point ammo is the safest way to go not only in terms of stopping an attacker, but also so any GSR investigation can be done with regard to that ammo.

It makes me glad I have some quality factory ammo on hand for my guns.

GregGry
December 21, 2008, 04:00 PM
It seems there was some information that was supressed by the DA regarding the guy that was shot. From what I could gather he had quite a temper and there was even something about him with regard to his former girlfriend.

Such information is not going to make it into evidence because it has no bearing on the case. You can prove a person was mentaly unstable by saying the facts, aka that you saw them mumblind/drooling while standing in the corner, that they were yelling at people/things that weren't there, etc. However in court you can't use information that you weren't aware of (such as the person just broke up with their wife) because you didn't know that at the time.

Frank Ettin
December 21, 2008, 04:25 PM
It seems there was some information that was supressed by the DA regarding the guy that was shot. From what I could gather he had quite a temper and there was even something about him with regard to his former girlfriend.

Such information is not going to make it into evidence because it has no bearing on the case. You can prove a person was mentaly unstable by saying the facts, aka that you saw them mumblind/drooling while standing in the corner, that they were yelling at people/things that weren't there, etc. However in court you can't use information that you weren't aware of (such as the person just broke up with their wife) because you didn't know that at the time.
That's generally true. Prior bad acts or the bad character of the decedent is normally not admissible.

There is a small exception to that general rule, at least in some jurisdictions. And that my come into play here.

In Fish's appeal brief, he appears to be arguing that the prosecution introduced evidence of the decedent's good character. I just noticed this in scanning through the brief.

In that case, if the prosecution has opened the door, the defense, under most rules of evidence, would then be entitled to introduce evidence of the decedent's bad character or prior "bad acts."

Usually when the prosecutor introduces evidence of the decedent's good character in cases like this, he is laying the foundation to argue, "It's inconceivable that someone like the decedent could have acted in such a violent and aggressive manner, so the defendant's story must be a lie." So when the prosecutor makes that sort of argument, the rules of evidence will generally permit the defendant to introduce evidence that may show that in fact the decedent might well have acted in the violent manner described by the defendant.

It's a subtle point, and in most cases, you're correct. Evidence or the decedent's character would not be admissible -- most of the time. I guess we'll have to wait to see how the court of appeals deals with the question in Fish's case.

TwitchALot
December 21, 2008, 08:26 PM
My issue with the Fish case is that the guy appeared to be about 30 yards away. Certainly no threat if unarmed.

As were the two dogs. Now I don't know about you, but after two dogs and an angry dude charging at me, I'd be very inclined to fire especially if the warnings I gave (including a warning shot) to not only control the dogs but also stop charging were ineffective. An angry dude charging at me, much bigger and taller, ignoring my orders to stop after presenting my firearm, and what, you want me to go hand to hand until I start losing? You want me to bet my life on the hope he doesn't have a weapon?

When exactly does a fist fight turn into a knife fight, when you get stabbed? Is that when you shoot, after you realize that he may beat you unconscious with his fists or has already stabbed you?

If you decide to charge at me an in aggressive manner while shouting threats, despite the presentation of a firearm and warnings to cease the attack, and you get shot at you know, 10 feet away (that is, about 27 yards + of warnings), why would you be surprised? Why should a defender have to give an attacker the benefit of the doubt?

larry_minn
December 21, 2008, 09:01 PM
Just reading OP... IMO go with HP ammin handgun. You need every advantage you can get. The ONLY Police that DON'T carry a HP rd are those that their LEGISLATURE/out of touch admin mandate fmj only.
HP is safer for EVERYONE. Fewer rds "should" cause a attacker to reconsider his actions. (more likely to live after medical treatment) Less rds fired means less chance of a miss hitting something you don't want to. HP should NOT go thru and endanger others/leave two holes in attacker.

Cyborg
December 21, 2008, 10:06 PM
The .45 FMJs are never going to be bigger than .451.

