After a shooting -- now what?

Discussion in 'Legal' started by Dannix, Dec 21, 2009.

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  1. HeXeD775

    HeXeD775 Member

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    a few questions

    1. How much of this could be covered under your homeowners? I am pretty sure the clean up (body, blood, etc) will...when my dad's body was found there was a company that came out to do all that...it's what they do is mop up crime scenes & there were paid by the home policy (it was an HO3 type policy).

    How much of the lawyer/legal defense can be charged to HO policies in relation to shooting a BG during a home invasion? maybe I should call em? When I do I will post back.

    2. Should I acquaint myself w/ a lawyer, just in case? Am i gonna get charged for that acquaintance? How would that conversation even go? (Hi, I'm hexed775, I an a gun owner & licensed to carry innthe state, i posess no criminal record, I want you to rep me if I ever get involved in a defensive shooting...how would you want me to handle things @ when police arrive?)
     
  2. kingpin008

    kingpin008 Member

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    Matt - Being an attorney is not the only way to become knowledgeable regarding these sorts of events. Many members here have had hours of firearms and other tactial training from some of the best instructors in the world, who have imparted them with much important and relevant info - often from real-life experiences, both personal and on-the-job. Add to that the numerous current and retired police officers whose job it was to investigate these types of events, and you've got quite a broad range of qualified individuals.

    Seeing as how the mission of THR is to share as much knowledge as possible, I think we should allow anyone to chime in, and then decide for ourselves what to hold onto. Cool?
     
  3. MattTheHat

    MattTheHat Member

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    I would hope THR is here to share *accurate* information. When folks post opinions in direct conflict with legal advice from an attorney, I'm not sure how accurate or helpful that really is for any of us.

    But hey, knock yourself out.


    -Matt
     
  4. MattTheHat

    MattTheHat Member

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    For the record, I have been involved in exactly one SD shooting. A death did not result, and I flew by the seat of my pants. Out of total dumb luck, I took almost exactly the steps outlined by fiddletown. I was not taken into custody, I was not arrested, my weapons were not seized, and I can think of no possible way the situation could have turned out better. I didn't even have to leave the scene. When it was all said and done, I was told I was free to go.

    In my case, it was very apparent by the way the sheriff's department handled the call that I was okay to go ahead and make a statement. If a loss of life would have been involved, I would not have done so. As it was, to a man, the sheriff's officers all came right out and told me that I had a legal right to shoot.

    I hope I never again have to discharge a firearm out of self-defense. But if I do, I know what course of action I'll take when dealing with the police.

    Your mileage may vary.


    -Matt
     
  5. Frank Ettin

    Frank Ettin Moderator Staff Member

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    A lot depends on when, where, under what circumstances, for what purposes and to what extent you may be talking, or not talking with police.

    We've been discussing the situation in which you've used force in self defense. (My approach as outlined in post 17: limited statement; then invoke the right to remain silent; hold firm; and consult your lawyer.)

    Now if you have the very bad luck to someday be "a person of interest" (ETA in a matter in which you're not claiming self defense), whether or not justified, the best approach is to not say anything, at least without the active assistance of qualified legal counsel. That is your right and the correct time to fully insist on it.

    Remember that police (and many lawyers) can be very skilled at asking questions and tripping someone up. It's an art. One technique is asking essentially the same question in different ways to smoke out, or create, inconsistencies in your story. Another is to ask a question that could really be answered with a "yes" or "no" and then pausing before continuing; thus "inviting you to volunteer information beyond what is necessary to just answer the question. Periods of silence can encourage extemporaneous statements. Intentionally asking a question you probably won't know the answer to invites your guess, speculation or opinion -- any of which can come back to bite you.

    That's an excellent idea. And you'll want to preferably find someone who has experience successfully handling a self defense case.

    As mentioned earlier, pleading self defense is very different from the usual defense strategy in a criminal case. The usual criminal defense is basically "I wasn't there, I didn't do it, you can't prove that I did it." This essentially involves attacking the prosecution's evidence to create a reasonable doubt.

    But the defense of self defense is basically "I did it, but I was legally justified." That involves affirmatively introducing evidence to support your claim.

    Most good criminal defense lawyers are experienced and skilled with the usual defense strategy, but have very little, if any, experience putting on a self defense case.

