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Discussion: What to Do after a Self Defense Encounter

Discussion in 'Strategies, Tactics and Training' started by Kleanbore, Apr 24, 2011.

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  1. Kleanbore

    Kleanbore Moderator

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    From time to time, a number of people have referred to a video of a well known law professor explaining the reasons for not saying anything to the police when questioned in the course of a possible criminal investigation.

    For most types of investigations, that advice is quite appropriate. However, due to the very nature of a defense of justification, which differs from most criminal defense cases, following that advice verbatim can prove detrimental to one who has had to employ deadly force to defend his or herself or others. Taking a somewhat different approach is recommended by knowledgeable experts.

    Because this subject comes up time after time, we have embodied one of the best explanations from prior threads and placed it as a Sticky within the S T & T Library Sticky for future reference. For the time being a duplicate thread will be left 'stuck' on the main page as well, to make it easier to find.

    Thanks to fiddletown for his perseverance in prior discussions and for taking the time to prepare this excellent material, and to our member Massad Ayoob for his valued work in this area.
     
  2. TYFOOON

    TYFOOON Member

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    1. Write yourself a letter now that states (and documents) any training or certifications with firearms you hold. Leave the sealed letter in your safe. Prior knowledge is great evidence and admissable in court.

    2. You should have an attorney on retainer if you live in a high risk area. If you don't, that's fine but either way. When there is a shooting. You say NOTHING NOTHING NOTHING to the police. What you do say is that you are under shock and stress at this time. You TELL THEM, DON't ASK, that you will go home and contact them tomorrow with your attorney. Unless they arrest you, you stick to this. PERIOD.

    3. You SAY NOTHING TO THE COPS. You let your lawyer say everything.
     
  3. Kleanbore

    Kleanbore Moderator

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    It is the continued propagation of that general advice, and the continued recommendation that those who require a defense of justification follow that advice verbatim, which could contribute to the loss of their case, that has led us to post the Sticky.
     
  4. mljdeckard

    mljdeckard Member

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    It's not that it's a bad idea to say things to point out witnesses, evidence, "I will be happy to speak to you after speaking to my attorney", I will sign a complaint, etc, my main concern is that most people won't STOP after saying these things. They will be excited and relieved that they are ok, they will start buddying up to the cop, telling the whole story, answering questions, etc. THAT'S why I would advise most people to just shut up, they are likely to do more harm than good.
     
  5. TYFOOON

    TYFOOON Member

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    +1 TO that.

    Better stated than what I said but also correct. People are prone to getting to talking. And you will probably be recorded....Better to just shut up, be very polite but stick to your resolve.
     
  6. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    So we accept that clamming up isn't the best thing that can be done, but it might be the best thing some people are capable of?

    We do tend here to look beyond a minimum sufficient answer and try to discern the best possible response to a given problem.

    Hence, you can shut the heck up. That might keep you from saying something wrong which could hurt your affirmative defense. But your affirmative defense is not assumed. It does not establish itself (generally). So shutting up might also seriously hurt you in certain circumstances, if it denies you the chance to establish facts critical to your defense.

    So, perhaps it comes down to knowing yourself and preparing yourself to do the better thing rather than the presumed safer thing. If you know that you babble under stress, maybe you need to wear a Med-Alert bracelet that says, "Just Shut UP!" If you are more in command of yourself than that, and have studied the subject and know what the very limited list of appropriate things are to say to responding officers, go ahead and do so.
     
  7. Frank Ettin

    Frank Ettin Moderator

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    A better idea is to to mail it to yourself certified mail, and keep it sealed upon receipt. That way you conclusively establish that the letter was written before the postmark date.

    Yes, that certainly can be a problem. I know from experience preparing witnesses for deposition and testifying that folks have great difficulty controlling their mouths.

    But that's a lot of what training and preparation is all about. We train, think and prepare so that we can overcome our "natural" tendencies, and instead handle a stressful and hazardous activity in the best, most effective, but not necessarily the most natural, way.
     
  8. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

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    I fully agree with what fiddletown has put forth and think it is solid advice.

    As far as being able to limit what you say...that is the purpose of the thread. Folks can read it and prepare themselves for the possible occurrence. If you are caught unprepared, you are indeed subject to failure through the release of emotional stress.

    You have to remember that self defense is an affirmative defense, that means that you have to first admit to the action alleged. I evidence or witnesses, in your favor, are missed/overlooked, because you don't speak up, it could very well be lost forever.

    Not being prepared for the aftermath of a use of deadly force incident is as bad as not being familiar with a weapon you plan to use in such an incident
     
  9. baylorattorney

    baylorattorney Member

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    Act natural, don't freak out. You were in imminent fear for your life or a loved ones. You had no choice. It was bad guy or you? You were in imminent fear for your life or a loved one, you had no choice, it was ... Repeat if necessary. That is all
     
  10. WaltonS

    WaltonS Member

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    In my experience? Phone the police. Smoke heavily. Explain the events that unfolded as calmly and accurately as you can manage. Continue smoking.
     
  11. Grey_Mana

    Grey_Mana Member

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    If you live where the police, DA and judges are honorable, reasonable adults who don't wet themselves at the idea of self-defense, early communication might prevent misunderstandings.

    If you live somewhere that would prefer the convenience of you dying at the hands of a criminal to the paperwork caused by you defending yourself, or somewhere that believes that imprisoning law abiding citizens is more important than imprisoning violent criminals, then you probably don't want to talk to the police.
     
