Police crime scene
(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
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If you haven’t thought about what to do and say after a use of force incident, you really should. After all, you don’t want to avoid victimization by a criminal attacker only to be later victimized by the criminal justice system.

If you don’t know what to say to responding officers (and their buddies, the investigating officers), ask to speak to an attorney before answering any questions. Yes, investigating officers may seem like they are on your side. They may even promise that you won’t go to jail if you just “answer a few questions.” But there’s really only one thing you should say . . .

I want to speak to an attorney and have him or her present with me before I answer questions.

Yes, you can answer questions like your name and date of birth, but aside from that, if you don’t know exactly what to say and how to say it, shut up. Except, of course, when you’re repeating, “I want to talk to an attorney before I give any statements or answer any questions.”

Make that your mantra, even if you believe it was a clear-cut case of self-defense.

In today’s climate, politically-motivated prosecutions happen on a regular basis. That’s hard to believe in this day and age, right? Here’s another proclamation from Captain Obvious:  not all prosecutors are big fans of gun owners or armed self-defense. In fact, it’s almost as if some Soros-funded prosecutors are on the side of violent criminals.

If you can remember what to tell responding officers, however, there may be something even better than simply asking for an attorney.

As a long-time student of the law of self-defense, I prefer the five-point plan I learned back in the day from Massad Ayoob at his Lethal Force Institute classes (now the Massad Ayoob Group).

This particular post-incident plan for interacting with police officers is the best I’ve encountered in almost thirty years of training classes I’ve attended so far. It sets the tone of the investigation. It offers you an opportunity to make sure relevant evidence is discovered and identified. At the same time lets the officers know that you know your rights.

I’m such a believer in this strategy, it’s what I’ve taught for nearly twenty-five years as an instructor. Here’s the quick and dirty:

  1. PLAY THE VICTIM: Claim your role as the victim to responding/investigating officers. Example: “That guy tried to rob me and I thought he was going to kill me!”
  2. TELL COPS YOU’LL COOPERATE WITH THE PROSECUTION OF THE OFFENDER:  Tell the police you’ll cooperate with the offender’s prosecution should he or she survive.
  3. IDENTIFY THE EVIDENCE: Point out any evidence at the scene. Identify for the officers all relevant items. Police aren’t all-knowing and they might miss important evidence that could help in your exoneration. If the bad guy had a partner who ran away, provide a description. Investigators can and do miss evidence, shell casings can blow away or get caught in boot soles, or witnesses may scoop up souvenirs.
  4. POINT OUT WITNESSES: Identify any witnesses who saw the encounter. Oftentimes witnesses will claim to have seen nothing.
  5. I WANT MY LAWYER: Ask to talk to an attorney before giving a statement or answering any questions. Yes, it’s okay to tell cops your name, address and date of birth without Lin Wood at your side. Questions about what happened, or what you saw, or how you perceived things? Nope. “I’ll be happy to answer after I’ve talked to my attorney.”

Here’s how it might go: You shoot some guy who’s stabbing a woman in the parking lot of your local Walmart. The cops show up and secure the scene. You’ve already holstered up prior to the police arrival for your own safety, but witnesses have identified you as the shooter. The cops put you in handcuffs, then start asking questions.

“Officer, that guy over there was stabbing that woman so I shot him to stop his attack. If he survives, I’ll happily cooperate with his prosecution. His knife is over there. Those people saw what happened. I would be happy to answer questions and make a statement, but I want my attorney present before I do so.”

Marty Hayes, from the Armed Citizens’ Legal Defense Network added his thoughts on asking for an attorney without adding any additional information to cops in his article “You Have The Right To Remain Silent”:

First, don’t act like a guilty man or woman. When the first words out of your mouth are, “I want my lawyer,” you have done a surprisingly good imitation of a street-wise criminal. What is any self-respecting cop supposed to think? Dead body + gun + “I want my lawyer” = jail.

If, on the other hand, the officer hears, “My life was threatened, I had to shoot,” he forms a slightly different picture. In addition, if he first learned of the incident by a call from you to 9-1-1, and at that time you indicated that you were the victim of a robbery (or whatever crime caused you to believe your life was in danger) then he forms a different picture of the call before he even gets there.

