Gerald Ung, Not Guilty in Philadelphia


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unloved
February 16, 2011, 09:42 AM
I don't know if Mr. Ung's case was discussed here. He and two companions were attacked by four men in Old City Philadelphia early last year. Mr. Ung shot one of his attackers, and was charged with attempted murder, among other things.
The attack occurred on the street outside Fox 29's studio and offices, and was recorded by their surveillance cameras.
http://www.myfoxphilly.com/dpp/news/local_news/Old_City_Shooting_01_17_10


This is a looong, ongoing discussion of Mr. Ung's ordeal.
http://forum.pafoa.org/news-123/86076-old-city-shooting.html

Mr. Ung's trial began last week, and the jury began deliberation yesterday. About five hours later, they returned a verdict of Not Guilty.
Upon hearing the verdict, Ung had no expression. Moments later, he started crying, sat down and clasped his hands together as if praying.
http://www.philly.com/philly/news/116258729.html?cmpid=41144277

Mr. Ung likely owes his attorney some amount in the six figure range. Please consider donating to his defense fund.
http://theungfund.org/

Thank you.

ETA: Sorry I posted in the wrong forum.:o

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hirundo82
February 16, 2011, 10:35 AM
Great news! Now hopefully you guys in PA can use this to help get castle doctrine and civil immunity passed.

Bubbles
February 16, 2011, 01:13 PM
Someone from PAFOA attended the trial and wrote down what happened. While not an official transcript, it's very eye-opening about what to expect if you are charged in a SD shooting in an area with an anti-gun prosecutor, especially the last page.

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bluesteel63
February 16, 2011, 07:31 PM
very interesting. Prosecutors will stop at nothing just to win a case.

kingpin008
February 16, 2011, 07:35 PM
Based on the video, it seems like a pretty obvious case of self defense. I'm glad Mr. Ung came out of it with his life and freedom intact, even if it did ultimately cost him a fortune.

Buck Snort
February 17, 2011, 04:54 AM
I watched the video and based on that I sent the man a donation, I encourage everybody else to do so. ;)

hermannr
February 17, 2011, 06:47 PM
Mr Ung should now sue the governmental entity that procecuted him for the cost of his defence. The only time procecuters like that get a clue is when it costs their budget and they are publicly humilliated by having to pay up.

henschman
February 17, 2011, 08:26 PM
very interesting. Prosecutors will stop at nothing just to win a case.

That line of work definitely requires a special type of personality. A lot of them go on to be politicians, if that tells you anything.

I have been prosecuted by an anti-gun ADA on firearms charges before, and it was an eye-opening experience, to say the least. Fortunately, the one who prosecuted me was completely professionally incompetent, and the judge dismissed the case on my attorney's motion at trial.

52grain
February 17, 2011, 08:36 PM
Mr Ung should now sue the governmental entity that procecuted him for the cost of his defence. The only time procecuters like that get a clue is when it costs their budget and they are publicly humilliated by having to pay up.

We really need to reform both the civil and criminal court systems. Looser should pay the winner's reasonable attorney's fees. Around here, most county boards of supervisors would start asking questions if they lost a case like this and had to pay $100k+ in defendant's legal fees in addition to the county attorney's salary and voters would probably vote the county attorney out of office.

That line of work definitely requires a special type of personality. A lot of them go on to be politicians, if that tells you anything.

Around here they are politicians. Several years ago a county attorney lost in the primary after arresting a bunch of people in an "illegal gambling ring" and then not being able to prove that they bet more than $5 or $10 dollars on a game which makes it a misdomeanor that is usually not enforced instead of the felony that he tried to stick them with.

cleardiddion
February 17, 2011, 09:14 PM
Sad to have his life changed in such a manner but it'll go up from here on after.

