The Power of STFU: Jesus Gonzalez Skates on Murder Charge

You may recall the case of Jesus Gonzalez, the Wisconsin Open Carry activist who shot and killed Danny John and shot and wounded John’s nephew, Jered Corn. The DA charged Gonzalez with first-degree intentional homicide and attempted first-degree intentional homicide. Although Gonzalez had a lawyer representing him at trial, he followed the golden rule of post-self-defense shootings: STFU. “Gonzalez called 911 and said two men had tried to assault him and that he shot at them,” jsonline.com reports. “He waited for police and surrendered. He made no other statement to investigators and did not testify at trial.” Gonzalez did not get off scott-free. “A jury Thursday found Jesus Gonzalez guilty of lesser charges – first-degree reckless homicide and first-degree reckless injury.” But his silence allowed the jury to consider the possibility of self-defense without the taint of his pro-Open Carry activism. A lesson to us all.

comments

  1. avatar Van says:

    Is this the power of STFU or the value of a good lawyer?Is being convicted of first-degree reckless homicide and first-degree reckless injury really skating?

    From the article, “He faces up to 40 years in prison for the reckless homicide, and up to 15 years for reckless injury.”

    Also, “Jurors were left to make their decision without any real sense of what transpired between the victims and Gonzalez, who argued that he acted in self-defense but presented no real case at trial and has never spoken publicly about the shootings beyond what he told a 911 operator.”

    I get the STFU concept as it relates to the period of time directly after the shooting. Make only the necessary statements and don’t get online and start broadcasting to the world the details of the incident.

    However, in the context of a court setting and under the guidance of an attorney you had better believe I’d want a jury to understand every subtle nuance of the circumstances that led to my use of deadly force.

    1. avatar Texan says:

      Very well said, sir, I agree.

    2. avatar Vincit Veritas says:

      It’s not skating, but if you look at the report from the other link, there wasn’t a whole lot going in his favor, so under the circumstances I think anything less than the charges was probably a victory.

    3. avatar pastubbs says:

      If I’m not mistaking while the two lesser charges still gives him a descent amount of time the wait for parole is not as long

  2. avatar GS650G says:

    Taking the stand is seen as a desperate move and not recommended by most attorneys. Telling the 911 operator he shot two people is saying too much to the wrong person, he is giving statements without protection on a recorded phone line subject to admission in court. Bad idea. His demeanor, words, everything are played back.

    I don’t see from the article how he was charged in the first degree unless they think being prepared to defend yourself is a problem.

  3. avatar Jason Steiner says:

    I wouldn’t call a guilty verdict that carries 40 years “skating”.

    Once you claim self defense, the burden of proof is on you. You have just confessed to a crime, and then added, “But wait, I had a good reason.” And yes, you do actually have to present that reason, or all the jury has left to work with is a confession.

    1. avatar GS650G says:

      Typically a shooting is ruled self defense, or not. If not, the subsequent charges are addressed as a assault or a murder, or what have you. Claiming self defense doesn’t obligate you to take the stand or elaborate, it’s the defense attorney’s job to make the case that you defended yourself and the police got it wrong by ruling otherwise. Now granted, justification must be provided but a better strategy is to attack the prosecution claim that it was anything but self defense. And the burden of proof for the prosecutor can be very high. Ridding the world of troublemakers is seen by many as a good thing, despite the moral hazards. Well everywhere except the UK it seems.
      Claiming self defense is not a confession to a crime, unless you confess you acted with malice aforethought or admittedly wrong in what you did. Again a can of STFU goes a long way in this regard.

      1. avatar Adam says:

        @GS650G

        I think you have one thing backwards:


        And the burden of proof for the prosecutor can be very high

        When you claim self-defense I believe the burden of proof is on you, that is you have to prove that your actions were in self-defense.

        1. avatar HSR47 says:

          Your interpretation, no matter how accurate it may be in practice, is NOT how our court system was intended to function.

          Specifically, regardless of whether you claim self-defense, you don’t have to so much prove that it was self-defense, but that it was *NOT* murder.

          In short, there’s a difference between being forced to prove a lack of motive (as your post implies) and simply being obligated to *disprove* the prosecution’s claim of motive.

        2. avatar Adam says:

          @HSR47

          You used different words but you said the same thing I was.

          If the state is prosecuting me for murder, and I’m simply saying that I didn’t do it then the burden of proof is on the state; to prove that I did it.

          If the state is prosecuting me for murder, and I admit that I killed the person, but it was in self-defense then the burden of proof is on me; to prove that I killed the person in self-defense.

        3. avatar ThomasD says:

          The burden of proof is always on the prosecution.

          Claiming self defense is not an admission of a criminal act, it is claiming a legally recognized exception to what otherwise MIGHT be a crime.In order to obtain a conviction the prosecution must demonstrate that your claim is false, or that the exemption does not legally apply to the facts particular to the case.

          It sounds like the defense attorney didn’t have much to use in order to refute whatever the prosecution presented (either because what his client told him was of little use, or because the client was not forthcoming/trustworthy enough to put on the stand.)

          But if the prosecution’s case did not actually exclude the possibility of self defense – beyond a reasonable doubt – then this whole thing may change on appeal.

        4. avatar Frank says:

          Obviously your knowledge of the law is limited. The burden of proof is ALWAYS on the state and not the accused. Unfortunately there are too many libtards who feel the opposite and some of them end up on juries.

  4. avatar Vincit Veritas says:

    I’m no lawyer, but WTF is “first-degree reckless homicide”? Doesn’t first-degree homicide imply pre-meditation and intent, which recklessness would preclude? Did he go out and “intend” to be reckless? That doesn’t make sense.

  5. avatar mikeb302000 says:

    Robert, Your gun-rights activism has destroyed the part of your brain responsible for discerning right from wrong. You’re condoning murder and counselling folks how to get away with it. I thought you’d gotten away from that sort of thing.

    1. avatar Robert Farago says:

      Condone murder? C’mon Mike. You should know me well enough by now. Everything I write backs up the point that you should only kill another human being in the act of defending yourself from an imminent threat to life and limb. Period.

      Meanwhile, every American has the right to remain silent. Every American should exercise that right when the police are involved, whether they’re guilty or not. Surely you agree with that. Yes?

      1. avatar mikeb302000 says:

        Yes, I suppose I do.

  6. avatar Frank says:

    This man should not have been charged at at all. The DA in Wisconsin that charged him and put him though this injustice should be removed from office. I hope he gets his conviction overturned.

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