Liability of self defense shooting


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Impureclient
February 5, 2009, 08:54 PM
I'm mainly looking for an answer from a lawyer or LEO on this one as I've gotten mixed answers
from my local police and here but anybody can chime in.

If you shoot and kill a BG are you immediately considered at fault no matter what the situation
may have been?

I constantly hear on THR and other sites about having counsel and calling him/her immediately
after the shooting. Well immediately calling after the police anyways. If you were defending your
life or another life you are considered guilty until proven innocent? Or is that just to cover your
butt in case you say something dumb to incriminate yourself?

Does carrying a gun/weapon and possibly using it mean you should have tens of thousands in
the bank in case you need this attorney before you even think about using a weapon for self
defense?

On a side note:
When my dog was attacked in my front yard, by a stray, while I had him on a leash, the
police later told me that I would have been justified to shoot the attacking stray as it may
have attacked me also.
So was that bad advice straight from the police to get me in a jam for another possible encounter?

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kingpin008
February 5, 2009, 09:03 PM
It varies greatly from state to state. Are you interested in Florida law, or elsewhere?

Tamlin
February 5, 2009, 09:11 PM
Laws vary state to state. I don't know what the self-defense laws are in Florida, but I'm positive the statutes are available online. Look to the Assault and Self-Defense Justification sections. The table of contents in your criminal code should point you where you want to look. Read it for yourself. In Arizona, you can match like force with like force in self-defense, meaning, if someone is attacking you with non-lethal force (he's trying to punch you), you can't respond with DEADLY force - you can only respond with non-deadly force (you can punch him back). If he attacks you with deadly force (eg, pulls a knife or other weapon), you can respond with deadly force, including using your gun. The grey area is what you PERCEIVE the force threat to be. Defense of third persons (or defense of property, such as dogs) are usually addressed in a related statute. Read your statutes - everyone should be aware of their own state's self-defense laws. You don't need a lawyer to explain them to you.

Boba Fett
February 5, 2009, 09:29 PM
In Texas, from what my CCW instructor told us:

If you shoot and kill a BG are you immediately considered at fault no matter what the situation
may have been?
Very likely. You are at fault for killing that person. Is it a crime? That will depend on what the officers and DA decide.


I constantly hear on THR and other sites about having counsel and calling him/her immediately
after the shooting. Well immediately calling after the police anyways. If you were defending your
life or another life you are considered guilty until proven innocent? Or is that just to cover your
butt in case you say something dumb to incriminate yourself?
This is always a good idea.

Also If you have taken a CCW class, or at least in mine, they tell you how to talk to the police. Saying things like, "I killed the guy" or "I was so scared I don't really remember what happened" can get your burned. Use words and phrases like "stopped," "protected," "my/my family's life was in danger," etc. Don't use emotional words or phrases that tend to make people think that you weren't in control during the situation or that they can use to paint you as a murderer (that would be words like kill).

Does carrying a gun/weapon and possibly using it mean you should have tens of thousands in
the bank in case you need this attorney before you even think about using a weapon for self
defense?
Not in most cases. And I think the NRA has some defense setup for such situations...don't remember for sure...will some THR member check me on this?

Regardless, if you aren't a member, you should be.

John828
February 5, 2009, 09:39 PM
Rest assured there will be a wrongful death civil suit. The PA may deem the shooting justifiable, but the civil side is a whole 'nother can of worms. Perhaps the good solicitor, Duke of Doubt, could enlighten us.

The wrongful death suit is guaranteed though. Whether a jury will side with you or not, is a toss up. Generally speaking, if you have to use lethal force, you will be okay assuming you are a rational person, not a sheep dog, and are not roaming the streets randomly looking for "action."

Here is the sad part: Even though you are not guilty, even though you protected yourself and your family from scum, and even though you did right by the eyes of the law, it will still cost you about $50,000 if it is drawn out for a year or two. Not an exaggeration!

You will miss time at work which costs money. You will pay a qualified attorney what seems like an exorbitant amount of money, but you get what you pay for. You will feel stress and anxiety. Your family will feel these burdens.

A light trigger pull is fine for target guns, but think wisely when pulling your trigger on the street or in the home.

skwab
February 5, 2009, 09:43 PM
When I took my CHL class the instructor said in a very serious way - no B.S., in the event you discharge your firearm you call your lawyer BEFORE you call 911 if you haven't called the police already - and his reasoning was that in an event you discharged your weapon, the BG should be dead because we're not taught to injure. Your adrenaline will be pumping, you will be in fear and in shock from what just took place, and just like Boba Fett said, what you say to the police can come back to haunt you, and you need someone to handle that for you. He said when you get your CHL you need to get a lawyer's card and keep it with you, just in case.

The police, the DA are going to have to investigate to see if you were within your rights to take another life. At the very least the sleezebag family of the BG will try to sue you, so even if the DA decides you are not criminally negligent in any way, you can still be sued in civil courts. So again, anything that is said can come back to haunt you and even something as little as a single word can mean prison or hundreds of thousands of dollars versus nothing - it's that serious.

Krazeehorse
February 5, 2009, 09:46 PM
In our class we were taught the phrase " I shot to stop the threat". In Ohio you are obligated to avoid the confrontation if possible. Also in Ohio and other states as well the castle doctrine is becoming popular. If the shooting happens in your home (to an intruder, not a buddy or family member you got upset with) the BG is pretty much paid for and you likely won't have to deal with a civil suit.

kingpin008
February 5, 2009, 09:50 PM
Rest assured there will be a wrongful death civil suit.

Not if you live in one of the states that disallows such suits from being filed by the deceased's family.



The wrongful death suit is guaranteed though.

See above.

Whether a jury will side with you or not, is a toss up. Generally speaking, if you have to use lethal force, you will be okay assuming you are a rational person, not a sheep dog, and are not roaming the streets randomly looking for "action."

Agreed. In most cases, if you're in the right as far as the law goes, and you keep your mouth shut at the right times and don't say anything stupid when you do have to explain your side, you'll be fine.

Here is the sad part: Even though you are not guilty, even though you protected yourself and your family from scum, and even though you did right by the eyes of the law, it will still cost you about $50,000 if it is drawn out for a year or two. Not an exaggeration!

While I don't quite buy the $50k figure, this is a possibility as well, if you don't live in a state that precludes families filing wrongful death or similar suits. Defending one's choice to shoot can indeed get very pricey, if they're forced to defend it at length in court. Then again, any drawn-out court action will do that.

kingpin008
February 5, 2009, 09:56 PM
When I took my CHL class the instructor said in a very serious way - no B.S., in the event you discharge your firearm you call your lawyer BEFORE you call the police if you haven't called the police already

IMHO, that sounds like terrible advice. if I were on the jury, I'd be a bit taken aback if I heard testimony that the defendant called his mouthpiece before the cops.

An individual calling the police immediately after makes sense. You've just been involved in a terrible situation, and were attacked. You were forced to shoot someone, and now you're calling for help. Getting on the phone with your lawyer makes you look like you're trying to spin something, to CYA. Which of course you are, but there's time for that later. You don't have to talk to the cops until you have a lawyer present, so why not call them first and get the lawyer on the horn after they've arrived?

Impureclient
February 5, 2009, 10:04 PM
The $50,000 estimation for a BG family filing wrongful death thing was what I was looking for.
So it appears it can happen.
What I don't want to hear if I have to defend myself is I will be treated as the criminal
and have to defend myself all over again but with piles of money this time...

I believe in Florida we have the no retreat law in effect but it seems that doesn't matter.