Indeed.

police arrest cuffs handcuffs
Shutterstock

You can do a lot worse than asking for an attorney when police start asking questions. You can do better, though, if you can remember those aforementioned points: play the victim, express a willingness to cooperate, point out the evidence and witnesses and then ask for an attorney before answering questions.

What about the ambulance ride?

Frankly, unless you’re used to getting into defensive gun uses with alarming regularity, you may also need an ambulance ride to the emergency room to get checked out. Don’t lie and claim you’re feeling like you’re having a heart attack. But if you don’t feel well, articulate it as just that and ask for an ambulance.

As an example, my lovely bride paid up my life insurance and paid for me to go skydiving for my 50th birthday. Yep, I jumped out of a perfectly good airplane at about 13,600 feet.  Twenty minutes after a great landing, it took a great deal of effort to stand up after the adrenaline wore off.

If you have a near-death experience involving gunfire, you may have a similar response…or worse. Your blood pressure may well be in the stratosphere. You may be in the early stages of an anxiety attack or worse. You may have suffered an injury that you don’t even realize. What’s more, you’ve probably not had an adrenaline dump like that in a long time, if ever.

Not only that, but expect that medical professionals will take your blood and do a toxicology screen. If you’re sober, that will look good to investigators, prosecutors, and a potential jury. It’ll also help thwart a malicious prosecutor, too.

Not only should you consider what you would tell police, but even better, if you had an insurance policy of sorts that would pay for your legal defense fees, that could prove priceless for you and your family.  A base policy from US Law Shield is about $135 for the year. Or about the cost of three boxes of 9mm practice ammo. Don’t like US Law Shield?  Try Armed Citizens Legal Defense Network or USCCA.

Regardless who you get your coverage from, get some today. Unless, of course, you have a hundred grand sitting in the bank that you’re eager to spend on a retainer for a criminal defense attorney.

The bottom line: think about what you will say to police in the aftermath of any use of force incident. Don’t get caught flat-footed and say something that will later be used against you in a court of law…criminal or civil.

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54 COMMENTS

      • “Depends on the cop…”

        …and the local prosecutor… 🙁

        Know the ‘lay of the (legal) land’ where you are…

        • Seeing as I’m in Los Angeles County, and we’re swarming with Soros-funded D.A.s here….

          I might be alive after a defensive event, but I might also be skrewed regardless.

        • I haz, yep. And I believe California, you have a duty to retreat before lethal force can be applied.
          I sympathize with your plight. I’m a relatively recent escaped political refugee from Kalifonia. If you can, hope you can get out too.

        • This is a reply to commentor “Mike”
          California is not a duty to retreat state.
          They actually have a strong stand your ground law.
          While the local prosecutor my be a Soros soft on crime, hard on self defenders type, you have the law on your side.

    • “Not only should you consider what you would tell police, but even better, if you had an insurance policy of sorts that would pay for your legal defense fees, that could prove priceless for you and your family. A base policy from US Law Shield is about $135 for the year. Or about the cost of three boxes of 9mm practice ammo. Don’t like US Law Shield? Try Armed Citizens Legal Defense Network or USCCA.”

      Unfortunately, living in Washington state makes that impossible. This state does not allow any of those plans to be sold here. We are just screwed.

      • I thought that also but it’s completely true you CAN buy the legal defense insurance that will supply a lawyer in a self defense incident, what the state insurance commisiner outlawed was the part of insurance that would fund your bail. I just recently bought member ship in U.S. Law Shield policy and most of the other companies selling it will still sell to you in WA but they are tailored to fit WA state insurance regulations…

  1. RE: 1) PLAY THE VICTIM: Claim your role as the victim to responding/investigating officers. Example: “That guy tried to rob me and I thought he was going to kill me!”

    Thought? It’s he/she/it was going to kill me and I had no other choice but to defend myself. If you “thought” you’ll need an attorney.

    Rank and file hate paperwork so spare them your life story and speak to detectives who in turn talk to higher ups.