The .45 JHPs are never going to be SMALLER than .451. They probably will get to between .60 and .80. Tell me the downside again...
But my .40 S&W Speer Gold Dot 155gr projectiles (exact same round carried by local PD here) start out at only .40" in diameter and - according to FBI tests - can be expected to expand to .84" whether fired from my full sized Glock or my compact Uzi Eagle. That beats all the .45 acp that I could find test data for. I couldn't find anything about permanent wound channel measurement, but I would expect a larger mushroom to make a larger permanent wound channel.

Now the purpose of carrying is NEVER to kill anyone. All I am ever interested in is stopping someone who is acting in such a manner as to justify my use of deadly force in accordance with TPC chapter 9. But I would expect that a more expansive projectile would make a greater wound and be more likely to stop the person.

But some people are harder to convince to stop doing something so I load the Uzi Eagle with 11 (10+1) rounds and the Glock with 16 (15+1). Never heard about someone losing a close encounter of the leadly kind due to having too much ammo. Heard of 'em losing due to having too LITTLE ammo but never from having ammo left over. Am I wrong?

As for deadly force being a last resort, I agree. But if it comes down to someones wife being a widow, I will do my best to see that it isn't mine.

Here are where I found some good test result data:
http://www.firearmstactical.com/ammo_data/40s&w.htm
http://www.firearmstactical.com/ammo_data/45acp.htm

Cyborg

DMF
December 21, 2008, 10:36 PM
This isn't about case law.BS. If the method of delivering deadly force was really a factor in determining whether or not the use of force was justified there would certainly be cases that supported that theory.

However, there are NO cases that support that theory, and in fact there are cases that directly contradict that theory. One of the most famous of which is the example I gave earlier of Bernard Goetz. There was no subtlety such as whether his choice of weapons was too much, it was clearly a use of an illegally possessed/carried weapon. He had no legal right to have that weapon with him, and despite the fact that it was illegal for him to have that weapon he was determined to have been justified in using deadly force to defend himself.

Again, if lethal force is justified by a threat of death or serious bodily injury, the tool you use to deliver that justified force is irrelevant.

I have NEVER seen any caselaw that supporst the notion that the instrument used to deliver deadly force is a factor in determining whether deadly force was justified. I have NEVER seen any caselaw that supports the idea that the instrument used to deliver deadly force is a factor in a civil tort, if the person intended to deliver deadly force. I have heard of one case where modifications to a firearm were a factor in a civil tort involving an accidental discharge. However, the key distinction there is that the delivery of deadly force was UNINTENTIONAL, not an intentional use of deadly force for self defense.

Frank Ettin
December 22, 2008, 12:53 AM
BS. If the method of delivering deadly force was really a factor in determining whether or not the use of force was justified there would certainly be cases that supported that theory....
I guess that you haven't been paying attention. The issue is about jury psychology.

R00KIE
December 22, 2008, 01:20 AM
I would use a frag grenade if I had to. I shoot regular white box ammo for everything, Thats why I have four mags of 13 in 45 acp. I would slap another mag in and let him have all those too!

If he's worth shootin once, he's worth shootin twice.

I live in ARIZONA, we kill stupid people here and the court doesn't get hung up on stupid crap like what bullets did we use. ship me your black talons and golden sabers . . . lol.

Frank Ettin
December 22, 2008, 01:41 AM
...I live in ARIZONA, we kill stupid people here and the court doesn't get hung up on stupid crap like what bullets did we use. ship me your black talons and golden sabers...
Oh really. Maybe you should check out the Harold Fish case. You can Google him, and there are plenty of posts in this thread discussing his situation.

He was convicted, in Arizona, by an Arizona jury, in an Arizona court presided over by an Arizona judge, and sentenced to 22 years in an Arizona prison, following what a lot of folks think was a righteous self defense shooting.

DMF
December 22, 2008, 01:59 AM
I guess that you haven't been paying attention. The issue is about jury psychology.No I have been paying attention. I've been paying attention on this topic for years. You can say it's about jury psychology all you want, but there is no case that supports your claims.