Edited: I just reread Krazeehorse's post about the Castle Doctrine, so I guess in Florida I'm safe.

moooose102
February 5, 2009, 10:15 PM
i dont know about your dog attac senario. it would probably vary state to state. as for shooting and killing a bg,no, you will not be guilty until you prove your inocece, but it is not going to be a 15 minute, take your statement deal either. if you have witnesses, it will go much better, at least if they saw what you did. if they say different, or there are none. then it will be up to the forensic team to figure out (the best they can) what happened. you know the old saying, dead men tell no tales, well, they can not talk, but between camera's, witnesses, and forensics, they usually can get a good idea what went down.

John828
February 5, 2009, 10:19 PM
but it seems that doesn't matter.


It doesn't. Have a trusted lawyer's card in your wallet or purse (I have fat fingers.) Call him or her immediately, then call 911, it is "expainable" in court! In fact, it shows rationality.

si vis pacem
February 5, 2009, 10:20 PM
Check your state's official code. Many states have a civil liability exemption for justified uses of deadly force. How these statutes are implemented largely depends on your state's case law. I know I say this often, but it may behoove you to consult an attorney for a more comprehensive explanation of your state's laws.

Do not forget that statutes that may appear very simple can actually be quite complex and nuanced. It depends on how the courts interpret them. From there, it's a veritable trip down the rabbit hole. Having a good attorney can really make a world of difference.

Fred Fuller
February 5, 2009, 10:24 PM
Impureclient,

I don't think you can afford to 'guess you're safe.' You need to know, insofar as it's possible to know anything at all where something so tortuously involved as the law is concerned.

'The law' is not a homogenous thing, across the country or even across a single state. It differs from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Case law and 'blackletter' law may differ also. Some cheap advice- talk to a good criminal defense attorney in your jurisdiction. If I needed a good lawyer in a place where I didn't know who to ask about finding one, I'd call two or three local bail bondsmen and ask who they would use if they needed an attorney. Usually the first appointment/interview with the attorney is free... .

If you're serious about learning more, take a look at http://www.teddytactical.com/archive/MonthlyStudy/2006/02_StudyDay.htm . That's a good rundown on what happens most times in most places when self defense becomes a legal issue.

hth,

lpl

alsaqr
February 5, 2009, 10:28 PM
Rest assured there will be a wrongful death civil suit.


Not in Ok. If it is a righteous shoot the perp and his family are not allowed to sue in civil court. The prosecutor in OK is not required to take a righteous shooting case to a grand jury. In the past two years our prosecutor has declined to take three self defense cases to the grand jury. The family of the dead perp could petition for a grand jury but that is going nowhere in OK.

There is a reason the Brady bunch rates OK dead last.

kingpin008
February 5, 2009, 10:30 PM
Have a trusted lawyer's card in your wallet or purse (I have fat fingers.) Call him or her immediately, then call 911, it is "expainable" in court! In fact, it shows rationality.

It's neither explainable nor rational. Calling an officer makes sense - he can take a statement, he can call for an ambulance if you or the BG needs one, he can arrest the badguy if he's still in arrestable shape, he can take witness statements and begin crowd control if necessary, and he can contain the scene and start making sense of things. A lawyer can tell you to shut the hell up until he meets you at the station - something you should already know to do.

CTPistol
February 5, 2009, 10:45 PM
calling your lawyer before 911? - wow...thats gotta be about as bad advice as I have ever heard! - amazing internet advice....

You just shot someone, you are picking up the phone? - obviously the immediate threat is over - your thoughts should be for the safety of you and yours and for help for the guy you just shot....not on calling your crack mouthpiece. Call 911 and simply state "I need help at xxxx" and hang up. They will come. Dont explain anything. You are not in rational mind. Or just dial and leave off hook, again - they will come.

Im a huge pro 2a guy and am all for home defense, but I'd be pretty taken back as a juror on the "call the lawyer before 911" defense. Imagine how neutral or antis think?

rfwobbly
February 5, 2009, 11:02 PM
The optimum line is "I shot until he ceased to be a threat."

In Atlanta recently that was 6 times point blank into the chest cavity with a 40 cal. The victim was released without charges after repeating that. The perp was piled into a body bag at the scene.

DHJenkins
February 5, 2009, 11:21 PM
Boba Fett - your CCW instructor was just trying to reinforce that shooting should be the last option.

Google Joe Horn. Our (TX) indictment rates for personal or property defense shootings are very, very low.

mljdeckard
February 5, 2009, 11:26 PM
I'm taking the long way to law school, for whatever that's worth,

I won't say you are immediately considered 'at fault' no matter what. Most defensive situations will be obvious. Understand, the incident will be investigated until everyone is satisfied. Just like if there is a homicide in a family, all of the family members and friends are going to be grilled as if they are suspects, because the detectives have to be able to eliminate them as suspects. Don't confuse the police running you through their checklist with them actually believing you did it.

HAVING SAID THAT, SHUT YOUR PIEHOLE AND CALL YOUR LAWYER. They are NOT your friends. If it is obvious that it was a good shoot, YOU DON'T NEED TO TALK TO THEM. They will figure it out. If they are considering you as a suspect, because the circumstances are fuzzy, they are trying to get you to incriminate yourself, in which case, YOU DON'T NEED TO TALK TO THEM. You are innocent until proven guilty, even if they try to convince you otherwise. Another reason to.....(wait for it,)....shut up and call your lawyer. You don't have to say something dumb. They will use your smart remarks against you too.

You should save tens of thousands of dollars anyway. (Read Clark Howard's "Complete Money Makeover".) But for this, on your renter's/homeowner's insurance, you need umbrella liability coverage. You should consult a lawyer in advance, who is qualified in this kind of law, and if you can't afford to keep him on retainer, you need to make sure he is ok with using your insurance as his primary source of payment.

In Utah, animals are a strict liability. The owner is wrong for not making you did not feel threatened by his animal. Having said that, I don't know if I'm going to start throwing lead to protect another animal. To me, animals are posessions, not family members. I don't use deadly force to protect stuff.

skwab
February 5, 2009, 11:33 PM
CTPistol - you honestly think that calling 911 and then hanging up is any better? The prosecuting attorney isn't going to ask you why you hung up, why you didn't follow the instructions of the 911 operator, why you didn't initiate CPR?

We're not talking about an accidental shooting - this person has just tried to kill you or someone in your vicinity, otherwise deadly force wasn't required - so personally I'm not going to try to resuscitate someone who is a threat.

After seeing some of the comments I went and looked back at the notes from my CHL course to check and sure enough, I wrote it down and my wife did too - call a lawyer prior to calling 911, because anything and everything you say to them will be used against you if possible, and after an attack where you had to use deadly force, you are likely not in the right mind to consider every little word you say.

And the CHL course I took was from a couple of very experienced former LEOs who are involved with security all over the state, so I trust what they say and there's a reason they said it. FWIW.

I realize it sounds crazy, and I remember being surprised when they said it, but they were serious - essentially you still have to protect yourself even after the BG has been incapacitated, and they said that calling the lawyer first would not be frowned upon, at least in TX.

Jiggle
February 5, 2009, 11:34 PM
Florida Statute 776.032 says that a person who uses deadly force and is justified in using that force is immune from criminal and civil action. The only exception is if the person you used the force against is an LEO acting in the performance of his or her duties.

776.032 Immunity from criminal prosecution and civil action for justifiable use of force.--

(1) A person who uses force as permitted in s. 776.012, s. 776.013, or s. 776.031 is justified in using such force and is immune from criminal prosecution and civil action for the use of such force, unless the person against whom force was used is a law enforcement officer, as defined in s. 943.10(14), who was acting in the performance of his or her official duties and the officer identified himself or herself in accordance with any applicable law or the person using force knew or reasonably should have known that the person was a law enforcement officer. As used in this subsection, the term "criminal prosecution" includes arresting, detaining in custody, and charging or prosecuting the defendant.