    Overall good advice but expect the unexpected. To use deadly force for self defense or defense of another you need both feet well within the bounds of the law. That way the referees will not get involved or find a way to get involved. Or more plainly…You screw up and you could be incarcerated and spend time with lots of people exactly like the one you smoked.

  2. “Unless, of course, you have a hundred grand sitting in the bank that you’re eager to spend on a retainer for a criminal defense attorney.”

    Suppose the guy who does NOT have a hundred grand to mount a defense. He looks, from the prosecutor’s perspective, like the perfect prey for an aggressive plea-bargain. Even better, a great show-trial to conclude with a decisive conviction just prior to the next election.

    Conversely, suppose the guy who HAS a self-defense “insurance” policy covering bail, investigators and hundreds of thousands of legal expense coverage. In this alternative universe the prosecutor needs to consider the effort to overcome a professional, skilled, presentation of the evidence for self-defense and the odds that that evidence will reach the 51% convincing point for the jury.

    Anyone who carries outside the home MUST carry self-defense “insurance”.

    • Or…

      The anti-gun DA (along with their cronies throughout the system) sees an opportunity to make an example out of the “gun-toting misanthrope” who not only was looking for an excuse to shoot someone- they also actually purchased “murder insurance” premeditatively before hunting down their victim.

      That scenario is precisely what has kept me from purchasing a “legal defense” policy up to this point. I have done as much research as I know how to do on the subject, but I have not had much luck getting facts about how these policies actually perform in the real world. So, until I can find solid examples from the extant legal system proving these policies have a track record of actually helping the policy holder- not hurting them… I’m still not sold on the veracity of idea.

      I’d sincerely like to the see the evidence that proves these policies are indispensable- if it can be shown to be true, I’d be happy to purchase one.

      Anyone…?

      • If the DA is so whacked out as to consider a defendant’s purchasing insurance to be evidence of premeditation, that’s the least of your worries — such a DA is gonna be out to get you regardless of whether you have insurance or not.

        I do not think that evidence of obtaining insurance would even be admissible in a criminal case, and no prosecutor worth his salt would even try (if it came in over objection, it probably guarantees a reversal on appeal).

        There is plenty of evidence that these policies DO provide good legal defenses without sending you into bankruptcy. I think the proper inquiry in on you: do **you** have ANY evidence that ANY prosecutor anywhere has EVER based a charging decision on the fact that the defendant had insurance?

        If not, then with respect: you’re talking out of your ass.

      • Peter Gunn,

        I am not aware of any such sources for definitive information, data, or experiences. I can present a compelling logical argument in favor of having self-defense insurance.

        A highly effective armed self-defense case almost always requires a first-rate attorney who specializes in righteous armed self-defense–and that attorney will secure multiple expert investigators and expert witnesses. Attorneys, expert investigators, and expert witnesses frequently charge up to $1000 per hour. Then you could have expensive laboratory work, legal procedures, and other expenses as well to support your defense. As I understand it, that will typically cost upwards of $50,000 and could even exceed $100,000. Anything less runs a massive risk of a wrongful guilty verdict.

        On top of that massive defense bill, you will likely have expensive bond/bail as well which could easily be anywhere from $50,000 to $1 million. And while you often ONLY need to provide 10% of your bond/bail in cash, that could easily be anywhere from $5,000 to $100,000. Finally, if you don’t have a huge retirement account or home (with a LOT of equity) to put up as collateral for the remaining 90% of your bond/bail, where is that money going to come from?

        Now here is the real killer: even though we are innocent until proven guilty, many people–especially employers if you are an employee or customers if you operate a business–will figure that you must be guilty (why would the state be prosecuting you otherwise?) and end your employement/business. Suddenly and without warning, you have no income any more for the next 12 to 24 months while you wait for your trial. Good luck coming up with $50,000 or more to pay for your legal defense without any income for one to two years.

        • That makes common sense- thanks.

          Of course, my next thought is how it’s (unfortunately) all-too-common to hear about people who are hung out to dry by their insurance company- because they’re in the business of not paying out claims. It’s all in the micro-fine print.

          There’s just something about this concept that makes my antennae sound the alarms, and I have not been able to find much information about it either pro or con (other than unsubstantiated opinions). I guess if I knew a single person who personally has, or if anyone they knew actually has one of these policies… I might feel a little better. But I don’t.

