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What to do after a self defense shooting if you are poor?

Discussion in 'Strategies, Tactics, and Training' started by Bazoo, Nov 3, 2022.

  1. coloradokevin

    coloradokevin Member

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    The police are not your enemy, either. Virtually all of us in LE are in favor of the good guy who prevails over the bad guy. Yes, we collect evidence to determine whether or not a crime has occurred, but in a justifiable shooting the evidence tends to be there to show us that a crime has NOT occurred.

    Saying nothing at all is quite likely to get your arrested, because saying nothing gives the police no information to go on other than the fact that you shot someone and they don't know why. Now, having a lawyer present during a detailed interview could be prudent for the reasons I mentioned in my other post, but you can still rarely go wrong by giving a quick statement explaining that you shot the person in self defense because ABC or XYZ.

    Remember, the police are arriving with limited facts. As soon as the scene is secure from a tactical perspective, the next thing you'll probably hear is: "So, what happened here?" Consider these three possible answers, two of which are reasonable in my opinion (and I've experienced all three on justifiable shoots):

    1) "I don't talk to the police. Call my lawyer" (went to the jail in handcuffs because literally all we knew was that he had just killed someone - later interviewed with a lawyer and cleared without ending up in court. But, spent more time in a holding cell than he ever needed to).

    2) "I was walking my dog and this guy approached me from behind and said 'give me your wallet or I'll shoot you', as I turned and shined my flashlight at him I saw him raising a gun at me and I shot him before he could shoot me" (subject was briefly detained on-scene while we corroborated his story with the facts we could determine at the time).

    3) "That guy had a gun and tried to kill me. I shot him. But, I hope you understand that I really think I should talk to my lawyer before I say more" (he was given a ride to HQ for an interview after he obtained legal representation - never charged). '

    The only thing I'm really trying to emphasize here is that you shouldn't consider the police to be your adversary unless you yourself are the violent criminal.
     
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  2. Bazoo

    Bazoo Member

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    I appreciate your comment. First I appreciate your perspective as a policeman. That is very helpful.

    I have resolved to not use my weapon except the direst of circumstances, in which case I would be in fear of my life or my immediate family.
     
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  3. coloradokevin

    coloradokevin Member

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    I already replied twice to this thread, but allow me to add some color to this: my wife carries, she does not have insurance. My brother in law and father in law carry, and neither of them have insurance. My uncles carry, and they don't have insurance. I carry, and don't have insurance, though I do admittedly have representation available through my union if I'm in a shooting.

    If you're in a shooting and you feel like you need a lawyer, you can always call one with or without insurance. If you're in a situation that is that bad, thank your lucky stars that you're alive, and get a loan for the lawyer if you need it. I suggest you cross that bridge when you come to it. If you're smart and doing what you're supposed to do, it will probably never come to that point. Conversely, if you don't carry and find yourself in a situation where you would have been forced to shoot if you were carrying, it probably means that you're dead, and none of the above matters any longer.
     
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  4. JohnKSa

    JohnKSa Administrator Staff Member

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    There is absolutely no way to answer this question meaningfully. If you had a fullblown scenario and could provide all the details and the information about the prosecutions in your area and the law where you are then it might be possible for someone to spend a lot of time and maybe come back with a reasonable estimate. What you're asking for is a guess based on nothing at all. There can't be an useful answer.
    I gave you an idealized scenario of clear cut self-defense. It took place in the defender's own home, the person was badly injured and had a completely clear criminal record, couldn't be expected to physically resist the attack, the criminals clearly broke in, had long felony records, there were multiple attackers, all armed, there was no hint that the defender was looking for trouble, etc., etc.

    If you start changing the circumstances, then things become less and less clear cut. Take it out of your house and maybe there's the possibility of asking why you were there in the first place or why you didn't just run away. Make it one unarmed attacker and you a physically capable adult male, that opens the question of why you didn't just resist physically. Make the attackers kids with no prior criminal records it gets more complicated. Throw in some stupid from the legal system in your area (see THIS thread) and who knows what could happen.