(2) A law enforcement agency may use standard procedures for investigating the use of force as described in subsection (1), but the agency may not arrest the person for using force unless it determines that there is probable cause that the force that was used was unlawful.

(3) The court shall award reasonable attorney's fees, court costs, compensation for loss of income, and all expenses incurred by the defendant in defense of any civil action brought by a plaintiff if the court finds that the defendant is immune from prosecution as provided in subsection (1).

History.--s. 4, ch. 2005-27.

Link (http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=Ch0776/ch0776.htm)

Rush
February 5, 2009, 11:36 PM
You should save tens of thousands of dollars anyway. (Read Clark Howard's "Complete Money Makeover".) But for this, on your renter's/homeowner's insurance, you need umbrella liability coverage.

Good advice. But look at it this way - even if you spend $50,000 out of your pocket defending yourself, that is a hell of a lot cheaper than the hundreds of thousands or million or two your family will miss from you being dead and not earning a living for them anymore. $50,000 is a really good deal for your life. Do NOT let fear of lawsuits make you hesitate one instant to shoot a BG.

ar10
February 5, 2009, 11:42 PM
In Ohio, INAL, but I did discuss the issue with my attorney who is not a criminal attorney and gave me the name of a good one in Columbus.
The average cost in case of a self defense shooting, dead or alive and is clear you were in the "right" is $50,000.00, the retainer for a good criminal attorney is $75,000.00.
All shootings are heard by the grand jury and you need an attorney to represent you during the hearings.
Even though the Castle Doctrine is in effect in Ohio you still need an attorney to represent you.
CCW'ers are not cops so be prepared to answer a lot of questions with your attorney present.
On the arrival of LE say absolutely nothing requesting that you will speak only with your attorney present. The criminal attorney stated very clearly that even clearly justified police shooting the officers involved have a standard statement always prepared for IA.
1. The plead the 5th amendment
2. The politely stated they will not answer any further questions until their attorney (FOP) is present.

Ironically, you can be found not guilty and perfectly justified in a shooting incident. The court will always inform the guilty party, (if they are still alive), they are financially responsible for all court costs and your attorney fees. That's pretty much trying to get "blood out of a turnip". In other words the attorney still has to get paid. :(

Boba Fett
February 5, 2009, 11:59 PM
calling your lawyer before 911? - wow...that's gotta be about as bad advice as I have ever heard! - amazing internet advice....

Yeah, that's pretty bad. You should always call 911 first. You can then call your lawyer. If it does go to court, it could look pretty bad depending on how they twist things.

Also, and probably more important than the court element is the safety element. You never know if the BG is still alive or has friends that will be coming or any of a million variables...so call 911!

your CCW instructor was just trying to reinforce that shooting should be the last option.

Um...actually no...see they were trying to reinforce that when and if I do shoot a BG, the terms and phrases I use when giving my statement or in talking with the police could get my butt in trouble or at the least give ammunition to a lawsuit. So avoid certain words or phrases like "killed" "wasted him" "blew his head off" and so on. Use phrases that put the bad actions on the bad guy. Things like "he wouldn't stop" "I couldn't get him to stop any other way" "I had to protect my family" and so on. There is a big difference in the terms in how those words and terms playout in a court or in a lawsuit.

mljdeckard
February 6, 2009, 02:06 AM
And remember, no matter what law says you are immune from anything, all it takes is a lawyer who will motion for it to be heard, and a judge who has been sleeping on the couch to get it into court anyway. Anyone can challenge anything. The odds are it will eventually be thrown out or overturned on appeal, but that doesn't make your life any easier. (Or save you any money.

alsaqr
February 6, 2009, 08:51 AM
And remember, no matter what law says you are immune from anything, all it takes is a lawyer who will motion for it to be heard, and a judge who has been sleeping on the couch to get it into court anyway. Anyone can challenge anything.

In the 20+ years this law has been in effect in OK it has not happened one time.

1911Tuner
February 6, 2009, 09:04 AM
I don't know what the self-defense laws are in Florida, but I'm positive the statutes are available online. Look to the Assault and Self-Defense Justification sections. The table of contents in your criminal code should point you where you want to look. Read it for yourself. In Arizona, you can match like force with like force in self-defense, meaning, if someone is attacking you with non-lethal force (he's trying to punch you), you can't respond with DEADLY force - you can only respond with non-deadly force (you can punch him back).

There's also a provision for disparity of force, however.

If you're 65 years old, 160 pounds, and arthritic...and the attacker is 25, athletic and bumps the scales at 230...you can use whatever force is deemed necessary to prevent the ensuing beat-down, because the reasonable man would assume that it would result in serious/crippling and possibly lethal injury.

BullfrogKen
February 6, 2009, 09:12 AM
The elements of self-defense, as we laymen understand them, can be present without meeting a legal standard of justification. The notes Lee Lapin linked are what I use to familiarize myself with the process.

If you were defending your life or another life you are considered guilty until proven innocent?


Anyone charged with a crime is presumed innocent until proven guilty. That doesn't mean you will always be treated as if you were innocent through the process. Also, keep in mind that self-defense is an affirmative defense. Meaning, in order to claim the elements of self-defense, the defendant must first admit to committing the act. Then he has the burden of showing why his action were justified and not a criminal act, and persuading all those involved in the process to see it that way.

If those involved in the process don't believe the elements of self-defense and justification exists, then the defendant's going to have a tough time being found not guilty of a crime. Because again, to make that defense you must not only admit that you did it, but that it wasn't an accident or unintentional. If the finders of fact don't believe your actions were justified, about the only hope you have of getting away from being convicted is jury nullification.

ar10
February 6, 2009, 09:46 AM
If those involved in the process don't believe the elements of self-defense and justification exists, then the defendant's going to have a tough time being found not guilty of a crime.

The "those involved" could be anyone, the criminal, the family, the girl friend, or anyone else who's looking for money. What gets me is inmates have better law libraries than some of the best lawyers around, they have plenty of time and "clerks" working for cigarettes to do the research. Most of the cases are deemed "frivolous" but the victim still needs the attorney to represent him/her in court and they are not cheap.

si vis pacem
February 6, 2009, 09:57 AM
Inmates may have access to a law library, but most of their motions and complaints are incoherent or untenable under the law. Thankfully, even the greenest attorney would have no difficulty getting the complaint thrown out of court at minimal billable hours. There are also several laws regulating the inevitable deluge of "litigation" from inmates.

Bookworm
February 6, 2009, 10:05 AM
Most folks don't have the extra money to have an attorney on retainer - or even have cause to deal with an attorney at all.

Are you going to sit there in the police station - after being cuffed, searched, your possessions confiscated, etc and refuse to discuss the event and demand they provide you with an attorney? You're in for a long, long wait - like weeks in jail at the least.

I wonder if I had a justified shoot if it would not be best to simply walk away, and pay for a consultation with an attorney ASAP to discuss the event. This is assuming you didn't have an obviously justified shoot that occurred in your home, of course.

eye5600
February 6, 2009, 10:15 AM
In this modern day and age, you may have two phones. Call 911 on one, and your lawyer on the others. Or, if there is someone else present, have him/her make the other call.

ar10
February 6, 2009, 11:29 AM
Inmates may have access to a law library, but most of their motions and complaints are incoherent or untenable under the law. Thankfully, even the greenest attorney would have no difficulty getting the complaint thrown out of court at minimal billable hours. There are also several laws regulating the inevitable deluge of "litigation" from inmates.