    It can be tough to find the right kind of lawyer. If you know any LEOs, you could ask who the local police association/union uses to defend police officers in use of force matters. Another source for possible referral would be your local RKBA organizations. You could also consider the Armed Citizen's Legal Defense Network.

    Wouldn't be a bad idea -- see above.

    I'd suggest that if you find one or more possible lawyers, call and make a half hour appointment. Although various lawyers handle these "get acquainted" meetings differently, I would offer to pay his standard hourly rate for his time. He might waive the fee or offer a reduced "initial consultation" rate; but the offer conveys that you're serious. Paying him for his time also helps clearly establish the attorney-client relationship.

    Then introduce yourself and say exactly what you suggest. You might want to talk with him about his experience handling self defense cases (see above). You'll probably want to ask him about his fees and other charges (copying, computerized legal research, private investigator expenses, etc.). If he looks like someone you'd want to use, and if he is agreeable to representing you if the time comes, he will probably so indicate and provide you with contact information for emergency use.

    One clarification, please. While I am an attorney, I'm not any particular person's attorney. I'm really not offering specific legal advice on a current legal matter. I'm providing general information on legal matters. I know that all seems hyper-technical, but sometimes the technicalities are important. As they say, "The devil is in the details."
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2009
  6. Dannix

    Dannix Member

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    Great discussion -- thanks for the education. I wasn't expecting such a through and quick response. And somehow I'm a troll since I haven't posted since yesterday, thanks for the laugh! :)

    This is a good point I never really considered. Perhaps you could not say a word and things be self evident, like that old-timer HD situation, but other times not necessarily so.

    One follow up question -- say the HD situation took place on the 1st floor in the kitchen. Is the entire floor the "crime scene" and the police have blank-check access to it all, including your daughters room clear on the other end of the house? What about a second/third/etc. floor?
     
  7. kingmt

    kingmt Member

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    Matt
    I am not good at spelling but I don't see why that makes a difference in what we are talking about. Your comment makes as much as saying if you can't spell then you can't know how to butcher. Your stereo typing does help inforce what I am saying though. If your in court you the jury already thinks your guilty. If you open your mouth & tell the police your story & get to court & tell the same story but with different words & the prosecutor starts turning your words around then they make you look like your a liar.

    I don't remember the OP asking for lawyers only to give there input. Unless banned I think I will keep giving my opinion.

    I would also like to add that my post is only my opinion & to be taken as that only. I will not be representing anyone.


    HeXeD775
    That sounds like a great way to find a good lawyer.
    ________________

    I'm not saying not to never give a statement at trial but not until then.
     
  8. Lou McGopher

    Lou McGopher Member

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    From cops who have said it's not unusual for someone to point out a witness who they think will corroborate their story, only to have that witness, for whatever reason, give a statement that contradicts what you've said. By personally identifying them as a witness, you've just given them some credibility, even if they're lying or confused, or didn't witness everything you thought they did.

    As far as evidence... it will either be there when the cops arrive, or it won't. For all the reasons you mentioned about a person's perception being off, that is why you don't go around helping the police collect evidence. Evidence is part of the story. Save the story for later.
     
  9. Marty Hayes

    Marty Hayes Member

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  10. Teddyb

    Teddyb member

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    With all due respect I call this personal profiteering before I would call it helpful. Telling the responding officers that you are invoking your 5th Amendment Right is much less expensive than enrollment fees into your organization. That however is just my opinion unless you provide a clean up crew and trauma counseling as well. I will give credit were credit is due, you did say that you are NOT an attorney.
     
  11. kingpin008

    kingpin008 Member

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    So you're saying that Massad Ayoob, who has had years of real-life experience as a police officer and firearms instructor, and who has been called to testify as an expert witness in hundreds of self-defense court cases is providing inaccurate information? I *seriously* doubt that.

    And he's not the only one. As mentioned, there are many, many firearms instructors and tactical training professionals whose life work is readying people for just this sort of event. Do you think that every one of them pulls their info out of their butts? Not likely. The fact that an individual is an attorney does not make them an all-knowing oracle surpassing all others in the realm of legal knowledge.
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2009
  12. Kleanbore

    Kleanbore Moderator Staff Member

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    I discussed the cost comparison earlier. The enrollment fee is $85.00. If you invoke your Fifth Amendment right too soon and are charged, your defense will cost you thousands. If you are convicted...well, you figure it out.
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2009
  13. Kleanbore

    Kleanbore Moderator Staff Member

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    Kingpin, if you read MattTheHat's previous post, I think you will conclude that he was referring to Fiddletown's advice, which is the same as Ayoob's.