          Until i get more concrete evidence, “self-defense” insurance will have to stay in the “too good to be true” folder.

          I’m open to being proved wrong- I’d actually prefer it.

        • Peter Gunn,

          I empathize with your reluctance to spend money on insurance–I too have heard the horror stories of insurance companies doing everything possible to avoid paying out anything in claims.

          I am a member of the Armed Citizens Legal Defense Network. I like their structure which has pretty much zero incentive to refuse to support a member who needs legal defense. Why? Because it is an organization and all of us are members who all have equal access to its trust fund. That’s right. Most of the money that we pay in membership fees goes to the trust fund which the organizers can only dip into for legal defenses–they cannot (legally) pull money out of the trust fund to increase their personal wealth.

          Thus, I am not paying for insurance to an insurance company. Rather, I am paying a membership fee to be a member of a “club” which has a large pool of money available to all members for self-defense legal expenses and only for self-defense legal expenses.

          And there is another benefit: they have a LOT of training material as well as a network of criminal defense attorneys and expert witnesses at-the-ready who specialize in righteous armed self-defense cases. I encourage you to research them.

        • ). I guess if I knew a single person who personally has, or if anyone they knew actually owned one of these policies I might feel a little better. But I don’t.

          And technically you still don’t know anyone but I do solemnly swear or affirm that I am indeed a real person and I have held a USCCA policy for six years that has provided me with a list of area pro-2A attorneys… They will pay any bail, cover attorney fees and court costs and up to two million dollars toward any lawsuits that might arise… Of course the shooting must be lawful self defense (not a real problem in a stand your ground state)… It’s easy enough to check out… At $299 a year for the base coverage it is well worth it even if you NEVER use it… Hell I pay more than $2000 a year for full coverage insurance on 5 vehicles and in the last 20 years I’ve had a total of about $3200 in claims…

          Defense Coverage Self-Defense Liability Insurance for Defense
          Expenses… Annual premium depends on level, at Elite I get the Concealed Carry Magazine, live on line training, on line access to all previous training videos, a number of discounts and other perks…

          $2,000,000 Each Claim Limit
          $750 Per Day for Loss of Earnings
          (Subject to Each Claim Limit)
          $250,000 Defense Expense Limit
          $6,000 Incidental Expense Limit
          (Subject to Defense Expense Limit)
          $50,000 Cost of Bail Bond Limit
          (Subject to Defense Expense Limit)

      • Peter Gunn,

        There is another aspect to armed self-defense cases and insurance.

        First, a prosecutor who decides to prosecute you in a righteous armed self-defense case is either horribly mistaken or downright malicious and will paint you as evil-incarnate no matter what you do or do not do.

        Perhaps more importantly, many jury members will have a very unfavorable opinion of you right out of the gate simply because you were armed. Remember, carrying a firearm everyday is a foreign concept to the overwhelming majority (about 90%) of people and they will think you are a bit crazy or unstable for arriving at the position that you need to carry a gun every day in public. Furthermore, if your attacker did not have a firearm, many people will tend to have sympathy for your “poor unarmed attacker”, thinking to themselves that, “You really did not need to shoot that guy/gal.”

        Overcoming that frequent bias of jury members against you (for being armed) is often a formidable task which you cannot overcome with a public defender or a limited budget. You will need a big budget.

        • “Perhaps more importantly, many jury members will have a very unfavorable opinion of you right out of the gate simply because you were armed.”

          And that’s precisely where I can see a prosecutor standing in front of a jury box pointing an accusatory finger at the defendant saying “What’s even more disturbing, ladies and gentlemen, is that this bloodthirsty maniac sought out ‘murder insurance’ in a vain attempt to avoid facing the consequences for his premeditated murderous rampage. Not only should he have the book thrown at him- so should the monsters who concocted such a heinous contrivance as ‘murder insurance’- we’ll demand common sense insurance reform after we hang this miscreant.”

          There’s just something about this product that doesn’t sit well with me. Hopefully there’s positive information yet to be found out there to that will soothe my concerns about this stratagem.