Agreed, many are, (2" long finger nail, Santa Claus not allowed on prison grounds, etc) but many others are not. The way the "system" works is inmates get hired as library clerks, their profile is usually college educated, non-violent offenders, and are scared to death of the less civilized inmates. A dominate inmate will "hire" a clerk for protection and/or boxes,(cigarettes) to read his "pocket" (official record and trial info), these are restricted but inmates also staff the records office. The clerk will go through the pocket, take notes on everything then proceed to explore every possible error in the documents. He/she then searches every law book he can to find a precedent that can be used in court for an appeal or civil litigation.
These people have much more time than money, they are very literate, well educated and know how to work the system. Lawyers on the outside need to know what they're doing.

GRIZ22
February 6, 2009, 01:30 PM
If you shoot and kill a BG are you immediately considered at fault no matter what the situation
may have been?


There are too many variables to make a blanket statement in response to your question. Each situation is different and how you will be treated by police or anyone else will differ also. I'll try to give you diverse examples.

BG in a mall pulls out a gun and starts shooting whoever he can and you shoot and kill him. In addition to be being recorded on security cameras there are dozens of witnesses backing up your story. Can the dead BG's family file a lawsuit? they sure can. I can make something up and file a lawsuit against you right now. Would either get very far? Not very likely, a judge reviewing such a frivalous lawsuit can throw out a complaint as having no merit.

In another scenario, 6 thugs who are built like linemen come up to you and demand your wallet. You refuse are thrown to the ground and they all try to kick the stuffing out of you. You shoot one and the others run off. No witnesses. The five later say you just walked up and shot their buddy. You are most likely going to be facing crimianl and later civil charges.

Ther is no blanket answer.

Well immediately calling after the police anyways

Always call the police first. This helps establish you as the good guy. You can refuse to answer questions and get a lawyer later.

I know of an attempted carjacking where the bad guy approached the good guy first by asking him for a ride. As the Bg was trying to get his weapon out the good guy was faster, the bad guy saw the gun, and the badguy ran off. The good guy reported this to the police and being that no one came in complaining some guy pulled a gun on him when he asked them for a ride nothing happened.

As far as your shooting the dog question i don't know FL law.

lanternlad1
February 6, 2009, 01:42 PM
Also If you have taken a CCW class, or at least in mine, they tell you how to talk to the police. Saying things like, "I killed the guy" or "I was so scared I don't really remember what happened" can get your burned. Use words and phrases like "stopped," "protected," "my/my family's life was in danger," etc. Don't use emotional words or phrases that tend to make people think that you weren't in control during the situation or that they can use to paint you as a murderer (that would be words like kill).


Let me just say this...

DO NOT EVER TALK TO THE POLICE. EVER. EVER. EVER. Not even when you get pulled over by Highway Patrol.

ANYTHING YOU SAY CAN AND WILL BE USED AGAINST YOU IN A COURT OF LAW.



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i8z7NC5sgik
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=08fZQWjDVKE&feature=related



Bill Clinton was not impeached for having sex with Monica, HE WAS IMPEACHED FOR LYING TO CONGRESS.

Martha Stewart was not jailed for insider trading, SHE WAS JAILED FOR LYING TO FEDERAL INVESTIGATORS.

These are people who have a lot more power and money than you do, and it still came back to bite them. KEEP YOUR YAP SHUT.

The cop may be sympathetic, but the D.A. won't be. He/she gets raises and promotions based on how many people they put away.

75% of people in prison put themselves there by opening their trap.

rscalzo
February 6, 2009, 01:55 PM
If you shoot and kill a BG are you immediately considered at fault no matter what the situation
may have been?

Way tyo braod to even get an answer. Are you the individual that committed the homicide? Yes, that isn't in question. Beyond that, the facts will determine the outcome.

Florida Statute 776.032 says that a person who uses deadly force and is justified in using that force is immune from criminal and civil action. The only exception is if the person you used the force against is an LEO acting in the performance of his or her duties.

If you really think that this will stop a criminal prosecution you should rethink it. While the statute might be helpful if it is clearly a self defense issue, that can vary greatly by a case by case basic. sitting back thinking nothing is going to happen as far as the courts are concerned is jam packed with danger.

As far as the civil suits, they still get filed. If dropped within a short time, the costs are still expensive. A friend lost everything because the waiver that was foolproof was thrown out after the courts got a hold of it.

Training and a extensive knowledge of the law and the cases that come afterwards are all that keep one out of trouble.l

Rush
February 6, 2009, 03:06 PM
If I had to shoot a BG and he were lying in a puddle of his own blood I would NOT assume he was dead. I would NOT assume he does not have buddies coming looking for him. I would NOT check him for a pulse. I would stay out of reach of him. I would keep my weapon out, keep him covered, and scan the area for his friends. I would dial 911 as expeditiously as I could, and ask for "tactical backup". :D JK; I would state my name, my location, and that "someone just tried to kill me and I need help immediately. I need to put the phone down but I will leave the line open." Then I would set the open phone down and return to my two handed grip and continue keeping my attention on the BG and on looking and listening for any other potential threats.

I would NOT put my attention to fumbling for a lawyer's card and calling my lawyer. Depending on the exact circumstances I might remove myself to somewhere safer. If I needed to stay covering the BG then before the police arrived I would lay the firearm down far from the BG, at the point in time where the risk of the police mistaking me for a BG becomes greater than the risk the BG is playing possum. Under adrenalin situations there would be no way in hell I would trust my judgment that a still, bleeding body could not revive and renew the attack, no matter how decimated it appears to be. And no way in hell I will assume the shots scared away any buddies I heretofore hadn't seen.

If this were a public shooting with witnesses, after assessing that no other threat existed, I would holster my weapon and then make sure no one else is hurt. Likely someone else is already calling 911 in that case.

The only thing I'm debating with myself is whether I should unload my 1911 before the police get there.... I really don't trust them not to accidentally discharge it.... :p

Mello
February 6, 2009, 05:51 PM
Impureclient

Liability of self defense shooting

If you shoot and kill a BG are you immediately considered at fault no matter what the situation may have been?

I constantly hear on THR and other sites about having counsel and calling him/her immediately after the shooting. Well immediately calling after the police anyways. If you were defending your life or another life you are considered guilty until proven innocent? Or is that just to cover your butt in case you say something dumb to incriminate yourself?

Does carrying a gun/weapon and possibly using it mean you should have tens of thousands in the bank in case you need this attorney before you even think about using a weapon for self defense?

First, there are two major aspects to the U.S. legal system. Criminal and civil. The level of proof required by the state to prove you guilty of a crime is beyond a reasonable doubt.
The burden of a plaintiff in a civil suit is usually a mere preponderance of the evidence. Just a fraction of a percent more proof and that side wins.

Now on to your first question: You are not "immediately considered at fault no matter what the situation may have been". However, if you admit to the homicide (the taking of a human life) and assert the defense of self-defense; then the burden of proof shifts to you to prove that you were reasonable in the use of deadly force. Each jurisdiction has its own "magic words" which are used in its jurisprudence. Some crime scenes are more favorable to proving your claim of self-defense than others. There are an infinite variety of "what ifs" you can go through here.

Second question: "If you were defending your life or another life you are considered guilty until proven innocent?" That is asking the first question in a different way. You are not considered guilty until the verdict, however, the burden of proof to prove you are not guilty is on you.

