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Gerald Ung, Not Guilty in Philadelphia

Discussion in 'Legal' started by unloved, Feb 16, 2011.

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  1. unloved

    unloved Member

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    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.
    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.:eek:
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2011
  2. hirundo82

    hirundo82 Member

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    Great news! Now hopefully you guys in PA can use this to help get castle doctrine and civil immunity passed.
     
  3. Bubbles

    Bubbles Member

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    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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  4. bluesteel63

    bluesteel63 Member

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    very interesting. Prosecutors will stop at nothing just to win a case.
     
  5. kingpin008

    kingpin008 Member

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    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.
     
  6. Buck Snort

    Buck Snort Member

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    I watched the video and based on that I sent the man a donation, I encourage everybody else to do so. ;)
     
  7. hermannr

    hermannr Member

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    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.
     
  8. henschman

    henschman Member

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    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.
     
  9. 52grain

    52grain Member

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    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.

    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.
     
  10. cleardiddion

    cleardiddion Member

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    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.
     
  11. wildbilll

    wildbilll Member

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    I find it amazing that when the gun displayed the weapon, some idiot decided to rush him. I guess it's a Darwinian thing.
     
  12. mbruce

    mbruce Member

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    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?
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2011
  13. kingpin008

    kingpin008 Member

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    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.
     
  14. mbruce

    mbruce Member

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    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?
     
  15. kingpin008

    kingpin008 Member

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    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.

    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.
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2011
  16. mbruce

    mbruce Member

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    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.
     
  17. kingpin008

    kingpin008 Member

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    What posts are you referring to?

    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.

    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.

    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?

    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.

    On this, we can agree 100%. :)
     
  18. Girodin

    Girodin Member

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    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.

    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".

    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.
     
  19. mbruce

    mbruce Member

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    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...
     
  20. Girodin

    Girodin Member

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    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.
     
  21. Bonesinium

    Bonesinium Member

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    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.
     
  22. Shadow 7D

    Shadow 7D Member

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    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.
     
  23. Girodin

    Girodin Member

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    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.

    In most cases I would think somewhere far on the other side of being pushed.
     
  24. Shadow 7D

    Shadow 7D Member

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    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)
     
  25. mbruce

    mbruce Member

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    I guess you and I are the only ones that feel this way...
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2011
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