The jury in the Fish case did not decide that case because of the tool used to deliver deadly force. They believed that Fish was not justified in using deadly force period.

Again, there is no case out there that has been decided based on what tool was used to deliver deadly force. They are ALL decided on whether deadly force itself was justified. That is what the jury will be instructed to base their decision on when deliberating.

Frank Ettin
December 22, 2008, 02:19 AM
...They are ALL decided on whether deadly force itself was justified. That is what the jury will be instructed to base their decision on when deliberating....
I also guess that you've had no experience with juries. IME, they do indeed try to follow instructions, but they must also make judgments and weigh the evidence.

For example, in post #116, TwitchALot quotes one of the Fish jurors as saying, "....The whole hollow point thing bothered me. That bullet is designed to do as much damage as absolutely possible. Itís designed to kill." In post verdict interviews of jurors in cases in which I've been involved, jurors have explained how factors relating to their impression of the defendant or a witness affected how much weight or credence they gave a particular piece of evidence.

As GEM pointed out in post #69,
....The legal and jury research literature clearly indicates the role of emotional variables in influencing juries. There have been specific studies that indicate that weapons appearance and exposure issues can be detrimental to a defendant. It interacts with gender of juror, shooter and juror gun expertise.....

Frank Ettin
December 22, 2008, 02:38 AM
The jury in the Fish case did not decide that case because of the tool used to deliver deadly force. They believed that Fish was not justified in using deadly force...
But why was that what they believed? What were the factors in the evidence that caused them to conclude that Fish wasn't justified?

Fish testified that his assailant came charging downhill at him, angry, violent and shouting threats and the he [Fish] was in fear of his life. Fish also testified that he displayed his gun and several times shouted to his assailant to stop. Fish testified, and the State's firearm expert corroborated, that he [Fish] held his fire until his assailant was almost on top of him and finally shot at a distance of some 5 to 8 feet. There was also evidence that Fish's assailant was a younger, larger and heavier man.

As described, that is an almost textbook justified shooting based on disparity of force. Yet somehow the jury discounted Fish's testimony and the evidence supporting his self defense plea, and gave more credence to the prosecutor's evidence. Why? What emotional and psychological factors affecting the jury's assessment of the evidence contributed to that result?

kimber98
December 22, 2008, 04:09 AM
If you have ever been to a trial about which you had knowledge, you will have observed that the verdict was less about justice than about the information presented to the jury by the attorneys and the judge to use in making their decision... even information that might have been intentionally twisted to be used against you. It doesn't make too much difference what ammo or what gun you used to stop the attack, or even how justified was the shooting. What matters is that you have the better and more experienced attorney who can work the jury and judge to your advantage. Don't ever believe that because you did everything right, that you will be found innocent. Survive the attack first, then get a good lawyer.

Kleanbore
December 22, 2008, 11:42 AM
From kimber98:

If you have ever been to a trial about which you had knowledge, you will have observed that the verdict was less about justice than about the information presented to the jury by the attorneys and the judge to use in making their decision...

The second part is certainly true--it's about information presented to the jury--but I don't see how a jury can make a just decision without evaluating the facts.

What the defendant perceives as justice and what the family of the victim perceive as justice will undoubtedly not converge.

even information that might have been intentionally twisted to be used against you.

It can certainly seem that way based on my experience. However, if the prosecutor in his summation were to say, "the defendant strapped on not one, but two Glocks [(the second being a "BUG")], along with two extra high capacity magazines, drove to the WalMart where he lingered for about twenty minutes, was seen by two witnesses to have been observing the deceased in different parts of the store, and left the store immediately after the deceased left the store...", it would probably not be accurate to characterize that as "twisting" the information, even though it might well help to put the defendant in a bad light.

It doesn't make too much difference what ammo or what gun you used to stop the attack, or even how justified was the shooting.

Actually, it is all about how justified was the shooting--under the law, if not in the shooter's opinion of how the law should read. The ammo or gun shouldn't enter into it, but if the selection were to influence the jury in their evaluation of the defendant's state of mind, it would make a difference.