It truly disgusts me (I can't think of another set of words to describe without being censored) that the prosecution acted the way it did. Who needs facts when you can play the tear jerker and throw around legal snake oils and all that. Those folks should have gone into tv instead of something dealing with real people.

wildbilll
February 18, 2011, 05:27 PM
I find it amazing that when the gun displayed the weapon, some idiot decided to rush him. I guess it's a Darwinian thing.

mbruce
February 18, 2011, 05:41 PM
Sad situation for everyone involved. We all know everyone there wish they had those few moments back...

So to be "that guy" that always chimes in -- why is everyone so irate at the prosecution? From the video it appears as if a group gets into a confrontation with another group and at the VERY EARLY stages of a confrontation, only after a few shoves and punches are thrown, a guy pulls out a gun, does a 180 sweeping motion and then fires away.

I realize the testimony above...but the video really didn't help Ung's case at all...other than to say he was punched. But not many people are going to understand and say it's OK to pull a gun during the early stages of what may turn into an ugly fist fight.

On the flip side...after watching that video...and your child, loved one, friend, etc was the one shot -- wouldn't you want the prosecution to look into it and pursue charges if warranted?

kingpin008
February 18, 2011, 06:19 PM
Mbruce - to me, the video pretty clearly shows Mr. Ung being shoved, then backing up and drawing a gun, and the aggressor charging at him with fists flying. He's even trying to punch Mr. Ung as he's being shot.

Rational people don't do that.

mbruce
February 18, 2011, 06:33 PM
Rational people don't do that.

Point taken.

When looking at a the end of a barrel most rational become irrational.

Off-subject bc it's purely subjective....but....
If LEM points a gun at me I will freeze simply because there is a trust factor that I will not get fired upon unless I do it to myself.
When a stranger in the wee hours of the AM leaving a bar/pizza place pulls a gun on me -- that trust factor is not there. I have three options...trust person pointing a gun at me, fight, or flight -- depending on the scenario my brain will compute what to do in a nano second. Because that guy fought does make him crazy/irrational and you cannot link throwing a few punches to going so far as to killing him Ung with his bare hands.

Granted one cannot know the outcome before hand...i'll take my chances and minimize my overall risk and hope for a positive long-term outcome by exchanging some hands...may get bloodied and bruised and may get my face broken...but it's better than what Mr. Ung will now have to go thru.

I read these posts on here and I appreciate input and enjoy reading from most members -- I am noticing a trend that follows these cases -- the DA files charges when it's armed vs un-armed (only talking about the cases mentioned on this THR)....not all the time...but most of the time -- but simply put -- wouldn't you want it further looked into if it were your unarmed loved on at the fatal end of the gun?

kingpin008
February 18, 2011, 08:35 PM
Because that guy fought does make him crazy/irrational and you cannot link throwing a few punches to going so far as to killing him Ung with his bare hands.


Yes, I can. We don't know anything about Mr. Ung, other than that he was carrying that night, and ended up having to defend himself with his firearm. For all we know, he was carrying that gun because he has a disability that prohibits him from being able to fight back with his fists. Hell, even strong, able-bodied people can be killed in a fist-fight. All it takes is one decent punch to render you unconscious, thus leaving you at the mercy of your attacker. Also, who knows if the attacker would have stopped at a few punches? What if he had started with fists, then transitioned to a knife, or a gun of his own?

Also, Mr. Ung drew his weapon after he was shoved. It also shows the fella who shoved him approaching, as Ung backs up, gun still pointed at the aggressor. To me, that's an irrational act - and I dunno about you, but I'm not in the practice of letting violent, irrational idiots who have already assaulted me get close enough to do it again.

but simply put -- wouldn't you want it further looked into if it were your unarmed loved on at the fatal end of the gun?

If my loved one was the cause of the shooting and there was visual proof to bear it out, no. This case is a perfect example of a guy taking things too far and getting his hash settled by his intended victim. I don't see why it warrants any further investigation other than viewing the tape, interviewing the shooter/witnesses, and writing a report.

mbruce
February 18, 2011, 09:43 PM
Unless I missed something the posts above do not portray Ung as a guy minding his own business. Question is -- would Ung have engaged if he didn't have a gun?