Third question: "Or is that just to cover your butt in case you say something dumb to incriminate yourself?" It is better to cover your butt before you say something stupid, rather than after. Many people get 'motor mouth" when they get nervous. Police use that to get people to talk. Under the rules of evidence anything you say can be used against you. The police will write down everything you say, or what they think they remember you to have said. One inconsistent statement can be used to make you look like a liar. This is the first step to you being convicted of something you did not do. If the police arrive within 15 - 30 minutes of a shooting where you have had your life at risk and used deadly force to kill a person, I would guess that most people would be suffering from the physiological effects of the adrenalin dump which your body produced in the fight or flight response. You will have a hard time thinking and remembering accurately. Telling the police that you do not want to make a statement until you have a lawyer gives you time to calm down and to discuss what you remember, get advice and maybe have the lawyer point out inconsistencies.

Fourth question: You have the right to an attorney and if you can not afford one, one will be provided. (Miranda) It is likely the one provided will be an overworked public defender (bad for you). If you have $$ and get a good experienced criminal lawyer that has experience in your sort of case; you will need to pay him/her a significant retainer. Duke of Doubt appears to be a criminal lawyer and can speak to this aspect of a criminal law practice.

The foregoing was all about the criminal side of the aftermath of a homicide. The civil side is different and also costly. If you are living from paycheck to paycheck and have no assets, you are judgment-proof. If I remember correctly you cannot discharge in bankruptcy a judgment from a cause of action (such as an assault and battery) for an intentional act.

Kat144
February 6, 2009, 08:18 PM
Not if you live in one of the states that disallows such suits from being filed by the deceased's family.

Is there a list of those states somewhere?

I always worry about this. I'd sorta rather be dead than in debt up to my eyeballs for the rest of my life, or spending my life in prison. I'm quite concerned with the QUALITY of my life as much as the QUANTITY. I'd rather be dead and oblivious than alive and miserable for decades and wishing I'd just taken a shot to the head. The problem would be in cases where I might be attacked and NOT die, or where someone I cared about was attacked.

I've often felt, though, that as a small, young-looking woman (I *look* barely old enough to have my driver's license, and very innocent--or perhaps you could call it "defenseless"--to boot), I probably look at self-defense a bit differently than many of the men here, judging from comments in some of the threads. I'm a bit more serious about threats--while some of the guys here could probably afford to take the "well, I'll see if he throws a punch then I'll act" stance, I can't--both because someone might be more likely to get physical sooner (thinking I don't look like I could do them much damage so they have nothing to lose) and because one punch from a guy could potentially cause me serious injury if I didn't manage to dodge out of the way--there's no way I could probably hold my own in a fistfight with even an average-sized man. I've read about scenarios here that featured a threatening stranger where the person telling the story wasn't all that concerned, but if I were in the same scenario I'd have one hand ready on my gun and the other would be dialing the police as fast as my fingers could hit the phone buttons.

I've also wondered how it would go down in court for me if I did have to defend myself. I'm thinking it might go better for me because it'd be pretty obvious to a judge and jury that I'd be stupid to try to punch out a big BG rather than use more deadly force at my disposal.


even if you spend $50,000 out of your pocket defending yourself, that is a hell of a lot cheaper than the hundreds of thousands or million or two your family will miss from you being dead and not earning a living for them anymore.
I don't support anyone but myself, so no loss there. Actually, if I were dead, my mom would be BETTER OFF financially because she'd have my life insurance money. So that's only an argument for those with families to support.


you honestly think that calling 911 and then hanging up is any better? The prosecuting attorney isn't going to ask you why you hung up, why you didn't follow the instructions of the 911 operator, why you didn't initiate CPR?
Or what if he's down, but not dead--i.e. you got him stopped and now need to run to someplace more safe? You'd need to, at least, let the 911 operator know that you're in one place, the BG is in another. And, you probably need to let them know to send an ambulance--the last thing you want in court is them saying, "if you'd SAID he needed an ambulance rather than the police calling one when they arrived, the BG would not be dead..." I wouldn't want to have to talk my way out of that one.


Another thing I keep wondering about....has there ever been anyone who's been attacked by a BG, defended themselves, and then have the BG's friends (or BG himself, if he's not dead) come after them? I mean, I imagine that wouldn't be hard to do---stuff like that must be splashed across all the papers, along with the name of the person who did the defending.

boatme99
February 6, 2009, 08:32 PM
1.never talk to police w/o lawyer! "What you say CAN be used against you."
2. If you're in Fla., get Jon H. Gutmacher, Esq's. book Florida Firearms-Law Use and Ownership, Sixth ed. and read it cover to cover!
All the answers are there. It should be required in Fl. for the ccw test. I also wish there was a similar book for every state. I keep one by my bed and one in my vehicle.

ar10
February 6, 2009, 11:01 PM
3. Or pay the retainer to a damn good criminal lawyer.

I think it's good to post the question. I also educated myself before I ever decided to carry a gun. I think a lot of CCW'ers don't have a clear understanding of what it entails or the results if they end up shooting someone. "We" are not cops, or "rambo's", and so far the US is not in a state of anarchy yet, (I hope never). Carrying a gun is no more than protection for yourself and your family, and I think many states legislatures know that. Cops also know they can't be everywhere all the time and, with the economy in the toilet, they are understaffed. Hell here in Columbus they just laid off the entire graduating class from the academy last week.

JImbothefiveth
February 7, 2009, 01:10 AM
I'd say call 911 first. You might still be in danger, so having police protection would be good. Also, if you shot someone, get the ambulance on the way, hopefully they'll survive.

stuff like that must be splashed across all the papers,
I think I'd also ask the police to not release my name, and explain that that's the reason why.

I might also tell the 911 operator what I look like, so the police don't mistake me for an armed criminal and shoot me. (If I shot a gun, especially indoors, I might be deaf and unable to hear the police.)

I'd sorta rather be dead than in debt up to my eyeballs for the rest of my life
It's called bankruptcy. You still get to keep your job, and sometimes a lot of your stuff.

Kat144
February 7, 2009, 11:34 AM
It's called bankruptcy. You still get to keep your job, and sometimes a lot of your stuff.

And never get a loan again...

And, I'm not sure if that's the sort of bankruptcy that wouldn't make me lose my job, or not. On one hand, it's not like it's because you maxed out your credit cards shopping. On the other hand, it's because you shot somebody...

skwab
February 7, 2009, 11:40 AM
First off - Kat 144 - your concerns certainly make sense - for you I would certainly suggest (and you may already have some) a good OC spray - you're not going to go to jail for spraying someone because you felt threatened, and after you spray them if they continue to be a threat then you can draw your weapon - but that would give you non lethal option in the event you feel uncomfortable because of your stature but you weren't so uncomfortable that you thought deadly force would be needed - just a thought.

On a separate note - if you shoot and kill a BG you are guilty of that shooting. That won't be the question. That won't be disputed. The question will be whether or not that shooting was justified, and it will depend on where you are, your state laws, who the DA is etc etc - a lot of things that are out of your control. That is why it is extremely important that you say nothing, because even the most innocent, benign sounding statement off hand to an officer or a bystander who makes a statement to an officer can come back to haunt you. Depending on where you are you may be treated like a criminal, maybe not. But IMO it's not really an innocent until proven guilty situation, because you are guilty of shooting someone, and it is up to you to prove that it was self defense. It will depend on the circumstances on how obvious that is or not, and how you will be treated.

philip964
May 8, 2009, 07:37 PM
The comments about not saying anything, is very important. Calling for an ambulance for the dead or dieing BG seems like a good idea.

In Texas a lot depends on whether it was at night or not.

The man in Pasadena who made the news last year, shot the BG's in the day time. If it had been at night, it might not have even made the local news.

He was no billed by the Grand Jury, but I bet it cost a lot of money and some sleepless nights. If he had done that in about anywhere else in the US, I don't things would have come out as well for him.