        • Peter Gunn,

          The commenter MaddMaxx provided another compelling argument above in favor of self-defense insurance: you could very well face civil liability in addition to criminal liability.

          Even if you could somehow weather the storm and pay for your criminal defense, would you then have another suitcase full of cash to defend yourself when your attacker sues you personally?

        • Peter:

          Do you actually have any experience or expertise in criminal law or the rules of evidence? Or are you once again just talking it of your ass?

          The argument you postulate is almost certainly improper under just about any rules of evidence I am aware of, and would almost certainly trigger a mistrial / new trial in a criminal case (unless the defense attorney is a complete idiot and fails to object to it).

          Again, if you can point me to a case, anywhere, where that argument was actually made by a prosecutor in a charging decision or in a criminal trial, I’ll eat crow and reconsider. But otherwise, this old lawyer is telling you that you are quickly approaching tinfoil hat levels of argument.

          I’ve been a trial lawyer for 35 years . . . and I carry this kind of insurance, and recommend others do so if they carry.

        • Uncommon and MAXX, thank you for your helpful suggestions and examples- they are both informative and appreciated.

          LKB, your anal fixation is a bit off-putting- but no, I have no personal experience in the legal world. I do, however, have a grandfather, a brother, two cousins, and a daughter who are attorneys (my grandfather is now deceased). I guess I’m just used to hearing how signing a contract means nothing in the legal world- you can be legally screwed out of anything regardless of what you sign.

          The most shocking, but ultimately most truthful advice came from my brother when he told me many years ago “The Law has nothing to do with justice- make sure you don’t confuse the two.”

          The takeaway from today’s conversation is this- the information provided by uncommon_sense and MADMAXX gives me reason to keep investigating whether or not self-defense insurance or legal defense fund membership is the thing for me. Hopefully, I’ll find the answers (like examples of members who have successfully utilized funds in a criminal trial). I do hope I find them- I’d prefer this “insurance” to be legit so I can confidently invest in it.

          LKB, you just come across like an aged acetic attorney… no surprise there. I’m curious if you’re from the north by any chance?

          It matters not- I appreciate the helpful information from everyone.

          Carry on

        • To Peter Gunn,
          So far the only self-defense insurance company to defend a case is Ccw Safe.
          In the Stephen Maddox case they defended at trial to achieve an acquittal.
          Interestingly enough Ccw Safe has a no limits policy.
          If you need $1 million defense, they will mount a $1 million defense.
          They also will defend against red flag law accusations.
          In answer to your other thought, Andrew Branca at Law of self-defense has said that a prosecutor can use anything against you.
          Any engraving on your gun, any modification to the gun, and even the purchase of self-defense insurance.
          The question is not that can he use it against you, it is can your lawyer counter his accusation.
          With self-defense insurance you will have an excellent lawyer for your defense.
          Without self-defense insurance you may not be able to afford an excellent lawyer

        • Thank you, Docduracoat- that is exactly the kind of information I am looking for, and what is needed to make an informed decision about this product.

          Much obliged.

        • Well, that was slightly discouraging…

          I have been investigating CCW Safe all morning, and for the most part I like what I see. I read the entire Terms of Service, and there were a couple of items that needed clarification- but overall it appeared pretty straight-forward.

          The first item was that they do not provide a physical membership card- a “digital” card is sent to your “phone”. That caught my eye, because my phone does not connect to the internet.

          Next, it states that a complete and accurate application must be completed and approved before a membership is granted.

          I also noticed that under Restrictions, Limitations, Notices and Exclusions it states that they will not provide services for a firearms response in a place where possessing a firearm is prohibited by the property owner. CCW Safe recommends avoiding “Gun Free Zones”. Well, that’s about half of the places where I regularly carry… that’s not reassuring.

          Regardless. I followed the links, picked out a plan, and was ready to fill out the application for membership. Surprisingly- the link to the application led to a payment page.

          CCW Safe requires payment in full before you can even access the membership application form. Wait… what?! I’m required to pay for something before I am given the chance to even fill out the application that must be approved before I can find out if I’ll be allowed to become a member?

          I decided to call them.

