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We are starting to get a play by play of a murder trial where the defendant claims self defense

Discussion in 'Strategies, Tactics and Training' started by Jeff White, Apr 9, 2019.

  1. Jeff White

    Jeff White Moderator Staff Member

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    A year ago a fight in a bar in St Louis ended with one man dead. The shooter is claiming self defense under Missouri’s Stand Your Ground Law. The trial started this week and the details are starting to come out. The defendant is represented by one of the top criminal defense attorneys in the area. I don’t think Scott Rosenblum would try this defense if he didn’t think he could sell it to the jury.

    Right now it’s the prosecution’s turn and it doesn’t look good for the defendant.

    It’s going to be interesting to see how the defense counters this narrative.
     

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    Last edited: Apr 15, 2019
  2. bob97

    bob97 Member

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    I dont know Missouri law. Be interesting to see how it goes. I would think it would take more than a punch from an unarmed man to justify killing in self defense. Texas says it is justified in case of attack on head throat or spine, i think.

    290 lb german shepherd? Not worth fighting over someone’s BS story in any case.
     
  3. Trunk Monkey

    Trunk Monkey Member

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    I'm curious to see what they make of the defendant drinking while carrying a gun.
     
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  4. Rifleman173

    Rifleman173 Member

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    Question: If the defendant was in the bar with a gun, is it illegal in the first place to even be armed there? Or is it legal only if he has NOT been drinking alcoholic beverages? Just curious...
     
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  5. Sistema1927

    Sistema1927 Member

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    We just had a case where a convicted felon tried to claim self-defense when he shot a killed the police officer who was trying to arrest him. The jury saw through this ploy, and convicted him of murder. Automatic life without parole in addition to the 40 years in club fed for which he has already been sentenced.
     
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  6. Jeff White

    Jeff White Moderator Staff Member

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    Well I guess we will never know what the jury thought. The deadlocked and the defendant plead guilty to a reduced charge:

    https://www.stltoday.com/news/local...-7fcd-514d-9a32-860ad396a468.html?mode=nowapp

    I guess he wasn’t willing to chance another trial.
     
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  7. psyopspec

    psyopspec Member

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    It is legal to carry a gun in a bar in MO. It is legal to drink. It is not legal to carry while intoxicated.
     
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  8. Spats McGee

    Spats McGee Moderator

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    Dang. I was hoping to see how that played out. The whole issue of 'an afternoon of drinking,' as the article puts it calls into question the reasonbleness of, well, pretty much any of the defendant's thoughts and beliefs about the situation at hand.
     
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  9. old lady new shooter

    old lady new shooter Member

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    Unarmed, but 12 years younger and over 300 lbs.
    OTOH the drinking puts a lot of weight on the other side of the scale.

    I see the case was resolved before I ever got to this thread. I guess five years gives him plenty of opportunity to think about his actions.
     
  10. psyopspec

    psyopspec Member

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    If nothing else, this reinforces the notion of not going to stupid places to do stupid things with stupid people. That's the overriding strategic lesson IMO.
     
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  11. BLB68

    BLB68 Member

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    I don't know MO law, but in general you can't provoke a fight then shoot the other guy. I mean, you can, but you can't claim self defense.
     
  12. Sistema1927

    Sistema1927 Member

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    And don't forget stupid times. As my Mom used to say, nothing good happens after midnight.
     
  13. NWPilgrim

    NWPilgrim Member

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    Seems to me he was guilty of murder because he taunted the other guy. I don’t see how he can claim he was deathly afraid of someone’s size and strength when he deliberately taunted him. Might hold water if he kept his mouth shut and the attack was unprovoked. Or if the attacker had landed blows already. But to taunt and be ready to shoot seems like murder.
     
  14. Trunk Monkey

    Trunk Monkey Member

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    You did see how it played out
     
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  15. Fine Figure of a Man

    Fine Figure of a Man Member

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    I generally reject Darwinism but...
     