RP88
May 8, 2009, 08:24 PM
never go by that 'call your lawyer' crap.

Call the police, and tell them as specifically and simply as possible what happened when they show up and ask, then decline all other statements. Or better yet, just stick to saying that 'shot to stop' or nothing at all and say that you would like to wait until your lawyer is present in order to make a statement or go further. You are allowed to do that.

Hungry Seagull
May 8, 2009, 09:24 PM
In Arkansas, we are to avoid if carrying. In our Homes no retreat is possible, therefore Castle Doctrine is in effect.

If you shoot intruder in this state inside your home; and you are NOT charged or indicted for the crime, the Surviving badguy (Invader's) family cannot touch you civil court.

There will be a much different future for you and all of your life, friends etc because of the life taking at the time.

Most of the time the intruder dies and the homeowner is not charged as long as everything is in order and we hear nothing more from that. And as we say "That is that."

If you have not thought about and are not prepared to accept the consenquences for taking another life with a gun, dont do it.

We are armed because we refuse to be on our knees inside our own home begging some two bit teen with absolutely nothing gainful to contribute to society for our lifes which we have lived. No. We choose to exercise our rights as Citizens, not subects and will defend outselves.

Anyone busting that door at any time (Other than LEO..) stand with thier lives at grave risk. But one thing was clear... dont shoot in the back if the BG turns to leave or retreat. I believe there was a case recently where a man grabbed shotgun to get to his gf who was at EX's house, EX with rifle shoots shotgun man dead from porch while shotgun man has already saw that he did not have chance and was retreating off the ex's property. That was murder. And rightly so.

SCKimberFan
May 8, 2009, 10:04 PM
Here is the sad part: Even though you are not guilty, even though you protected yourself and your family from scum, and even though you did right by the eyes of the law, it will still cost you about $50,000 if it is drawn out for a year or two. Not an exaggeration!

You will miss time at work which costs money. You will pay a qualified attorney what seems like an exorbitant amount of money, but you get what you pay for. You will feel stress and anxiety. Your family will feel these burdens.

A light trigger pull is fine for target guns, but think wisely when pulling your trigger on the street or in the home.

Are you an attorney? You know this how?

If I believed all this I would never carry, much less use a gun.

freewheeling
May 8, 2009, 10:16 PM
When I lived in NJ in 2006 there was an incident in Trenton (I think) where a fellow was being mugged by a number of aggressors, and he was carrying concealed in direct contravention of NJ law. It came as quite a surprise to the muggers, and I think he killed at least one of them. NJ chose not to prosecute him even though he'd clearly broken the law, very probably because the public notoriety would have redounded to the benefit of pro-Second activists in the state, and that was about the last thing they wanted.

I don't think he was hassled by a civil suit either, for about the same reasons. If there'd been any ambiguity about his justifications he'd probably have paid pretty dearly, however.

The Annoyed Man
May 8, 2009, 10:31 PM
I can't speak for other states' laws, but I know that in Texas, if you kill someone in self defense - even under the authority of your CHL, a homicide has still taken place and must be accounted for. That you killed the other person in self-defense is your defense to prosecution, but you may still face a prosecution. But understand that, at the very least, you are going to have to go downtown, possibly in handcuffs, to give a statement. Unless the circumstances are absolutely clear and obvious, you will likely have to face a grand jury. However, to the best of my recollection, no Texas grand jury has ever handed down an indictment against any CHL holder who defended themselves in public with lethal force. I believe the record is pretty much the same for those who have killed someone in defense of their home and its occupants.

The sometimes gray area is killings over property. Technically, you have the right to use lethal force to defend property, at least at night (but maybe not during the day), but in practical application, that may be a stupid thing to do. Confronting a thief in your driveway who is leaving with your $2,500 television and killing him is going to cost you ten times that much in legal fees before the grand jury no-bills you. Better to let the TV go and call your insurance agent.

emb
May 8, 2009, 10:35 PM
Impure. There are too many variables to answer the questions you ask. As stated each case is different. If you go to www.myflorida.com to the Department of Agriculture, you will find a link to Florida's firearm laws.

The best you can do now is to try and understand them. If the situation arises, you will have to apply them on the fly anyway. In other words you just do the best you can.

There are some general rules.

1. You no longer need to retreat before using deady force in any place you have a right to be. However, the use of deadly force must be justified in the first place.

2. If someone comes into your home (even just around the home), they are presumed to have the intent to commit a forcible felony. You are justified in using deadly force.

3. If the shoot is good, you are immune from civil and criminal liability.

Read the statutes and make sure you understand them. If after reading them you still have questions, consult a lawyer. Usually a consultation is provided at a nominal charge.

I don't know where you are in Florida. If you don't know a lawyer where you are, pm me and I'll help you find one that can answer your questions.

Frank Ettin
May 8, 2009, 11:34 PM
Laws vary from state to state, and every situation is different. If you use your gun in self defense, you can count on being detained and questioned, and the event will be investigated. Depending on what the investigation concludes, what the evidences is and what the witnesses, if any say, the DA can conclude that the shooting was self defense, or you could be charged and brought to trial. There is no way to know here and now what will happen.

I strongly suggest doing some studying. Check out the books by Massad Ayoob, or better yet, if you can, take his class, LFI-1, Judicious Use of Lethal Force.

A few points:

[1] As far as being considered guilty, it helps to understand the nature of a claim of self defense. When you claim self defense, you have in effect admitted that you did something that is ordinarily criminal. You shot someone. That is aggravated assault, if he survives, and at least manslaughter if he doesn't. Your defense is that it your act was justified. The fact that you shot the guy is obvious and established. Establishing that you were justified may take a little, or a lot, of doing, depending on the circumstances.

[2] Don't be cavalier about things even if you live in a gun friendly state. Someone suggested that you Google "Joe Hood." That's fine, but you should also Google "Harold Fish." Fish took place in another gun friendly state, Arizona.

[3] While some folks suggest saying nothing when the police arrive, Mas Ayoob suggests saying the following:

That man attacked me.
I will sign a complaint.
There are witnesses (point them out).
There is evidence (point it out).
That's all I'll say now. You'll have my full cooperation in 24 hours after I've talked with my lawyer.

ar10
May 9, 2009, 06:28 AM
Are you an attorney? You know this how?

If I believed all this I would never carry, much less use a gun.

INAL but I did meet with my attorney after a previous incident and we discussed CC for about an hour. The post stated 50,000.00. In Ohio plan on 70,000.00 for a good criminal lawyer. All shooting incidents will go before a grand jury hearing and I would urge anyone to have an attorney who is qualified in criminal law representing you.
As far as talking with police, be polite, do as they say, then very politely state you need to talk with your attorney. Even police invoke their 5th amendment rights after any violent encounter. I figure if it's good enough for them, it's good enough for me.

JWarren
May 9, 2009, 07:07 AM
I live in one of the more self-defense oriented and homeowner-protected states. We cannot be sued in civil court if there has been no conviction of a crime.

However, that says NOTHING about whether an over-zealous DA wouldn't bring charges, and once a case is in the courts anything can happen.

The best advice I can give is what I would do in such a scenerio...

My first call is to my father-- to delagate the task of calling my attorney. I'll VERY briefly give Dad the facts, tell him to call ____, and to come to the house.

My next call is to 911. I don't want it on a 911 tape that I had to hang up with them in order to call an attorney. Some may interpret that as a "guilty" mindset.

Noone, however, could fail to understand a person calling their parent in a tramatic instance such as described.


Bottom line however...

Until the issue is dropped or you have a No-Bill, your potential risk HAS been elevated. It is foolish to simply hope that sane-minds prevail. I've got too much anedocatal evidence to put my faith in that.