    Self-defense is there as an absolute last resort. That's how it's set up in the legal system, and that's how it's going to be viewed by the system and those who operate it. Generally speaking, the system is going to want to make sure that it really was an absolute last resort, of course taking account any special legal protections that the region may have provided to provide additional protection to self-defenders (Stand Your Ground, Castle Doctrine, etc.). In some places, you MUST be arrested after shooting someone, there MUST be an investigation. The investigation is NOT going to be an attempt to prove that you are innocent, that's not how the legal system works. I'm not saying that cops are out to get you or the legal system is there to persecute you, but the bottom line is that the legal system isn't set up to go around proving people innocent. It's there to either prove that someone is guilty or fail in the attempt. Failing could mean an acquittal, it could be a failure to indict, it could be that it's not possible to make a case against the person based on the available evidence.

    What you are doing, what we ALL are doing when we choose to carry a firearm in self-defense is to play the odds. We've decided that we want the means to protect ourselves if worse comes to absolute worst. But that choice comes with a risk of being found guilty of a crime in a situation that we believe is self-defense. There are ways to mitigate that risk, but there is no way to eliminate it. You believe that one of the means available to mitigate the risk is not available to you. That means you will either have to bear the risk, come up with some other method that you think mitigates the risk, or decide not to carry.

    There simply are no magic words, or magic spell, or special knowledge that will guarantee that you will skate out of a self-defense situation without needing legal counsel.

    There's a ton of information on this forum and from other sources on things a person can do to try to shade things in their favor or things a person shouldn't do that might stack the odds against them. That kind of discussion tends to infuriate those who think that it's always black or white, that it's always clear cut self-defense or else it's obviously murder and so often those discussions bog down in back-and-forth between two camps who are going into the discussion with fundamentally different assumptions and significantly disparate views of how the world (and the legal system) actually works.

    But putting it all down into one place would be like writing a book (which has been done, by the way). It is a very complicated subject.

    If you want a simple answer, here are some. This is not an ordered list and it is not a cohesive strategy, it is a list of things that could make it less likely a self-defense case would be prosecuted.

    • Don't carry outside your home. There are generally legal protections for self-defenders inside their home that make it much harder for the state to make a case against a defender. Outside the home, there are questions that can be raised that are either easily answered or aren't asked at all if the defender is in their own home.
    • Use your firearm only as an absolute last resort. By this, I mean, you want it to be immediately and blatantly obvious to everyone who witnessed the scene, looks at the evidence in the aftermath, or talks to any witness, that by the time the gun was fired all other options were off the table. Ideally this would mean that an innocent person was actually badly injured before shots were fired. You realize that I'm not saying to wait until someone gets hurt really bad before you shoot, I'm just saying that someone being hurt badly would make the case much more clear cut. Then there's no question at all about whether the attacker had means/motive/opportunity because they demonstrated all of those factors for everyone to see.
    • Consider the idea that minor circumstances may seem minor but that taken together they can either strengthen or weaken a case of self-defense. A person defending their home with a lever action deer rifle is going to be viewed differently from someone who shoots another person in the parking lot of a bar at 2AM using a black plastic semi-auto pistol with a mag that sticks out 6" below the grip. That's true even if both of them have equally valid claims to self-defense. A person who looks like your average joe is going to make a very different first impression than a guy with neck tattoos and non-organically colored hair. Someone wearing a T-Shirt that says "Kill them all and let God sort them out" will be treated differently than someone who looks like they are stopping by the grocery on the way home from the office.
    The general idea is that you want to think about self-defense scenarios that you might find yourself in from the perspective of the legal system and you will want to think about what possible questions might arise. Then you want all those questions to have extremely obvious answers that all make it clear that the situation was self-defense. This idea of thinking about things from another perspective is nearly impossible for some people. Other people can do it but choose not to because the idea of it makes them angry.