IMO a shove and a fist do no justify lethal force. Watching Cops on TV...they get shoved and punched -- and you don't see them hose anyone down with lead.

Cool thing is it's OK for you to feel justified in using lethal force when getting into a shoving altercation. I do not feel that way -- but it is OK -- we can agree and disagree and still be BFF. But the differences of our justifications are why some states do not allow CCW....truth is few of us are trained enough to know when and when not to use lethal force.

If the video would have shown him getting stomped on, kicked, and beat by the attacker or a group then I would have been all for it...but it didn't...and it's good that prosecution did what it did -- you say interview witnesses -- well they did -- and even in court they had a difference of what happened. Cop said Ung was drunk...Ung said he wasn't...Ungs party said they engaged them...other party said opposite...

pictures are worth a 1,000 words and videos are worth a 1,000,000 words...and that's evidently why the DA filed charges....

again -- however you look at it -- it's horrible for all parties involved and I hope the scenario doesn't happen to anyone...I have a lot of SD guns and I pray that I never have to use them.

kingpin008
February 18, 2011, 11:58 PM
Unless I missed something the posts above do not portray Ung as a guy minding his own business. Question is -- would Ung have engaged if he didn't have a gun?

What posts are you referring to?

IMO a shove and a fist do no justify lethal force. Watching Cops on TV...they get shoved and punched -- and you don't see them hose anyone down with lead.

That's great, but apparently the courts of Philly don't agree. And in regards to cops, they're trained to handle violent encounters. They're also required to be in reasonably good physical condition, and are issued a range of equipment that civilians aren't.

In short, comparing a trained, well-equipped individual whose job it is to encounter and deal with unruly individuals with a regular joe off the street is hardly a fair comparison.

Cool thing is it's OK for you to feel justified in using lethal force when getting into a shoving altercation.

I said no such thing. I merely stated that in this case, Mr. Ung was the first one physically attacked, and he reacted reasonably - retreating, then drawing as the man approached again. Unfortunately, the man decided to approach again and he ended up shot a bunch of times.

If the video would have shown him getting stomped on, kicked, and beat by the attacker or a group then I would have been all for it...

Why should anyone have to wait until they're getting stomped to defend themselves? That's ludicrous. And to go back to a previous point - what if the individual being attacked isn't physically able to sustain a stomping? I have multiple damaged discs in my back - someone knocking me down and stomping me would result in permanent, crippling damage.

I guess what I'm asking is, at what point does a victim's right to defend themselves overtake an attacker's desire to cause them harm or kill them? Shouldn't the victim have the upper hand over an individual attempting to pummel them?

pictures are worth a 1,000 words and videos are worth a 1,000,000 words...and that's evidently why the DA filed charges....

Not necessarily. In most states, even if the shooting is a cut-and-dried "good shoot", charges will be filed and the case will be heard in court. It's just how things like that work, and part of why it's become common knowledge that a self-defense shooting (even justified ones) will cost tens of thousands of dollars to fight in court.

again -- however you look at it -- it's horrible for all parties involved and I hope the scenario doesn't happen to anyone...I have a lot of SD guns and I pray that I never have to use them.

On this, we can agree 100%. :)

Girodin
February 19, 2011, 12:34 AM
Just watching the video alone (which obviously doesn't capture what was said or what happened prior, I can see why charges were brought. The video alone does not seem to potray an imminent threat of DEATH or sever bodily harm. It portrays an argument and one guy pulling a gun and then someone reacting to that.

Good example of why your gun needs to be a last resort and you should really seek to avoid arguments and then to de-escalate and vacate the area of an argument.

What if he had started with fists, then transitioned to a knife, or a gun of his own?


Outside what ifs do not create a reasonable fear for your life.

Pulling a gun to a shove is going to be a very very questionable response as this case illustrates.

A fist fight often is simply not going to justify shooting someone. Nor is a shove. It doesn't matter how many "but ifs" you pile on it.

The evidence most in Ung's favor was the alleged threat "I'll kill you".

That's great, but apparently the courts of Philly don't agree.