In a position of elevated risk, we prepare for that risk. If I am willing to put in hundreds of dollars in alarm systems, and thousands in firearms for SD, you better damn well believe I am going to have something put back for legal defense.

If you don't, you really haven't covered all of your Self-Defense bases.



-- John

mgkdrgn
May 9, 2009, 08:47 AM
Rest assured there will be a wrongful death civil suit.

Not necessary. Some states castle doctrine (SC being one of them thankfully) are strong enough to preclude that kind of nonsense in an SD shooting.

emb
May 9, 2009, 08:51 AM
Impure. Going to the Dept of Ag wesite got rather convoluted so here is your link.

http://licgweb.doacs.state.fl.us/weapons/index.html

nelson133
May 9, 2009, 09:07 AM
Michigan is a "castle defense" state with some interesting provisions in the law.
Any part of your property, including your car, is treated the same as in your house. There is no duty to retreat anywhere your are legally allowed to be, like walking down the street for example. Prosecuting Attorneys are restricted to a higher standard of proof before bringing charges in a self defense shooting. You immune to civil suit in a good shooting, and if such a suit is attempted, the other side is liable for your legal expenses.
There have been some publicized shootings where the shooter was questioned and then allowed to go home with his gun, no grand jury, no further problems. There is at least one cases I am aware of where a DA wanted to prosecute a shooter, but couldn't becaause of the law.

SCKimberFan
May 9, 2009, 10:30 AM
INAL but I did

sleep at a Holiday Inn Express last night? :D

While it is a good idea to have an attorney available, you may or may not have charges brought against you. Each state is different. SC preempts civil liability lawsuits if you are not charged.

sniper5
May 9, 2009, 11:19 AM
The good and bad of California:

Bad: CCW is generally not easy to get unless you live in the "right" place or know the "right" people.

Good: Pretty decent castle doctrine-Anyone forcibly entering an occupied dwelling is considered a grave threat. Makes defense generally simple-He ain't one of us. I didn't invite him. I was home. He broke this to get in.

Fiddletown can go into detail on those points, but prosecution or civil suits for HD shootings after forcible entry are REALLY rare here.

Kleanbore
May 9, 2009, 11:47 AM
Some states castle doctrine (SC being one of them thankfully) are strong enough to preclude that kind of nonsense [wrongful death civil suit] in an SD shooting.

You may want to consult an attorney to discuss what circumstances must exist to provide a citizen with immunity from a civil suit. If the prosecuting attorney elects not to pursue a criminal case because he feels that the evidence will not support a finding beyond reasonable doubt that a homicide was either intentional or not justified, and there is therefore no verdict of innocence, what fact exists that would prevent a plaintiff from entering into a suit in which his burden is to prove culpability via a preponderance of the evidence? What's the case law on that? Will the judge say, we must proceed, since the defendant has not been acquitted of criminal action, or will he conclude that there was a "good shoot" from the absence of any charges having been filed (yet, since there's no statute of limitations on criminal prosecutions)?

SECTION 16-11-450. Immunity from criminal prosecution and civil actions; law enforcement officer exception; costs.

(A) A person who uses deadly force as permitted by the provisions of this article or another applicable provision of law is justified in using deadly force and is immune from criminal prosecution and civil action for the use of deadly force, unless the person against whom deadly force was used is a law enforcement officer acting in the performance of his official duties and he identifies himself in accordance with applicable law or the person using deadly force knows or reasonably should have known that the person is a law enforcement officer.

(B) A law enforcement agency may use standard procedures for investigating the use of deadly force as described in subsection (A), but the agency may not arrest the person for using deadly force unless probable cause exists that the deadly force used was unlawful.

(C) The court shall award reasonable attorneys' fees, court costs, compensation for loss of income, and all expenses incurred by the defendant in defense of a civil action brought by a plaintiff if the court finds that the defendant is immune from prosecution as provided in subsection (A).

The law in my state read almost exactly the same way (except for no mention of loss of income), and until I get a legal reading, I'm not willing to rely on a lay interpretation that I am protected against a civil suit unless there has been a trial and acquittal in criminal court.

When I have gotten advice from a qualified source I'll try to remember to post what I've learned, but I would not assume that it would be valid in any other state.

Deanimator
May 9, 2009, 12:04 PM
1. Self-defense law is purely a state by state matter. I'd definitely rather be in Ohio than New Jersey if I have to use lethal force to defend myself. That having been said, it's not 100% that you're going to be persecuted in NJ for not letting somebody rob, rape or murder you.

If you have questions about particular laws in certain places, talk to a lawyer, or at least read up on the applicable laws yourself.

2. Police officer and lawyer are different job titles. Accept legal advice from police at your own peril. If it's wrong or self-serving, you have no recourse. Once you see enough documented cases of false arrests and harassment by police in CCW and open carry incidents, you'll rethink the idea of taking legal advice from cops. A guy from North Carolina was arrested in Fairfax County, Virginia for "carrying hollowpoints", "crossing state lines with a loaded firearm", and "carrying a firearm with an out of state concealed carry credential [recognized by the Commonwealth of Virginia]". NONE of these things is of course a crime in Virginia. I believe Fairfax County and the individual officers are the subject of a Federal civil rights suit for false arrest. If police can't be bothered to know the law in instances where the absence of knowledge could have grave financial consequences to themselves, are you willing to take a chance on them knowing something when an error could cause great harm to you and NONE to them?

3. Letting somebody kill you will certainly avoid a lot of legal issues... for you. Personally, I prefer being on trial for shooting somebody than having somebody on trial for murdering me. A lot of women feel the same way about rape.

mljdeckard
May 9, 2009, 12:06 PM
You are not considered immediately at fault. You have the presumption of innocence. However, it may be your word against a dead man's. The police are being prudent to not turn you loose until they have all the facts. You may well be cleared quickly, but you might be held until you are.

Lawyers run this planet. If you are picked up by the police, you are now in Lawyerville. They are working against you. This isn't a traffic ticket. GET A LAWYER. If you carry, you should consult a lawyer, even if you can't afford to keep one on retainer. You should have umbrella liability on your homeowner's or renter's insurance. Ask your lawyer in advance if this will cover the bulk of his fees in advance.

And JWarren is right. Your state might have laws that shield you from civil liability in the event of a legitimate defensive shooting, BUT, you may still have to go to court to assert this. Are you going to do this yourself, or do you want to have a lawyer do it? ANYTHING CAN GO TO COURT. All it takes is a lawyer willing to file it, and a grumpy anti-gun judge who thinks that it is an issue that needs to be revisited. COURTS CAN OVERTURN LAWS. Just because the law, the facts, and the precedents are on your side doesn't mean you won't have to fight it.

As for the dog issue, it varies from state to state. In Utah, animals are a strict liability. The owner is responsible for everything the animal does, and the animal never gets the benefit of the doubt. Your dog is NEVER allowed to bite someone, even under circumstances where you would be allowed to SHOOT the same person. There have been a few dog shootings on the news lately and the story always ends the same. "No charges will be filed."

Deanimator
May 9, 2009, 12:09 PM
Michigan is a "castle defense" state with some interesting provisions in the law.
Any part of your property, including your car, is treated the same as in your house.
In Ohio, "castle doctrine" covers your home and your vehicle. I believe that you're protected from suit for a lawful defense.

Outside of your home, you have a duty to ATTEMPT to retreat before using deadly force, if you can do so IN PERFECT SAFETY. You've got no duty to expose your back and try to run away.

Home invasion and carjacking are NOT good career paths in Ohio.