What matters is that you have the better and more experienced attorney who can work the jury and judge to your advantage.

An able and experienced attorney is essential but may not be sufficient. He cannot create evidence that does not exist.

I've known, and known of, too many people who have believed that their attorneys can and will somehow rescue them after the deeds have been done and the evidence has been created.

Right now, the Governor of Illinois has retained someone said to be one of the best criminal trial lawyers in the profession. The former governor, who is in prison, also had a very good one.

Don't ever believe that because you did everything right, that you will be found innocent.

Right, if you add the word "necessarily". We hope that if the defendant did everything right, he will in fact be found innocent. But that will be heavily dependent on the evidence at hand.

In a self defense case (castle doctrine cases somewhat excepted), the defendant starts at a disadvantage: he has acknowledged that he has committed homicide (or that he has injured the victim).

The prosecution starts with the fact that the shooting by the defendant is not in question. He can add statements made by the defendant on the internet that "BGs" should be shot, or that a good lawyer will be able to "get him off" if he shoots someone. He may also introduce a list of the books on the defendant's bookshelf, and/or a list of the DVDs the defendant owns, to help establish the defendant's state of mind. The defendant's "good lawyer" can argue relevance, but in my lay opinion that's about all he can do other than produce evidence that counters that of the prosecution.

The defendant must produce convincing evidence showing that the homicide was justified. Absent corroborating witnesses or store security camera "footage"; a weapon from the victim or a slash on the defendant's sleeve; circumstantial evidence such as the fact that the shooting occurred in the middle of an otherwise empty parking lot next to the defendant's car, indicating that the victim's presence in that location was at least a strong indication of his intended malfeasance; and/or evidence that the shooting occurred at very short range, it would seem to this lay person that the defendant faces an uphill battle, armed with only his own account of what happened.

Survive the attack first, then get a good lawyer.

I would suggest that between surviving the attack and getting a lawyer, the "actor" and potential defendant-to-be should immediately identify all potential witnesses, and perhaps ask them if they saw the victim run at him with a knife and/or whatever other relevant events that eyewitnesses may not otherwise have noticed.

DMF
December 22, 2008, 12:05 PM
I also guess that you've had no experience with juries.You would be dead wrong about that one.

divemedic
December 22, 2008, 12:36 PM
Anything can and will be used by an attorney trying to win his case. It does not matter what it is, you can search cases and find even where contradictory things have been used to win cases:

Find out which HOLLOWPOINT your local PD carries and carry it.

So, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, this man, the Defendant, wanted to be a cop, a person with the power to be the judge, jury, and executioner of the evil doer- a vigilante, a cop wannabe. So he even went to far as to research and buy the same ammunition as the local police, then he picked up his weapon and went searching for trouble, and he found it.

The same can be said for having a CCW, having taken classes in firearm self defense, owning an "arsenal," or even posting on a "gun nut" forum.

The opposition will use whatever they can legally get away with in order to win.

Frank Ettin
December 22, 2008, 12:37 PM
...An able and experienced attorney is essential but may not be sufficient. He cannot create evidence that does not exist.

I've known, and known of, too many people who have believed that their attorneys can and will somehow rescue them after the deeds have been done and the evidence has been created....
This is a very important point. A lawyer can only work with the evidence available.

GregGry
December 23, 2008, 02:38 AM
That's generally true. Prior bad acts or the bad character of the decedent is normally not admissible.

There is a small exception to that general rule, at least in some jurisdictions. And that my come into play here.

Yes you are completely correct. I completely forgot about that because the lawyers I deal with keep their clients from saying things like that because it opens the floodgates to a whole lot of stuff you don't want in.

So, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, this man, the Defendant, wanted to be a cop, a person with the power to be the judge, jury, and executioner of the evil doer- a vigilante, a cop wannabe. So he even went to far as to research and buy the same ammunition as the local police, then he picked up his weapon and went searching for trouble, and he found it.