One jury, the courts of PA is a bit of an overstatement. And the fact that charges were brought says something.

For those saying the video establishes an obvious case of self defense. Please explain what parts of that video you think prove which elements of the affirmative defense of self defense under PA law (or even general common law rules). Thanks.

mbruce
February 19, 2011, 12:44 AM
Not necessarily. In most states, even if the shooting is a cut-and-dried "good shoot", charges will be filed and the case will be heard in court. It's just how things like that work, and part of why it's become common knowledge that a self-defense shooting (even justified ones) will cost tens of thousands of dollars to fight in court.



so what happens when a SD shooting occurs...for sake of no argument what-so-ever...a no relation individual(s) enters your home at night while you are asleep, they are not on ambien or asleep on our couch...they are there with the intent to harm or burglarize...you fire away and take the life of the individual(s)...cops show....

then what happens? You go to jail until your court appearance? that would suck...

Girodin
February 19, 2011, 01:36 AM
Not necessarily. In most states, even if the shooting is a cut-and-dried "good shoot", charges will be filed and the case will be heard in court.

Um no. What happens in most places is the DA screens it decides what to do. If it is clear cut case of self defense no charges are brought. That is definately what happens where I live. Bringing charges in a truly clear cut case with undisputed facts would not result in a full blown trial even if it were true that charges were brought no matter what. Do a search for recent self defense shootings and see how many resulted in charges being brought.

Bonesinium
February 19, 2011, 03:07 AM
Where do you draw the line?

When you get knocked down and are being stomped in the head? Well at that point it's probably too late.

Some things to consider. He didn't draw immediately. Hell, he didn't even shoot after he drew until he was attacked again. Then, after the shooting, the shooter called 911. He is the one who called. He stayed. He wasn't trying to kill anyone, and the jury agrees.

Should he have drawn when just being shoved?

There is never a set answer. No situation is the same. We can't predict the future. You have to make a decision. I know I don't want to wait until it is too late.

If this shows anything, it shows that instigating, picking a fight, or messing with someone can get you killed, especially when you don't know who you are dealing with.

For all we know he could have turned his back and walked away only to be grabbed from behind and his neck broken. Or be shot in the back.

From white hat guys own testimony he stated his hand movements could have been mistaken as him reaching for a weapon. 2 potential aggressor who could armed? What if one of them was, now instead of Ung being the shooter and in a attempted murder case maybe he was shot and white hat guy is facing charges.

This debate isn't going to end.

My opinion is that it was a terrible situation, it could have been avoided, Ung may not have needed to draw his firearm or shoot, but that he did doesn't make him a criminal, and he was properly found not guilty of attempted murder. Life lessons almost always suck.

Shadow 7D
February 19, 2011, 04:45 AM
Innocent is in actions
nobody ever really is, unless something happen to you completely out of the blue as a result of none of your actions.

What you have is two group, (from the testimony) that talk BS to each other, one group goes to leave, the other follower and continues to engage and threaten (so we have deescalation and retreat, both not working)

Now you have the most agressive (instigator) attack from the side/rear twice and continues to swing around,
gee guys, any military historian or Xbox historian, what is that military maneuver called when you block escape and destroy the enemy????

When a guy who has attacked before is moving in, showing signs of being armed, attacked again (lets NOT FORGET I'll Kill You etc. AND Reaching behind himself like he had a gun or knife)

Sorry, but either his lawyer was worth the money (he is free, so he was) or the entire prosecution is driven by emotion. It sounds from the court, that it would never had gone much past the investigation or grand jury.

Girodin
February 19, 2011, 05:29 AM
Then, after the shooting, the shooter called 911. He is the one who called. He stayed. He wasn't trying to kill anyone, and the jury agrees.

The jury did not agree he was not trying to kill anyone they determined his efforts in that respect were justified. The first two things you mention are really neither here nor there as to whether he was justified in the act he took.

Where do you draw the line?

In most cases I would think somewhere far on the other side of being pushed.