    I imagine you thought he was referring to the law professor, whose advice was not relevant here.

    You can bet your bottom dollar that the advice of Massad Ayoob, Marty Hayes, and Kathy Jackson have been vetted by criminal defense attorneys before publication.

    By the way, law firms regularly send people to Massad Ayoob's LFI-1, and many recommend it.
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2009
  14. Kleanbore

    Kleanbore Moderator Staff Member

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    I made the comment earlier that in the case of a home invasion, things might be more straight forward for the defender.

    That would be true in a jurisdiction with a castle doctrine in the law.

    In most such states you are correct in your use of the term "presumed." It is presumed that someone who has entered your home unlawfully presents an imminent danger (forcible or "tumultuous" entry may be required). However, that presumption is rebuttable, and if the facts should indicate that he was not there to attack you you can end up on the wrong side of the courtroom.

    You are correct though, in that most of the discussion in this thread has had to do with a shooting outdoors or in a mall, etc. When that happens, there may be no obvious indication that the shooter was the defender and not a criminal, and he is going to have to present evidence that he was an intended victim and that he acted lawfully to avoid being charged and convicted.
     
  15. Kleanbore

    Kleanbore Moderator Staff Member

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    That's not the question at all. The question is whether the police will recognize it as evidence and secure it before it disappears. A 9MM case in gravel or under a parked car may not be seen, and it may go away in a boot tread.

    On second thought, maybe it could be the question. If the assailant's weapon has been taken by an accomplice who is departing the scene, it will not be there when the police seal off the area. By "invoking your fifth amendment rights" too soon, you can make it less likely that said evidence would ever be secured.

    Without it, your attorney may have little to work with in presenting your case.
     
  16. Teddyb

    Teddyb member

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    I am glad to see that your imagination has been stirred into operation. Now permit me to add some reality to your WHAT IF scenario. When you pull that trigger you set in motion a chain of events that you no longer are in control of. Think about that for a minute!

    That is true if you are a private citizen, a police and/or peace officer or a member of the military as we have seen on the news lately. Initially, you are not going to really remember what has just happened and then your brain is going to run 100 miles an hour to try and catch up. There is going to be screaming, yelling and absolute chaos and panic. Having experienced this a few times, my advise is to just shut up until your senses calm down and you have time for your brain to process what has happened.
     
  17. Frank Ettin

    Frank Ettin Moderator Staff Member

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    Marty, thanks for the link. It's a good article.

    You or someone in your family has called the police to report that someone hs been shot in your home. The police arrive, and there you are in the living room with the dead body of a person. You are visibly shaken. There is a gun on the floor. It has recently been fired. You're not saying anything.

    Now if there are some strong reasons to believe you acted in self defense, as described in post 44, you may still be alright. But there might not be. In that case, the police will have probable cause to believe that you had just committed a crime, probably manslaughter. Accordingly you will be arrested, taken to jail, fingerprinted and your hands and clothes will probably be tested for gun shot residue (GSR).

    A search of the crime scene discloses additional guns, a supply of ammunition similar to that found in the gun fired at the scene and perhaps a receipt in your name documenting the purchase, some years ago of the "crime gun." In addition, the tests of your hands and clothing are positive for GSR. Ballistic tests have confirmed that the gun recovered at the scene, at your feet, was the gun that fired the fatal bullets.

    With just that, the prosecutor probably has a good chance to convince a jury that you shot the "victim" to death in your living room. That's all he has to prove, that you committed the act, to get a manslaughter conviction. He does not have to prove that you were not justified.

    That is the prosecutor would only have to prove you weren't justified if you have, in your defense, made a prima facie case that you were justified. You will have to tell your story. And you will have to put on evidence supporting your story.

    How difficult it will be for the prosecutor to successfully attack your self defense claim will in part depend on how convincing your story is, at the late date of your trial, and how strong the evidence supporting your story is. Things that could, in the minds of your jurors, damage your credibility will be bad for you (and things that enhance your credibility will be good for you). Evidence not discovered at the scene, like the dead guy's knife that fell down the heater grate -- which you saw, but the police missed -- could hurt you. Witnesses missed at the scene, like the guy you noticed walking by you house who might have seen the dead guy pick the lock of your front door, could hurt you.