    Here's an incomplete list of questions that might be asked. In these the "person" refers to the person claiming self-defense.

    Why was the person there in the first place?
    Why didn't the person leave when things started going south?
    Why did the person have a gun with them at the time?
    Was the firearm involved in the incident legally owned?
    Was the firearm involved in the incident a legal firearm?
    Was the ammunition involved in the incident legal to possess?
    Was the person carrying the firearm legally?
    Why was the person uninjured if the threat was so severe?
    What evidence besides the person's word (or the word of their spouse/child/girlfriend/boyfriend) is there to support the idea that there was deadly danger?
    How did the person know that a deadly threat existed?
    Has the person made statements in the past (verbally, in writing, or on social media) that suggest they are prone to violence?
    Was the person wearing clothing or sporting tattoos that suggested a propensity to violence?
    Does the person have a criminal record?
    Was the person breaking any laws at the time of the encounter?
    Had the person broken any laws leading up to the encounter?
    Did the person initiate the encounter?
    Was there bad blood between the persons involved?
    Could the claim of self-defense be to cover up an accidental shooting?
    Has the person ever been involved in an accidental shooting in the past?
    How did the person behave after the incident? Did they indicate they wanted to cooperate or were they uncooperative?
    Did the person try to leave the scene after the incident?
    Why didn't the person use non-violent/non-lethal means to resolve the incident?
     
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  5. Ru4real

    Ru4real Member

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    You mentioned living on a farm. Assuming rural area, I advise making friends with the Sheriff and deputies. It’s easy to do, mostly because they want the same.

    The initial decision to charge or not charge is theirs. Sure, county attorney could direct them otherwise. But that’s days down the road. The friendship or them “knowing you” will keep you covered initially.

    I’m speaking from experience. I’ve not been involved in a shooting, but in other matters, knowing the Sheriff has worked for me.
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2022
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  6. luzyfuerza

    luzyfuerza Member

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    Our legal system is founded on the principle that each party will aggressively pursue its own interests.

    If you don't have the resources to push for your own interests after a SD shooting, then you are, as it were, unarmed in that fight.

    The case for self-defense had better be so clear that it speaks for itself.

    If not, then you must depend on the kindness of strangers (lawyers, experts, investigators) to speak for you. On their own dime.

    Tough choice. But in America, it is what it is.
     
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  7. RickD427

    RickD427 Member

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    I have to respectfully disagree with this poster, and suggest that this is about the worst way that you can respond.

    Please refer to our earlier discussion, absent your issue of not being able to afford a lawyer, on this same topic: https://www.thehighroad.org/index.p...-of-self-defense-doesnt-mean-its-over.911153/

    It's very important to remember that a defensive shooting is going to be a traumatic event, and there is a long anecdotal history of folks making inappropriate statements immediately following their involvement in defensive shooting. That statement is true for LEOs as well as for members of the general public.

    My main concern with Mr. "Rockrivr's" posting is that he ignores two very critical Supreme Court cases that are critical to your post-shooting conduct.

    I'll repeat my advice from the earlier thread, after being involved in a defensive shooting, immediately provide what has become known as the "Public Safety Statement" to responding officers, and then do not discuss the incident further until you have recovered from the post-incident trauma. That is the advice followed by most LEO's and is equally good advice for all others.

    The "Public Safety Statement" grounded in the case of New York v Quarles. It held that under emergent conditions, law enforcement's need to access information to alleviate the emergency trumped the "Right to Remain Silent." Public Safety Information is generally understood to include identifying the suspect and their location, witnesses and their location, the number and direction of rounds fired, and the identification of any other victims. Depending on the situation, it can also include any other points of information that would cause an immediate response by the LEOs. Please note that the reason you decided to shoot doesn't meet any of these criteria.