Shadow 7D
February 19, 2011, 08:40 AM
Hum

where are the attempted murder charges against the white hat guy??
after all, in a felony, there is shared responsibility (hence 2nd degree murder if you accomplice dies)

mbruce
February 19, 2011, 11:00 AM
In most cases I would think somewhere far on the other side of being pushed.


I guess you and I are the only ones that feel this way...

TexasRifleman
February 19, 2011, 11:12 AM
Um no. What happens in most places is the DA screens it decides what to do. If it is clear cut case of self defense no charges are brought.

I think you will find it pretty evenly split. Many states require prosecution if someone is killed. What you describe, prosecutor option, certainly happens in many places but just as many have laws that require prosecutors to take homicides to a Grand Jury even if they appear clearly justified.

May not even be an arrest if it's a clear and obvious self defense shooting, but still has to go to Grand Jury in many states.

Girodin
February 19, 2011, 03:59 PM
where are the attempted murder charges against the white hat guy??
after all, in a felony, there is shared responsibility (hence 2nd degree murder if you accomplice dies)

Not all states have "felon murder statutes". There also is not felony attempted murder.


. . .many places but just as many have laws that require prosecutors to take homicides to a Grand Jury even if they appear clearly justified.

He said they would go to court which I interpreted to mean a full trial and not to a grand jury. Two very different things. I've included the comment to which I was responding below. I believe my interpretation was correct given that the poster also said this is why it would cost tens of thousands of dollars. Going to the grand jury in a clear cut case is typically is not going to cost tens of thousands of dollars.

Not necessarily. In most states, even if the shooting is a cut-and-dried "good shoot", charges will be filed and the case will be heard in court.

gc70
February 19, 2011, 05:06 PM
If the video would have shown him getting stomped on, kicked, and beat by the attacker or a group then I would have been all for it

Harsh words and a shove are not enough. Is a hit in the face? Two or three? Being knocked down and stomped or kicked? Having bones broken? Being beaten by one, or two, or more? How close do you have to come to sustaining serious bodily injury or death to be able to use lethal force in self defense?

mbruce
February 19, 2011, 05:19 PM
To me, people are taking this fight out of context.... group A and group B exchange words, exchange more words...talk some trash...throw some hands...Mr. Ung chooses to pull a gun.

This was not a mugging, not a gang beating, not a blind sided threat in a back alley, not a group of bullies picking on choir boys. It was a testosterone/alochol fueled collision that involved both groups of guys talking crap. Mr. Ung got into a physical exchange, was either going to lose or losing and decided to pull a gun.... You cannot place emphasis on the guy who charged Mr. Ung after Ung pulled a gun -- he was simply reacting to Mr. Ung using lethal force.

In this instance pulling a gun during the EARLY STAGES of a hand to hand fight that Ung had a part in is unacceptable.

gc70
February 19, 2011, 05:29 PM
It was a testosterone/alochol fueled collision that involved both groups of guys talking crap.

I can certainly agree that the accounts from court show that the incident started that way. However, the video of subsequent events shows one group trying to leave and disengage while the other group is pursuing. The act of retreating entirely changes the situation, both morally and legally.

kingpin008
February 19, 2011, 05:49 PM
To me, people are taking this fight out of context.... group A and group B exchange words, exchange more words...talk some trash...throw some hands...Mr. Ung chooses to pull a gun.

No, you're pretty much right, except for the fact that it wasn't "throwing hands" as in a mutual fight - it was an individual from Group B shoving an individual from Group A as he was trying to leave the scene. That's not a mutual combat situation, that's an attack. If you got into a heated argument with someone and then were followed and assaulted by the one of the people you were trying to escape you'd be a bit worried too.

Mr. Ung got into a physical exchange, was either going to lose or losing and decided to pull a gun.... You cannot place emphasis on the guy who charged Mr. Ung after Ung pulled a gun -- he was simply reacting to Mr. Ung using lethal force.

Let's get one thing straight - pulling a gun and aiming it at someone is NOT deadly force. Pulling the trigger is.