    It would be supportive of your claim of self defense if you said at the scene, (1) that person attacked me; (2) I'll sign a complaint; (3) that is evidence; (4) those people are witnesses; (5) I'm not going to say anything more now, but I'll cooperate in 24 hours after I've talked with my lawyer. But "I stand on my 5th Amendment rights" doesn't do a thing to help your self defense claim.

    The cost of your defense, through a jury trial, could easily be in the neighborhood of $25,000 to $75,000.

    Mas, Marty and Kathy are some experts in this area. I've taken Mas' class and strongly recommend that anyone who is considering having a gun for self defense do so, if he or she possibly can.

    Pretty much. Remember that the police will have no knowledge of what happened or where evidence may be. Any investigation, especially at its beginning, will entail going up many blind alleys. But one usually has to make those detours if only to confirm that there's nothing of interest there.
     
  18. Marty Hayes

    Marty Hayes Member

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    Teddy, why the hostility? We are just professionals exchanging ideas. No need to get rude.

    You, (and others) might be interested to know that the Armed Citizens' Legal Defense Network, LLC. expects to kick off a series of continuing legal education training seminars for attorneys next year. You see, law school doesn't prepare an attorney to understand the nuances of self-defense incidents or the legal arguments needed to successfully defend a self-defense prosecution. I should know, because I just graduated from law school 2 1/2 years ago. In fact, we had all of 90 minutes in my law school experience dealing with the concept of self-defense. Scary isn't it?
     
  19. Teddyb

    Teddyb member

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    I remain respectfully in total disagreement with you from my position of behind a badge for well over 20 years with my boots on the ground experience.

    Regards and please don't quote me in any of your future opinion dissertations.

    Thank You.
     
  20. Teddyb

    Teddyb member

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    Not being rude in any manner sir. I just gave an honest assessment of your posturing in my humble opinion. I see you profiteering and fishing for business. Besides all the readers are not professionals as you like to affirm yourself as. They are just ordinary people exchanging opinionated commentary. No need to be passing out business cards.
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2009
  21. Frank Ettin

    Frank Ettin Moderator Staff Member

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    And please don't tell me what to do. I will quote you if it suits my purposes and is within the rules of this board to do so.
     
  22. Kleanbore

    Kleanbore Moderator Staff Member

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    I think about that and about not drawing quickly enough, getting charged, and hitting an innocent party.

    .
    That's very good advice indeed, provided that you first follow, to the extent possible, the published advice of the several recognized experts as it applies to self defense shootings as related by Fiddletown and in the references I have provided. That advice is the same as the advice of my attorney, and the advice of a couple of senior police officers I know. I'll choose theirs. You do as you please.

    The thread has largely departed from a shooting inside the home, but lets; consider a shooting in a parking lot. So--you have pulled that trigger and set in motion that chain of events. That you have done so will not be in question, and proving it will be a slam dunk for a prosecutor.

    So it's now up to you to present evidence to the effect that you were in imminent danger, that shooting was immediately necessary, and that you used no more force than was necessary. Absent that, your internet days are over.

    So, you say in court that the man you shot approached you, pulled a gun and fired at you. He missed, you had to fire back to defend yourself, and his accomplice grabbed the gun and ran to his car and drove away.

    The prosecuting attorney asks the investigators if there were any ejected cases at the scene--they didn't find any. Was there a gun--none found. Did the policemen encounter any witnesses to corroborate the story--they all now say they didn't see what happened or hear any gunfire. Did anyone see and stop a car meeting that description in the area of the shooting at the time--no, we didn't know anything about it. And so on.

    The man you shot has fired a gun recently. Says he did it in his yard. Says he didn't have a gun at the scene and that you shot him in cold blood.

    The forensic evidence proves that you shot him with your gun and that the distance is indeterminate.

    How will you defend yourself against a charge that you shot the man unlawfully?

    Think about that for a minute.
     
  23. Teddyb

    Teddyb member

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    No need to even think about it for a second. Like I said, when you pull that trigger you set off a chain of events that you are no longer in control off, regardless who you are or where you are. What lead up to it will be all that matters.
     
  24. Teddyb

    Teddyb member

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    Your gracious cooperation is greatly appreciated.
     
  25. Frank Ettin

    Frank Ettin Moderator Staff Member

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    Actually, how one handles the aftermath also matters. And although events and the actions of others may be outside one's control, one always has the option to maintain control of himself and how he conducts himself.
     
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