    Of of the biggest pieces of BS that appear in these threads are statements that the LEOs are your "enemy", or that you are going to be arrested simply because a shooting occurred. Both are far from being true. The making of an arrest requires that there be "Probable Cause" to believe that you committed a crime. Nothing about that standard changes simply because a shooting was involved. We actually have a pretty strong bias AGAINST arresting folks at the scene of a complex crime. The main reason being that a bunch a time clocks start ticking and we have to rush the investigation to meet deadlines. The first deadline occurs 48 hours after the arrest and is the Gerstein Hearing on the arrest. No complex investigation gets very far in 48 hours. The main factors considered when making an on-scene arrest are whether the person's identity is known, whether they are likely to flee, and whether they are likely to continue criminal conduct.

    The other reason the "I was in fear for my life..." statement is dumb is found in Salinas v Texas. That case held that when a person is questioned, before Miranda is triggered, that silence can be inferred as guilt. Whether that inference is reasonable is dependent on the circumstances. When you offer a statement "I was in fear for my life", you invite the question "why were you in fear for life?" If you refuse to answer that question, then Salinas may be triggered. Why go there if you don't have to?

    I would strongly recommend that folks (both LEO and the general public) do consult with an attorney before engaging in a detailed post-event interview. No reputable attorney (they like keeping their law licenses) will tell you what to say to investigators, but they will perform two very valuable services: 1) They will help you to present the facts in the clearest way possible, and 2) They can point out likely consequences of your statements so that you don't get blindsided in the interview. Your interview is going to be recorded and you can't retract or amend what is said. You gotta get it right the first time. Here's the biggest problems that I've seen folks get into: 1) Don't try to "steer" or "control" the interview. The countering strategy is for the interviewers to back you into corners. You credibility suffers and you can't get it back. 2) Context - Words have meanings and context is important. Choose your words carefully so that they be accurate, and not subject to multiple meanings. For example "I didn't do nothing" is commonly understood to be a denial, but you parse out the actual words, it's an admission that you did "something."

    If you're dead-set on not using an attorney to provide these services, then make sure that you can do them for yourself.

    Don't think that you can simply "Not Talk." If you try that avenue, expect that the investigators will resort to a Grand Jury and then you either talk, or sit in jail until you do talk. Please note that you don't go to jail for the shooting, you go to jail for the silence. Also remember that you don't get an attorney when you're at the Grand Jury stage. You don't have to be a defendant to be dragged to a Grand Jury, we can drag witnesses there as well.

    I should also point out that the part of the Miranda Admonishment about being provided an attorney only applies to custodial questioning. There is no requirement for the LE agency to provide you with an attorney if you re not in custody. The attorney services provided may not be free. In-custody defendants are entitled to lawyers at questioning and all defendants liable to a jail term are entitled to lawyers at trial, but every jurisdiction that I'm familiar with has a vetting process to determine a person's ability to pay and also has a process to recover the costs of public defender representation. I'll second earlier suggestions for you to obtain "Pro Bono" representation. I've never seen a "Pro Bono" representation of a criminal defendant, most "Pro Bono" cases that I've seen involve social causes, but it may be worth an effort. I should also point out that Public Defenders tend to be very good lawyers, despite their reputation. During all of my working days, the Public Defenders, as a group, did a much better job of testing my cases than did private attorneys.
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2022
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  8. Bazoo

    Bazoo Member

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    It had occurred to me, that knowing the local police would be beneficial. I lead a quiet life however. Dunno how to go about it though I’ve been alert to opportunities. I try to thank LEOs for their service to our community whenever I have the chance.
     
  9. dweis

    dweis Member

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    There is no way to know that with any reliability. Cases that are not prosecuted are not recorded in the judicial system. They are only recorded in the files of police investigations and prosecutors’ reports on the decision to not prosecute. So one prosecutor might use different judgement criteria than another. In the end it is the prosecutor who decides whether to charge a person with a crime. Those cases are in court records, but the no-prosecution cases are not.