Statements like these don't prove anything. So what that a person uses the same ammo as a local police department. That should have never been brought up since it has nothing to do with a person being justified in their actions. Any lawyer would be able to deal with statements like that. Incoherent statments/ramblings aren't going to get a conviction.

Frank Ettin
December 23, 2008, 03:07 AM
The way I look at it is that anything you say, don't say, do, don't do, etc., can and will be used against you if it suits the prosecutor's purposes. So the question is: do the upsides outweigh the downsides?

A prosecutor could try to use the fact that you've had professional training or used HP ammunition against you. But training and using good, commercial HP ammunition has some major upsides. Being well trained and using HP ammunition increases your chance of prevailing on the street. Your lawyer will need to tell a good story, but the upsides make it worth it.

But I don't see any real upsides to using handload (or things like wearing urban commando or mall ninja regalia to the pizza joint). That's not going to help you prevail on the street, and I wouldn't consider it to be worth any downside.

GregGry
December 23, 2008, 03:11 AM
I can tell you I after testing accuracy out of commercial ammo such as golden sabers and gold dots, I don't see how it would be possible to get better accuracy. The again wolf ammo is more accurate then most people can shoot with a pistol. Its going to be hard to match the low flash, high velocity, reliability, etc of quality commercial ammo. Your going up against a pretty high standard, and your not likely going to better it.

Frank Ettin
December 23, 2008, 03:33 AM
...Its going to be hard to match the low flash, high velocity, reliability, etc of quality commercial ammo...
I agree. I just can't see any advantage to handloads for self defense.

Mach2
December 23, 2008, 04:09 AM
I went with ball ammo for three reasons(fmj I think it's called)

1 because of the negative connotations HPs can generate in a court of law.

2 HPs sometimes don't feed as well as ball ammo. Square nose vs around nose bullet.

3 HPs sometimes don't work right. Lack of penetration, disintigates etc. Why do I say this? Because of the website Box O' Truth.http://www.theboxotruth.com/docs/bot26.htm

Dunno where in this sight I saw what I saw but several tests revealed flaws in HPs. Some people have unflinching faith that HPs are always better and this may not be the case.

larry_minn
December 23, 2008, 04:43 AM
Mach2 posted "I went with ball ammo for three reasons(fmj I think it's called)

1 because of the negative connotations HPs can generate in a court of law.

2 HPs sometimes don't feed as well as ball ammo. Square nose vs around nose bullet.

3 HPs sometimes don't work right. Lack of penetration, disintigates etc. Why do I say this? Because of the website Box O' Truth.http://www.theboxotruth.com/docs/bot26.htm

Dunno where in this sight I saw what I saw but several tests revealed flaws in HPs. Some people have unflinching faith that HPs are always better and this may not be the case."

IF ball ammo/fmj is all that reliably feeds you should stick with it. For those of us who don't have that problem we have choices.
Yep HP may NOT expand in some situations. So what? it still is same size as FMJ. (often the reason it does not expand is because the HP gets filled with jacket/shirt material and it behaves (Just like a FMJ) So shoot fmj or a ammo that at worst will act like fmj but normally will be better at STOPPING the attacker and LESS likely to go thru to (possibly) endanger others.

Some HP loads do NOT penetrate. (Corbon comes to mind) The early Win STHP was critisized for that. (because of mainly ONE shooting incident) :( (in FLorida,,,Maimi...)

Thing is everything is a trade off. IMO of more importance is CAN YOU HIT the threat? Do you trust the ammo/gun?. A 500 S&W MISS will likely do less to stop a attacker then a 9mm hit COM. (unless you blind them with muzzle flash) :)

divemedic
December 23, 2008, 07:51 AM
All I was saying is that a lawyer will try to make a case out of anything, so don't waste a lot of time and lose sleep over trying to please some mythical lawyer that may or may not be in your future.

If you enjoyed reading about "Deadly Force: Hollowpoint or FMJ?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!