          A young lady answered the phone (after a short hold), and asked if I wanted to join over the phone or if I had any questions. I informed her that I had just read the Terms of Service online, and that I had several questions. I asked about the membership card first, and she went into a long-winded explanation about how they stopped sending physical cards a while back due to… after repeated polite attempts to interject I had to forcefully interrupt her saying “Can you hear attempting to speak?” before she stopped long enough to listen to my question. I stated that my phone does not not connect to the internet, and simply wanted to ensure that I would be able to print my membership card from a source other than my phone. She paused, and quipped “Well, most people use their phone for email.” I said “So it’s sent via email- that’s fine, I can print it from my computer.” She said “Yeah, but most people check email on their phone.” This was the first warning sign of where this conversation was going…

          I then said I was surprised to be asked to pay for a product before filing out an application that had to be approved. She seemed stunned… “Well, a lot of the information is the same- I don’t understand your question.” I told her that it is odd to pay up front for something before you’ve even been told whether or not you’d be allowed to purchase it. She said “That’s just how it works”.

          I then tried to reason with her “At the very least, would it not make sense to present the customer with the application for membership prior to demanding they make payment? That’s Basic Salesmanship 101”. She replied “Unless you’re planning on lying on your application, why does it matter if we charge your card before looking at your application?”

          That’s where I decided to end the conversation. I recommended to her that they might want to consider some remedial sales training, and that I appreciated her time. I never got to ask her about “Gun-Free Zone” coverage limitations. Oh, well.

          Now, I am not saying CCW Safe is not worth it- in fact, I’m still interested. But what an inauspicious first experience with them. Maybe it’s just young people these days… if you have a “whatever… take it or leave it- I don’t really care” attitude, maybe you shouldn’t be working in a customer service/sales position.

          I’ll most likely give them a chance to redeem themselves- we’ll see…

        • Docduracoat:

          Andrew Branca did not like the now-discontinued NRA Carry Guard, because he correctly saw that it was a garbage product. However, he DOES recommend getting carry insurance (and like me, he has it):

          https://lawofselfdefense.com/the-must-avoid-self-defense-insurance-trap/

          Peter:

          I’m a 5th generation Texan — my family’s been here since before the Revolution.

          And note my comment above: Andrew Branca — who literally wrote the book on the Law of Self Defense for civilian carriers — recommends getting legitimate carry insurance. If that’s not good enough for you, I daresay nothing will be.

        • With over 21 million licensed concealed carriers and several Constitutional carry states these things maybe changing for the better. F Biden

        • UPDATE:

          So, I called CCW Safe back this morning… and had another distasteful experience while attempting to talk with a “sales representative”. It was so bizarre that during our unfortunately long (29 min) conversation there were several times I found myself having to ask her the most awkward questions: I had to ask if I was speaking to a real human, or some kind of advanced AI (she said she was human the last time she checked); I had to ask her if she had been trained by a collections agent; I had to ask if she had a personality disorder; I asked multiple times to speak to her manager, but her answer to that was a curt “They won’t provide you with any different answers than what I’m telling you”.

          It was even more infuriating call than the one I had with them last week. And that’s when I had the “Aha!” moment…

          I asked the woman is she actually worked for CCW Safe. She paused, then replied… “I work for a call center company subcontracted to CCW Safe to provide our services.” I then asked her if she even liked firearms- she responded coldly “I don’t have an issue with guns”. And then everything suddenly made sense…

          I expressed my displeasure with my experience and stated that I wished I could get in touch with someone who actually worked for CCW Safe. She paused again, then said she could send a note to them with my name and phone number- but it could be days to weeks before I might be able to hear back from them. I told her I was in no hurry and would be happy to wait to hear from CCW Safe directly… and we concluded our call.

          Within two minutes of ending that call my phone rang- it was a delightful young lady who actually worked for CCW Safe. What a night and day difference! She wanted to hear about all about my issues, she answered every single question I had in a polite, professional manner, she apologized profusely for the unacceptable treatment I had experienced, and we carried on an engaging conversation for 42 minutes. Just… wow. She thoroughly appreciated my comments, suggestions, and feedback, and indicated that there is plan currently in process to alleviate the issues I had unfortunately experienced. I could not have asked for a more positive encounter (other than it would have been preferable to talk to this lady first- not third).