  12. Frank Ettin

    Frank Ettin Moderator

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    First, it's of course not a question of where you live, but rather where the event takes place. Second, it's probably best not to entirely rely on your assessment of the attitudes of various official who might be involved down the line, since you might not know them as well as you think you do.

    For example, there's the case of Larry Hickey. In gun friendly Arizona he fired his gun in what he thought was justified self defense. He was arrested, spent 71 days in jail, went through two different trials ending in hung juries, was forced to move from his house, etc., before the DA decided Mr. Hickey was indeed justified and dismissed the charges.
     
  13. Shawn Dodson

    Shawn Dodson Member

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  14. GRIZ22

    GRIZ22 Member

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    You TELL THEM, DON't ASK, that you will go home and contact them tomorrow with your attorney. Unless they arrest you, you stick to this. PERIOD.

    3. You SAY NOTHING TO THE COPS. You let your lawyer say everything


    Okay if you say nothing unless they arrest you what do you say if they arrest you?

    a number of people have referred to a video of a well known law professor explaining the reasons for not saying anything to the police when questioned in the course of a possible criminal investigation.


    This video is a lot of what ifs. He really doesn't give concrete examples of an innocent person actullay incriminating himself by saying something to the police.

    If you can train to shoot well you can train your mouth with what to say and not say.

    Your lawyer can't testify you told him something that makes him a witness and he can't represent you as an attorney.

    If you take a scenario where there are no witnesses, the police arrive, you're standing there with the smoking gun, you say nothing, I think there would be a good likelihood you'll be convicted of at least manslaughter.

    If you say "he tried to kill me", "I didn't want to shoot him but he kept coming at me, I shot when he was close" you at least give your lawyer something to base a defense on.

    PS Shawn good article. People should be posting that instead of that "don't talk to the police" video.
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2011
  15. daorhgih

    daorhgih member

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    "... you do not have ... '

    Same problem. Is it just me?? Thanks. Dao.
     
  16. Lord Teapot

    Lord Teapot Member

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    my concealed carry instructor explained this very simply: call the police, when they arrive say 3 things:


    1) he was trying to kill me
    2) i shot him, i thought i was going to die
    3) i need a doctor
    4) DONT say i need a lawyer, makes you sound guilty, say doctor.

    that was his advice, makes sense to me.
     
  17. Frank Ettin

    Frank Ettin Moderator

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    Nonsense.

    [1] If you're not sick or injured and don't really need a doctor, don't ask for one. It makes you into a liar and damages your credibility. Once caught in a lie, everything you then say is suspect. But if you are claiming self defense, it is vital to your interests that people believe you. DO NOT lie.

    [2] You've committed an act of extreme violence on another human. You may claim you were justified, but you will ultimately admit to having committed the act of violence. Your actions will be investigated by the police. It is perfectly natural to want a lawyer.

    [3] For details, go back and read the Sticky this thread is about.
     
  18. Bartholomew Roberts

    Bartholomew Roberts Moderator Emeritus

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    And it is worth noting that several of the problems that would later cause trouble for Mr. Hickey were a result of his decision to follow the "Don't say anything" advice so often given. As a result of hs silence, his attackers got to frame the debate and the investigators weren't aware of some of the exculpatory evidence. Everybody who carries a gun should read that article - it has a tremendous amount of valuable info.
     
  19. xfyrfiter

    xfyrfiter Member

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    can't access the sticky, not permitted to .
     
  20. Fred Fuller

    Fred Fuller Moderator Emeritus

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  21. MikeNice

    MikeNice Member

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    In my experience talking is the best bet to an extent. Tell them what you would need to so that you can file a complaint against the other guy for his actions. By doing this you establish that there was in deed an incident that justified some form of action. Focus mainly on the other person's actions and limit yourself to things that are factual. Don't assume or try to fill in any gaps in your memory.

    Sometimes it will take a little while to think clearly. The cops know this. So, they will wait to hear your side in more detail if you cooperate early.

    That is just my personal experience. Your milage may very. I am not a lawyer and my advice should not be construed as coming from a lawyer or officer of the court.
     
  22. mljdeckard

    mljdeckard Member

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    Teapot, you absolutely DO NOT want to say; "I shot him."
     
  23. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    How could that possibly be a problem? If you are going to claim self-defense, the first step is to declare that you did deliberately shoot the attacker. You can't possibly claim to not know what happened. You can't say it was an accident. You are confessing the act and building the basis of what will be the justification for your affirmative defense.

    "He attacked me, with that gun/knife/brickbat right there. I shot him. I was certain he would kill me if I didn't shoot right then. I will sign a complaint (if he's still alive) and I want to cooperate with you in every way, but I don't want to answer any more questions at the moment. I would like to speak to my attorney. I will be happy to answer questions tomorrow once my attorney is present."

    Something like that.
     
  24. infuriatednoodle

    infuriatednoodle Member

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    +1 to GRIZ22. It is very true that there are a lot of what if's in these discussions, every situation is unique. Yes, it could be in your best interest to shut up and not say a word, but that could also be detrimental. I believe Sam1911 hit the nail on the head as far as a general statement to tell the police.
     
  25. mljdeckard

    mljdeckard Member

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    If it is obvious, there is no need to state out loud that you did it. Other things you might say, like; "I will sign a complaint", "I was in fear for my life", etc work to establish your innocence. Saying you killed someone is at best neutral, and does not affirm self-defense.

    This is why I go back to telling people, there are some things you can say that will help you, but realize that the detective is going to try to engage you in conversation and make you say more things that may NOT help you. I really think most people would be better off not saying anything at all.
     
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