And we can put the emphasis on the guy who charged, because whether or not Mr. Ung was justified in pulling the gun at that particular moment, he chose to continue the confrontation and rush towards Mr. Ung. At that point, the ball is in HIS court in regards to how the event will unfold. He chose wrong. And I don't know about you, but someone who decides to come at me again with a pistol leveled at them is telling me through their actions that they are dead-set on doing me harm, and I need to do what I can to stop them.

However, the video of subsequent events shows one group trying to leave and disengage while the other group is pursuing. The act of retreating entirely changes the situation, both morally and legally.

Exactly.

mbruce
February 19, 2011, 05:55 PM
If someone pulls a gun on me I assume he's going to use it therefore I will do all I can to stop him.

Girodin
February 19, 2011, 06:17 PM
How close do you have to come to sustaining serious bodily injury or death to be able to use lethal force in self defense?

You have to be in reasonable fear of death or serious bodily injury? At what point is the mythical reasonable man going to be in fear of that? Those who decide if charges should be brought and if it should go to trial will first ask if you had a objectively reasonable fear. Then the jury will ask that. It is not a fixed target.

Let's get one thing straight - pulling a gun and aiming it at someone is NOT deadly force. Pulling the trigger is.


It is a threat of lethal force but let's get a second thing straight, you cannot escalate a situation to the point deadly force is required and then claim self defense. If I tell you to F off, then I push you then you pull a knife then I pull a gun, in most places, I do not have a valid claim to self defense.

Pulling a gun when you shouldn't have and then claiming the person came out you and thus justified you using the gun is not likely to be a winning argument very often.

Was Ung justified in pulling the gun in first place? I don't have sufficient facts to say, IDK the PA laws or have a full credible account of the facts.

Again irrespective of how it turned out I'm not the least bit surprised this went to trial. It was very much so in the gray area.

kingpin008
February 19, 2011, 06:27 PM
If someone pulls a gun on me I assume he's going to use it therefore I will do all I can to stop him.

So if you're pulled over mistakenly one afternoon by a police officer and ordered out of the car at gunpoint, you're going to do all you can to stop him? That makes zero sense.

And even if that is your reaction, it doesn't correlate to the situation under discussion. Mr. Ung didn't pull the gun without first being provoked. He was reacting, the best way he knew how to at that particular moment to an immediate physical threat. So it would follow that all Mr. X has to do to avoid getting shot is to stop his assaultive actions and walk away. Ung wasn't chasing him, or approaching him in any way - in fact, he was still attempting to get away! Mr. X decided to push the matter and got shot for it.

kingpin008
February 19, 2011, 06:31 PM
It is a threat of lethal force but let's get a second thing straight, you cannot escalate a situation to the point deadly force is required and then claim self defense. If I tell you to F off, then I push you then you pull a knife then I pull a gun, in most places, I do not have a valid claim to self defense.

I'm not sure I understand your point. Mr. Ung was attempting to retreat from the situation with his friends, when Mr. X decided to take it from words to actions and shove him. There was in no way a "I call you a name and push you then you pull a knife, etc" situation. He got into a yelling match, then tried to leave. He was followed and assaulted. He reacted to a physical threat the best way he knew how, and attempted to keep retreating. Mr. X forced his hand by coming at him a second time. How is that not justified?

mbruce
February 19, 2011, 06:31 PM
Oh come on now let's not get carried away...as I said before there is a trust factor with LEM. There is zero trust factor with a guy who left a bar and is exchanging heated words with me.


I'll go ahead and throw this comment out there... I really don't know if pulling a gun was justified in this situation..may be, may not...I initially commented because the posts were so one sided blasting the prosecution when the video showed absolutely no credible threat....

mbruce
February 19, 2011, 06:35 PM
I saw what could be considered a slow retreat...surely didn't see a retreat from a life threatening situation...

And the video certainly does not show Ung disengaging...it shows ung and his crew walking down the street while facing the "threat" continuing to exchange words.