Frank Ettin
May 9, 2009, 12:14 PM
Here is the sad part: Even though you are not guilty, even though you protected yourself and your family from scum, and even though you did right by the eyes of the law, it will still cost you about $50,000 if it is drawn out for a year or two. Not an exaggeration!

You will miss time at work which costs money. You will pay a qualified attorney what seems like an exorbitant amount of money, but you get what you pay for. You will feel stress and anxiety. Your family will feel these burdens.

A light trigger pull is fine for target guns, but think wisely when pulling your trigger on the street or in the home. Are you an attorney? You know this how?

If I believed all this I would never carry, much less use a gun.Well I am a lawyer, and what was quoted sounds about right. I still carry when I legally can, and we of course have loaded guns around the house. A gun is the tool of last resort -- by which point it will usually be the least unsatisfactory choice from a number of even more unsatisfactory choices. And understanding the downsides, I've tried to mitigate them by seeking out professional training and practicing regularly, and also by educating myself in the legal side of things.

Deanimator
May 9, 2009, 12:24 PM
[3] While some folks suggest saying nothing when the police arrive, Mas Ayoob suggests saying the following:

* That man attacked me.

* I will sign a complaint.

* There are witnesses (point them out).

* There is evidence (point it out).

* That's all I'll say now. You'll have my full cooperation in 24 hours after I've talked with my lawyer.

fiddletown is online now Report Post
While I agree in PRINCIPLE, I think that he's coming at this as a cop, law enforcement trainer, and self-defense trainer. It's his JOB to remember things from a script, be it the Miranda warning or a particular program of instruction for a class.

I think the odds of the average person having that sort of script down cold after a self-defense shooting are 50/50 AT BEST. There's a dead guy in your living room. There's blood and tissue spattered on your big screen TV. Your wife and kids are in hysterics. The cops may have guns pointed at you, you're on your face on the floor and the cops have their knees in your back, cuffing you. Do you REALLY want to try to remember the king's "we happy few" speech from "Henry V"?

It's better to say NOTHING than to say the wrong thing. Anything you say can be used against you, whether you meant to say it or not. Once you unintentionally say something incriminating, even if it isn't true, you CAN'T take it back. It's always lying around waiting for you, like a landmine.

I prefer a much simpler and easier to remember formula.

"I was in fear for my life and I defended myself."
"I will talk to you further when my lawyer is present."

If you can't remember even THAT, just ID yourself and SHUT UP until your lawyer's present.

Deanimator
May 9, 2009, 12:38 PM
As for the dog issue, it varies from state to state. In Utah, animals are a strict liability. The owner is responsible for everything the animal does, and the animal never gets the benefit of the doubt. Your dog is NEVER allowed to bite someone, even under circumstances where you would be allowed to SHOOT the same person. There have been a few dog shootings on the news lately and the story always ends the same. "No charges will be filed."
In Ohio, you are allowed to shoot a dog which puts you in reasonable fear of life and limb. You are NOT allowed to shoot a dog to protect another dog (or presumably cat, iguana, gerbil, etc.).

That having been said, I've seen at least a couple of cases where a vicious dog attacked a person's dog in their presence and they shot the attacking dog without being prosecuted. The general tendency here appears to be to extend considerable benefit of the doubt to somebody in an instance where a dog attacks another dog, where that dog could just as easily have attacked the owner, and where a reasonable person would fear that they'd be attacked next, or if they attempted to intervene. This appears to be especially so in the case of "dangerous breeds".

Again, "common sense" appears to be the basic guiding principle. In Ohio:

Don't be a home invader.
Don't be a carjacker.
Don't cause or allow your dog to put people in reasonable fear of life and limb.

If you do, don't expect much sympathy from the law or the public at large. You won't get it.

Frank Ettin
May 9, 2009, 01:05 PM
...I think the odds of the average person having that sort of script down cold after a self-defense shooting are 50/50 AT BEST. There's a dead guy in your living room. There's blood and tissue spattered on your big screen TV. Your wife and kids are in hysterics. The cops may have guns pointed at you, you're on your face on the floor and the cops have their knees in your back, cuffing you. Do you REALLY want to try to remember the king's "we happy few" speech from "Henry V"?...Well sure, if you're the "average person." :D But if you've taken Mas' LFI-1 and regularly rehearse your lines, it shouldn't be a problem.:D:D It's another thing to practice.;)

We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he today that sheds his blood with me shall be my brother;
Be he ne'er so vile today shall gentle his condition;
And gentlemen in England now abed shall think themselves accursed they were not here....

Oops, sorry. I got carried away.

I prefer a much simpler and easier to remember formula.

"I was in fear for my life and I defended myself."
"I will talk to you further when my lawyer is present."And that should also work. But it still will need to be memorized and practiced so that it will be remembered under stress.

hankdatank1362
May 9, 2009, 01:09 PM
I didn't read all the responses, so I apologize if this was already posted.

If you shoot and kill a violent assailant, you have just committed homicide.

Now, whether it was justified (you get to sleep in your own bed for the rest of your life) or criminal (you sleep next to Tyrone for the rest of your life) depends on the facts and details of the shooting scenario, with specific regard to your state.

Also, things like politically-motivated DAs, tense racial climate if the shooting is cross-racial, and other things shouldn't matter... but they often do.

emb
May 9, 2009, 05:46 PM
The problem is that Impureclient at least says he lives in Florida. If that is true, he needs to understand Florida law. Not Ohio, New Jersey, California or whatever state. They all have different firearm laws. If I travel and I carry, I make it a point to read the law of all of the states that I travel through.

Now, I am an attorney as well. I'll extend the offer to Impure one more time to help him find a lawyer to advise him on the appropriate use of force in Florida. I also know that the NRA will help him too.

I don't necessarily disagree with some of the advice, but Impure has requested fairly specific advice that he should not trust to the internet.

rscalzo
May 9, 2009, 06:42 PM
If you shoot and kill a BG are you immediately considered at fault no matter what the situation
may have been?

During my time with the department, we have had several shootings. Most were murder suicides involving domestics so there was no need to charge anyone.

In the others, for the most part a detailed and extensive investigation is initiated. Most likely it will be presented to a Grand Jury at which time they will decide where it goes. Too many seem to think that the police department decides if any charges are to be filed. Many in a small county or town. In the large city, it come down from the Prosecutor's Office. and usually after the GJ meets.

As far as a civil suit being filed, the fact that a law states that none can be filed doesn't mean squat. I've seen them filed regardless. Putting your financial well being of some loosely worded statutes means nothing. A judge can very easily decide that the "injuried party" has the right to sue. Even worse is recent desicions that have decided that the next of kin cannot be denied their rights to file suit. That one cost a friend everything he owned even though he was judged twice not at fault (in a non-firearm's related incident). Laws change.

If you want to cover your butt, have a liability policy that will cover the costs up front. For the years working for the department, they covered any costs of a lawsuit. Regardless I still maintained a policy that covered me up to one million. I wasn't trusting them to cover my costs even though it was spelled out in my contract.

Confederate
May 9, 2009, 07:07 PM
Check out the link in my signature. You ought to take it to heart...really.

Our laws are becoming literally that of a police state. The U.S. Constitution is virtually a dead letter. Americans, especially the younger ones, have been so dumbed down as to completely disregard the Constitution.

I agree with Glenn Beck that what we're seeing is the largest power grab in U.S. history. In just over a hundred days our entire government has been changed.

Kleanbore
May 9, 2009, 07:41 PM
I prefer a much simpler and easier to remember formula.

"I was in fear for my life and I defended myself."
"I will talk to you further when my lawyer is present."

That might be OK if the police perform perfectly, but if they do not, you may later regret leaving out

There are witnesses (point them out).

There is evidence (point it out).

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