    I look at it this way. Every day I face risks, and there is no practical way to avoid that. I try to minimize my risks through situation awareness whether it is to minimize driving risks or to minimize the probality of being attacked. Fact is that I am more likely to be killed or injured in a car accident than in an assault on me. My car offers some protection and so does my pistol. I could br prosecuted for a car accident or a shooting. I can’t worry about that. All I can do is be vigilant in trying to avoid a bad situation. Life is not fair. We all dace risks. There are even risks with self defense insurance. Those policies usually say that they do not have to cover a criminal act. However you act is only criminal after you are found guilty. The insurer would have paid out for your trial. Will the insurer seek restitution because you were found guilty? The could do that. Yep, that’s not fair either. We have to live with risk.
     
  10. Kleanbore

    Kleanbore Moderator Staff Member

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    Their duties prevent their being influenced by their relationships with you.
     
  11. crestoncowboy

    crestoncowboy Member

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    That's kind of the whole deal to begin with isn't it?


    I play basketball with several, used to go to the gym with several too. Not because of friendship but because we were in the same place. That's where we became friends


    On paper. But it's simply not the case IME. Ive seen entirely too many cases. Human nature for 90% of the officers i know just doesn't allow it. A Billion cases show that. And everyone has a "if I hadn't known him he would have thrown me under the jail" story. OR at least gotten a ticket.

    Now I don't know any who id think would change the outcome of a big self defense/murder etc etc case because of relationship. But how your treated is most certainly influenced. Ive been on both sides of that equation.
     
  12. Night Rider

    Night Rider Member

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    You're going to jail
     
  13. DeepSouth

    DeepSouth Random Guy

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    That’s probably the best actual advise.
    If someone is really worried about being not able to afford a lawyer, surely they can afford some of the legal insurance’s.
    Realistically this is the best advice so far, imo. And I say that as someone without that coverage.
     
  14. Ru4real

    Ru4real Member

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    Sure, in theory. In practice, not so much. Who you know becomes pretty important in times of crisis.

    But you also have to remember the Sheriff really isn’t your friend, although you know them in this example.

    All the other rules apply still. Keep your mouth shut except to say you feared for your life, yada yada….
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2022
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  15. Rockrivr1

    Rockrivr1 Member

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    I appreciate that my comments are not the most popular but I guess it comes down to how pro or anti gun the state you live in actually is. I live in a deep blue anti gun state. My advice has been beat into us gun owners as the AG and many Chiefs are dead set against self defense shootings and our ability to carry in my state. The advice I gave came directly from a family member who is a detective LE in a city local to me. I’ve also been given that advice from a lawyer I’ve set up as my contact in the event I have to use my gun. It didn’t cost anything to have the initial discussion with the lawyer and he knows me now so I’m not a stranger calling out of the blue. Might not be a bad idea for the OP to have a free conversation with a lawyer. For the just in case.
     
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  16. TarDevil

    TarDevil Member

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    Wow, that post contains a lot of good information.

    The quote above seems predominant with thinking heads. In other words...

    "Give me your wallet or I'll shoot you."

    "Yes sir, here you go."

    Less risk, less expensive.
     
  17. shafter

    shafter Member

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    As others have said there are places in the country where a self defense shooting may not result in being arrested. It's kind of an online myth that getting in a shooting will automatically result in getting arrested and charged. With that being said I would still want to make sure my bases were covered if that were to happen.

    It's good to have a close friend's phone number memorized. Someone that you know will answer the phone 24/7 so you can call them and let them know you've been arrested and charged and have them get the ball rolling on an attorney.
     
  18. Kleanbore

    Kleanbore Moderator Staff Member

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    We have had some alarming cases in Arizona, Georgia, and Texas, and some defenders have had less trouble than the code would have seemed to indicate in Illinois and Michigan.

    That may be, but a defender should engagt an attorney an expect to incur some hefty expenses even if not taken into custody or charged.
     
  19. RickD427

    RickD427 Member

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    First off, please accept my condolences regarding living in Massachusetts. I do get your point. But please consider your earlier advice in light of Quarles and Salinas. It can get folks into trouble.