          END RESULT:

          I am now a member of CCW Safe.

          Carry on

      • Whether or not I have insurance is nobody’s business but mine. If a prosecutor asks you, the only correct response is “Kiss my ass. Speak to my attorney.”

      • You may be seeking the holy grail. News of a case not being filed rarely get much publicity. The DA doesn’t want the public to know that “a killer” was not prosecuted. Unless the DA is politically already under fire and is politically weak, the gun hating media also doesn’t want to make too much of a non-prosecuted self-defense case. News in the media will be scarce or non-existent.

        That said, each of the insurance companies mentioned should be able to provide you with solid instances of what cases they have successfully represented members without mentioning the members’ names and they should be able to list the jurisdiction in which the successful defense took place.

        If they don’t keep such records, then their office procedures are pretty poor and I wouldn’t want them to represent me as they might lose my case file until it was too late.

        For those who can’t afford a $100 grand defense; who don’t have insurance and must rely on the public defender, don’t be misled by jail house “experts”.

        I worked in court as a court attache for 25 years and some of the best criminal defense lawyers worked in the PD’s office. Of course, in too many cases, some of the worst criminal defense lawyers worked in the PD’s office too.

        Don’t be mislead by what the jail house experts have to say about their PD. I can think of two cases where the exact opposite was the case. One lawyer, I am sure had a bad rep with his clients. The other’s clients thought he was the greatest. However the first guy wouldn’t argue about a state prison sentence if he knew based on experience in court and with the particular judge that his client was going away now matter what he said. The other lawyer would go on and on and on for an OR release when there were wants and holds from half a dozen states and there was no way in the world his particular client was going to get an OR release. The consequence was when lawyer #1 told the judge his client didn’t deserve state prison, I assure you the judge sat up and listened carefully. When lawyer #2 droned on and on, the judge was checking the stock market page of the morning paper.

        • I do feel like Arthur seeking the Holy Grail… which seems very odd in itself- why is there so little information about a product that “every single gun owner with half a brain” should already have? Very odd, indeed.

          The link LKB provided does contain a lot of valuable information, but one must keep in mind that it is an advertisement. I find the comment section of Mr. Branca’s ad to be very informative- it confirms that there is indeed a dearth of basic information about self-defense “insurance”.

          It’s simply bizarre how difficult it is to find answers to the most basic questions about something that one would expect to be a ubiquitous part of the POTG culture. Where are the scores of gun owners that own this product? Why don’t they speak up? Why is it so hard to research?

          I dunno- but sincerely would like to find out. You’d think everyone and their mother who has ever touched a gun would have tons of information about how wonderful these products are, and be able to recommend innumerable places to go to get unambiguously constructive information about them.

          One can find detailed info about the Grail- it’s just kinda challenging to put one’s hands on the Grail itself. Conversely- it’s amazingly easy to purchase self-defense “insurance”- it’s just hell trying to get any meaningful information about it.

          But, I’ll keep trying…

    • And, can we all please remember, that is decidedly NOT how the system is supposed to work. If it does, in fact, work that way, that is not a sign someone needs to be fired, it is sign someone needs to be HUNG! Very literally.

  3. I’m not an expert obviously, but I disagree with admitting guilt immediately. Saying “…so I shot him” can come back at you. Even if it is already obvious, I would not say those words. Stop at “he was stabbing that person”.

    • That’s not a statement of guilt. It’s a simple statement of fact as it pertains to an action. But I get your point.

      • I Haz a Question,

        In a way that is a statement of “guilt”.

        You have to remember that using lethal force is a crime unless legally justified. When you admit to using lethal force, you are admitting to an action which is a crime until the criminal justice system deems it legally justified.

        Saying it another way, you are effectively guilty until proven innocent when it comes to using lethal force. That being the case, why admit it and make the prosecution’s job easier? Instead, make the prosecution prove that you used lethal force. So what if there was a witness or a surveillance camera? Your defense attorney may be able to discredit the witness. And the surveillance camera may be inoperative, the police might lose it, or it might be inadmissible in court for some reason.