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  16. luzyfuerza

    luzyfuerza Member

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    The defense attorney's self-defense trial strategy appears to have reached its objective: achieve a reduced charge and shorter sentence for the offender. It was risky ("man killed following a drunken argument about dogs" had to have been a tough narrative to overcome) but it worked in this case. In our legal system, a trial defense only has to reach one juror...

    We often think that guilt or innocence determinations are binary. Not so here.
     
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  17. Spats McGee

    Spats McGee Moderator

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    Fair enough, but I would have enjoyed seeing how the attorneys had to argue impairment vs. reasonableness in front of a jury in a self-defense/shooting context.
     
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  18. 40-82

    40-82 Member

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    I would not like to be seen holding a glass of wine I didn't sip from before an incident involving self-defense. We all know the assumptions that would bring.

    Nevertheless, I think it's important to remember that even considerable inebriation shouldn't bring with it the assumption that the person acted wrongly. A person has the right to be judged on what he actually did as opposed to our perceptions of his capacity at the moment of the incident.

    Many self-defense incidents are clear cut: an unprovoked attack, and a successful counter. Whether the person has generally good judgment, whether we think he was a model citizen, or how much he had to drink, are, taken together, information that shouldn't be considered.

    I'd go further: if a prosecutor relied too much on the bad character of the defendant and what he might have had to drink rather than the actual provable facts of the case, it would tend to raise my suspicions that he had a weak case rather than incite righteous indignation.
     
  19. Fine Figure of a Man

    Fine Figure of a Man Member

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    While I don't disagree, you also have to act responsibly if you expect to be judged favorably.
    If you are drunk, in a bar, in the afternoon, arguing about fat dogs with other drunks and you shoot and kill someone, you are going to prison.
     
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  20. 40-82

    40-82 Member

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    From what little I know about this case, it does seem like this person reaped what he sowed. I'm just suggesting that being drunk and arguing about dogs is within a person's rights. You'll always have the right to do things good judgment suggests you shouldn't and that shouldn't be forgotten.

    Nevertheless, bottom line, regardless of theoretical rights, you are correct. I doubt we disagree at all.

    To say, "I have this right," doesn't necessarily mean following it to the extremes is going to end well.
     
  21. boom boom
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    boom boom Contributing Member

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    Unfortunately, our criminal justice system has to deal with the mess of two individuals making stupid choices that resulted in the death of one person and the incarceration of the other.

    One person stupidly thought that their size and strength would suffice to teach the guy with the smart mouth a lesson. He died trying to give that lesson resulting in the loss of a parent and spouse for his family. The other, stupidly thought that after provoking someone in a bar through insults and physical contact was wise. Then, despite the other guy's attempts to peaceably resolve their verbal conflict and retreat, the shooter rejected the opportunity to bury the hatchet and then proceeded to provoke an attack where the risk was that he would be severely beaten. He wrote checks that his body could not cash in other words. His response was to shoot the onrushing attacker after provoking a renewed fight. His life will now be ruined for the foreseeable future with prison and probably he will learn that size and strength do matter in a prison setting and he will have no firearm to ward off assaults due to his insults.

    You can see what a certain someone said, "Blessed be the peacemakers."
     
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  22. boom boom
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    boom boom Contributing Member

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    Spats, please correct me if I am wrong,

    In general, I believed that voluntary impairment such as drug or alcohol by the defendant and/or the attacker was suitable to mitigate the sentence received but not allowed as a factor in the calculus of a "reasonable" objective actions that were justified. After all, does the actions of an LSD taking defendant shooting someone in the elevator become "reasonable" to the objective societal std. if the LSD taker thought a person was Marvin the Martian with a raygun pointing at them. Or would you use that argument to debunk an element of the charge such as knowingly or carelessly committing a homicide if the LSD taker was charged with the old 2nd Degree murder without the lesser and included charge of manslaughter.
     
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  23. Spats McGee

    Spats McGee Moderator

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    To be honest, I don't know enough about MO law to really answer that one. I think your assessment is spot on, but you know how juries can be. Just because the law says "you can't take X into account" doesn't mean one side won't ring that bell, and it doesn't really mean the jury won't consider it.
     
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