Girodin gonna get serious in a minute and post something that no one has a come back to.

kingpin008
February 19, 2011, 06:51 PM
There is zero trust factor with a guy who left a bar and is exchanging heated words with me.

Which is exactly why I won't trust a guy who is intent on forcing a physical confrontation to stop at just a few punches. Especially when I'm attempting to remove myself from the fight and he pursues me.

I saw what could be considered a slow retreat...surely didn't see a retreat from a life threatening situation...

Since when does a retreat need to be a certain speed to be valid? I have a chronic back injury and am incapable of more than a fast walk, even if I TRIED. If it had been me in the video, would your comment have been the same? The bottom line is that he was trying to leave.

it shows ung and his crew walking down the street while facing the "threat" continuing to exchange words.

And for all we know those words were "LEAVE US ALONE NOW!" But, regardless of the words exchanged - Mr. X chose to take it past words and into violent actions. Why is that so hard for you to accept?

mbruce
February 19, 2011, 07:07 PM
I accept that, and accepted that during my 1st post. I did not accept the "off with the prosecutor's head".... I will end with this...

I will write to you and wire funds via western union when your on trial for hosing down Gordon Ramsey because he came at you with a spatchala on Hell's Kitchen. :-D

In all seriousness I was not there and my opinion is purely ignorant and subjective. Its an unfortunate situation and bottom line is for all of us to minimize risks and mazimize odds.

kingpin008
February 19, 2011, 07:29 PM
Well, It's obvious that we don't agree. Let's leave it at that, and hope each other never has to personally test our differing theories. :D

Girodin
February 19, 2011, 07:41 PM
My example was an illustration of the general legal principle. My end point was that if he was not justified in pulling his gun, then claiming SD in relation to the gentleman rushing him becomes a hard sale. He escalated a push and allegedly some threats to a gun fight. The alleged threats, notably "I'll kill you" weigh in Ung's favor.

Mr. X chose to take it past words and into violent actions. Why is that so hard for you to accept?

That alone is not enough to justify using a gun. Typically the standard is not did someone do violence to you, nor is it even are you in fear of imminent future "violent actions". It is reasonable fear, in the circumstances, of imminent death or serious bodily harm (which has a particular meaning). In most cases someone pushing someone else would not cause an objectively reasonable fear of death or serious bodily harm. Particularly when another person has already come between you and the pusher.

Almost any time an armed person shoots unarmed person there are going to be serious questions as to whether the purported fear of death or serious bodily harm was objectively reasonable. That is often a difficult determination this case is just one example of that.

I'll repeat my point so that it is not misunderstood. Based on the video alone, Ung's actions look very questionable. Depending on other circumstances things may alter that analysis. I do not have an ability to know those other circumstances or even make great judgments about them. One of the reasons appeals courts don't typical review findings of fact is because it is recognized that those in the courtroom hearing the testimony, seeing the people, etc, are in a better position to evaluate credibility etc than one reading a transcript.

As I have stated multiple times, if the guy was making threats to kill, etc that might make it all look more objectively reasonable.

What is objectively reasonable is by nature a debatable matter. A point worth remembering.

The take away from this case, and a number of cases that are roughly similar to it, is that a bunch of other people are going to be reviewing your actions and asking if they are reasonable in the circumstances. The more clear the threat is and the less culpable you are in that threat existing the better it is for you.

maestro pistolero
February 21, 2011, 03:03 PM
Small donation sent. This guy did the right thing.

Owen Sparks
February 21, 2011, 03:22 PM
"Where do you draw the line?"

Anytime a person initiate aggression through word or deed, it is a very serious threat and you can not afford to let them put their hands on you. that push could just as easily be a punch or a stab or a thumb in the eye. Make no mistake being punched can render you unable to defend yourself from the next punch and the next and the next then you are down and totaly at the mercy of your attacker who can stomp on your head and neck until you are DEAD! You do not owe a criminal assailant a fair fight! Assault is not a sporting event. NEVER let some stranger put his hands on you in mallace.