    • TomT,

      I tend to agree with you.

      Keep in mind that “optics” matters–both on the ground to police who just arrived on-scene as well as to jurors who will, at the very least, hear the written reports of those officers who arrived on scene. And with many police agencies wearing body cameras these days, there is a very good chance that jurors will actually see/hear your “messaging”.

      I use those terms “optics” and “messaging” for a very specific reason–because we should keep basic human nature and psychology in mind. If you say, “He was stabbing her and I shot him,” that could be okay in that case since jurors will naturally tend to have sympathy for a victim who was a woman. The much safer option is to say something like, “He was stabbing her and I tried to help her,” or, “He said he was going to kill me and I defended myself.”

      In those last two examples, I used the key words “help” and “defended”. Those words garner sympathy and a sense of honor right out of the gate. A prosecutor will have a huge hill to climb to overcome that. At the same time, you are not at all admitting to shooting, period. Sure, the police might ask, “How specifically did you try to help,” or, “How specifically did you defend yourself?” And you can tell them, “I am happy to provide additional help and will provide a full account/statement with my attorney’s assistance.”

  4. “Play the victim…” You are the victim. Or, you better be. Don’t “play” anything. As for Ayoob, I’ve never taken one of his classes, but I have met and spent range time with him on a much more informal basis. We discussed some of the issues raised in the article. I agree with most of his points. Ayoob’s book In the Gravest Extreme should be mandatory reading for anyone who owns a firearm for self defense.

      • Thank you for all the legal advice from all the lawyers who were following this article. There are so many variables in such situations that no one can give competent advice about what to do other than to merely state your name age and address and then STFU. Insisting on speaking to a lawyer is of utmost importance and having him or her present at any questioning by the police is your get out of jail card. If your lawyer tell you that if you are not guilty is it okay to talk to the cops. Hang up immediately and seek a real lawyer who has real criminal experience. Otherwise STFU. I don’t know how more plainly to say it. All of the well-intentioned posters who have said , “Well, it’s okay to say this or that” just plain are blowing hot air. Even if they are criminal defense lawyers in some state, they cannot give legal advice that applies in all states and the D.C. they can only give advice for the state in which they practice. What will fly in Colorado may well get you locked up for a long time in Delaware or New Jersey. Once again STFU ! ! !

  5. Shameful way to treat heros……

    Unless he/she is one of those “deplorable” Trump people… Then it’s okay to phuk em anyway the law will permit Or not depending on where you are…

  6. Here in my county the cops , prosecutor , and judges will all lie to get a conviction and then bleed every penny they can from you . It is not about justice in Ohio but more about supporting the lifestyle of the cops,courts,and politicians. Tell them nothing . They will lie anyhow but at least they can’t twist something you said . Justice has been gone and not likely to return until the tree gets watered .

  7. What do you do with your weapon while waiting for law enforcement, and if you keep it on you (like I probably would) what is the right/safe way notify them you are armed when they do arrive?

    • What do you do with your weapon while waiting for law enforcement,

      First thing I would do is insure that the offending individual is unable to continue then I would remove the magazine, empty the chamber (if there is a round left) lock the slide back and when the cop(s) arrive lay the piece on the ground and lock my fingers behind my neck while clearly identifying myself.. Keep a full magazine handy til the cop gets there in case the bad guy has a buddy in the area…

    • Confirm that the immediate threat is neutralized. Kick any potential weapons out of reach of a downed attacker. Then disengage. Holster your weapon and move back a safe distance, but stay visible. (Be ready to re-engage if another threat emerges.) When police arrive, identify yourself with empty hands. If it’s not obvious (open carry), they’ll ask if you’re armed. Tell them where it’s located on your person and allow them to secure your weapon. (It’ll be wanted for evidence, anyway.) Don’t reach for it unless told to do so.

      The first priority for responding officers is to secure the scene, and they know they are responding to a shooting so they will naturally be on edge. Make every effort to not be mistaken for an active shooter.

  8. In some states they can’t question you while you’re being medically examined; so it doesn’t hurt to ask for a medical examination either.
    Gives you time to calm down as well.

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