    I can't deny that politically motivated arrests don't occur. They do. But they are also quite rare, and quickly resolved. I recently read of one occurring in Los Angeles where a person pointed a finger at someone in anger and was arrested for making criminal threats. The case law clearly didn't support the arrest.

    That's one reason why a Gerstein Hearing is required within 48 hours of the arrest.

    San Jose had a caper last week where a homeowner shot and killed a suspect in what appeared to be a home invasion. I don't know the details, but the homeowner was arrested. But the D.A. declined charges and he was released.

    Even where an unfounded arrest is made, there are two very quick actions that can be taken to obtain a release, and a third that I won't call "quick" but is also available. The first is the Gerstein Hearing. It has to happen within 48 hours and if the judge isn't satisfied that there is probable cause supporting the arrest, the suspect is released. The second is the D.A. review (which is supplanted by a Grand Jury review in some jurisdictions). If both fail, the arrestee can also pursue a habeas action.

    As with just about anything else in life, you gotta "pay your nickel and take your chances." You wanna go with the best odds you can get. Being a knucklehead at the scene of a defensive shooting isn't good odds.
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2022
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  20. shafter

    shafter Member

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    That's what I would do for sure.
     
  21. Old Dog

    Old Dog Member

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    Late to this thread, but I really think we do ourselves an injustice if we worry too much about the whole blue state/red state or blue city/red city aspects.

    Look at the data in one's region historically and not through the prism of how you think things might go... Don't prejudge your city's police response because the chief was appointed by a socialist mayor, or the DA is an elected Democrat.

    The greater Puget Sound area is typically extremely liberal and most of the cities and even some of the smaller towns have Democrat mayors/councils (who appoint COPs), prosecutors and sheriffs. Our entire region -- even in some of the more rural parts of the counties, is afflicted with a plethora of weekly home invasions. We've had defensive shootings running the gamut from road rage incidents, multiple armed criminals invading occupied dwellings, street robberies where the intended victim is armed, you name it.

    Yet, for the most part, with great state constitutional protections, every legitimate self-defense use of deadly force seems to turn out favorably for the home-owners/residents/victims, with no arrests, charges and (presumably) little to no expense for those (on the right side) involved.

    RickD427 is giving some excellent advice.
     
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  22. Bazoo

    Bazoo Member

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    I appreciate the discussion. Certainly some things to consider.


    I see it’s a vastly different world when viewed from the eyes of a lawyer vs a police officer.
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2022
  23. JohnKSa

    JohnKSa Administrator Staff Member

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    Everyone has their own "personal" reality based on their opinions, background, training, education, personal philosophy and general outlook on life. People get into trouble when their personal reality diverges too far from another person's reality or from the actual reality and there's a clash. The bigger the divergence between the two realities involved, the more the potential for trouble. This is all the more true when one of the realities involved is the real reality since it holds all the cards. People can sometimes impose their own reality on others, but that never works against the actual reality.
     
  24. N555

    N555 Member

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    Put a lawyer on retainer even it's $300 a local scumbag.
    I think it's odd that people will carry a gun to protect them selves from unsanctioned criminals then do nothing to protect them selves from the state sponsored/elected criminals.
     
  25. luzyfuerza

    luzyfuerza Member

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    Surprise, surprise: lawyers aren't all equal.

    Most criminal defense lawyers can advise you from the SD event through initial questioning. Local counsel can be more cost-effective.

    But if you have to experience grand jury testimony or a trial, the choice of counsel and experts becomes more critical. Relatively few criminal defense lawyers have extensive experience developing or presenting an affirmative defense (yes, I shot him, but my actions are legally excused). You may have to look around for a while to find one, and they won't likely be cheap.

    Yeah, not having the money to hire a lawyer is a problem. But there is one distinct advantage to not having any money: nobody is going to sue you in civil court after the criminal aspects of a SD event are resolved!
     
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