There is an old martial arts saying that applies: It is not the man who throws the first punch who is wrong, it is he who insisted on fighting who is in the wrong.

Bartholomew Roberts
February 21, 2011, 06:42 PM
It is a threat of lethal force but let's get a second thing straight, you cannot escalate a situation to the point deadly force is required and then claim self defense. If I tell you to F off, then I push you then you pull a knife then I pull a gun, in most places, I do not have a valid claim to self defense.

I'm not familiar with PA law; but see this example from Texas:

"(b) The use of force against another is not justified:
...(4) if the actor provoked the other's use or attempted use of unlawful force, unless:(A) the actor abandons the encounter, or clearly communicates to the other his intent to do so reasonably believing he cannot safely abandon the encounter; and (B) the other nevertheless continues or attempts to use unlawful force against the actor; or""

Many states have similar laws that say if you provoked the others use of force; but clearly attempt to disengage or retreat, you can once again claim self-defense if your attacker continues to pursue after you have disengaged.

So, in Texas, if I tell you to blank yourself and push you and you pull a knife and I say "Can't fight like a man?" and start walking away, you pursuing me could be all I need to claim self-defense - depending of course on how the jury sees it.

He escalated a push and allegedly some threats to a gun fight. The alleged threats, notably "I'll kill you" weigh in Ung's favor.

It is worth noting that Tom Kelly (the original aggressor in the white hat) reached behind his back (according to Kelly it was to "pull up his pants") as he approached Ung and Ung drew the pistol thinking he was going to produce a weapon. Kelly backed off at that point; but the other guy charged.

Depending on other circumstances things may alter that analysis. I do not have an ability to know those other circumstances or even make great judgments about them.

Actually, a lot of the trial testimony for this particular case is available online through various news articles. And while you are going from the video alone, the jury here did get to consider the totality of the evidence and apparently didn't find that Ung acted unreasonably.

Almost any time an armed person shoots unarmed person there are going to be serious questions as to whether the purported fear of death or serious bodily harm was objectively reasonable. That is often a difficult determination this case is just one example of that.

No argument here. If you shoot an unarmed person, even with a large disparity of force, you've got a real high probability of a trial in your future.

627PCFan
February 21, 2011, 08:14 PM
I would have thought the alcohol would have played a bigger part in the prosecutions case. What exactly are their bar/gun laws in PA?

unloved
February 21, 2011, 10:10 PM
What exactly are their bar/gun laws in PA?

There aren't any.

Girodin
February 23, 2011, 08:05 PM
a lot of the trial testimony for this particular case is available online through various news articles.

I've been closely involved in a number of things that I've read /watched the news reports on. I do not really trust the news to convey facts correctly. You'd be amazed at how many objectively knowable facts the media is able to simple get totally wrong.

And while you are going from the video alone, the jury here did get to consider the totality of the evidence and apparently didn't find that Ung acted unreasonably.

Which is why I highlighted that point and noted that the analysis might well change with other facts. My comments concerning the video alone were more to those that claimed the video clearly showed it was self defense. No one has yet cited PA law and then explained why that video clearly shows it was self defense.

JR956678
February 27, 2011, 01:30 PM
No one has yet cited PA law and then explained why that video clearly shows it was self defense.

PA law requires a reasonable belief that you and/or someone in your company is threatened with death or serious injury before you can use lethal force to defend yourself or them, and also states that you have a duty to retreat providing you can do so in complete safety.

There is no law in the state of PA prohibiting concealed or open carry in an establishment that serves alcohol, nor is there any law against consuming alcohol while you are carrying; you are responsible for all of your actions regardless. All of the participants had been drinking before the encounter but at trial the prosecution was never able to connect Mt. Ung's actions with impaired judgment.

During the trial, the defense repeatedly walked prosecution witnesses through the video to both show inconsistencies in their accounts of the events as well as introduce key defense contentions of the events even though not directly part of the witness's testimony.

As we here can only view the video outside of this context I think we probably need to be aware that it had more impact as the jury understood it than it does as we see it.

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