Kyle Rittenhouse Kenosha trial shooting
Kyle Rittenhouse attends a pre-trial hearing at the Kenosha County Courthouse in Kenosha, Wis., on Monday, Oct. 25, 2021. (Mark Hertzberg/Pool Photo via AP)
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Armed self-defense is legal everywhere in America. Even in New York. Even if you’re black, Latino, gay, transgendered, Muslim or maybe all of the above simultaneously.

But no matter where it happens, the color of your skin, who you worship, or who you sleep with, the legal aftermath of using deadly force in self-defense can become a minefield. Prosecutors or personal injury lawyers may play dirty in an effort to either put a good person in prison in order to score political points among their constituents or to maybe hit a big payday in a civil trial.

Avoidance beats using force

The prudent person will practice situational awareness and conflict avoidance. Why? Because avoiding a confrontation is always a win. Always. Similarly, the best way to beat prosecutors and ambulance-chasing personal injury attorneys is to avoid or de-escalate a confrontation from the start.

You have force options without a carry license in those states where they’re still required, but none are as easy to employ or as effective as a firearm. No matter the tool you utilize to defend yourself, though, you have to act to the standard by which you will be eventually judged.

Sacramento Police crime scene investigators place evidence markers on 10th street at the scene of a mass shooting in Sacramento, Calif., on Sunday, April 3, 2022. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group via AP)

The aftermath

• You will face investigation if you use force in self-defense, even non-lethal force. This includes use of pepper sprays or any hands-on use of force. Obviously, you’ll face more scrutiny if you use deadly force such as edged weapons, firearms or your Buick.
• You generally have a lot of leeway to use force in self-defense, even deadly force, but only if you can clearly articulate that you were threatened.
• If you can’t articulate the threat, you will probably face charges and maybe even prison.
• You may have to articulate more than just why you used force, but also how you used it.

Reasonable Man Doctrine

The reasonableness of your use of force must be determined from both a subjective and an objective perspective. First, what matters most isn’t only what the objective facts actually were, but how those facts appeared subjectively to the person who used defensive force.

We’ve seen examples of this throughout the country where defensive force is legitimately used even when there was no true deadly threat. For instance, the 16-year-old Japanese exchange student who didn’t speak English looking for a Halloween party in Baton Rouge many years ago. While at the wrong address, he walked aggressively towards the homeowner who was pointing a .44 Magnum at him. The teen ignored commands to stop and the homeowner shot him dead. A jury acquitted the homeowner who they determined reasonably believed he was protecting his family.

It all comes down to the Reasonable Man standard: Whether an objectively reasonable and prudent person, possessing similar skills, training, and knowledge, and in the same or similar circumstances, would have shared that subjective perception of the threat.

And then the follow-on: were the actions take to respond to the perceived threat reasonable to defend innocent life? For example, you made a wrong turn and found yourself amidst a “mostly peaceful” protest where trouble-makers are yelling at motorists and pounding on their cars. Is it reasonable to run a few of them over to escape if the mostly peaceful hooligans haven’t broken any windows or tried to pull anyone out of their car?

Remember, the prosecutor who reviews the case and the ladies and gentlemen of the jury will not be graduates of Mas Ayoob’s MAG-40 training. They won’t be gun rights activists and trainers like me. Instead, a jury will be a cross section of the community, both good and bad. In most states, it will include people who got their legal training from watching ‘Law & Order’. Some of them will be uneasy — at best — about armed self-defense and gun ownership.

In other words, in the real world, your actions should ideally not only meet the Reasonable Man standard, but better yet, they will meet the “Any Damned Fool” standard, a term coined by a dear friend and fellow instructor, one of Guns Save Life’s use-of-force experts, Frank Wright.

Here’s the good news: your actions in using force against an unlawful attack don’t have to be perfect, they merely have to be reasonable. Thank you Graham v. Connor (see also a Federal Law Enforcement Training Center .pdf on the case). The bad news: if you can’t explain how your actions were reasonable, you’re likely going to spend some time in the big house.

Diana Smith, crime scene technician for the Sanford Police Department, shows the jury George Zimmerman’s gun, which was collected as evidence at the crime scene, during Zimmerman’s trial in Seminole circuit court in Sanford, Fla. Tuesday, June 25, 2013. Zimmerman has been charged with second-degree murder for the 2012 shooting death of Trayvon Martin.(AP Photo/Orlando Sentinel, Gary W. Green, Pool)

Articulate not only the ‘why’ but the ‘how’

Investigating officers and prosecuting attorneys may badger you not only on why you used force, but also how. For example: they may suggest that you carried deadly, inhumane and evil hollow-points. “They’re banned by the Geneva Convention!” these hacks may howl to the jury.

They may raise the fact you carried an extra magazine as being indicative that you intended to look for trouble. Or maybe you had a trigger job on your carry pistol. Suddenly you were carrying a gun with a “hair trigger.”

Attorneys will try to taint the jury’s opinion of you by attaching negative connotations to everything you chose to do before, during, and after the use-of-force incident.

To counter those attacks, you and your attorney had better have considered those points and have rebuttals that will make your actions seem reasonable and prudent to the jury.

JHP hollow point ammunition
(Dan Z for TTAG)

In the case of hollow-point ammunition, you should point out that hollow-point projectiles are less likely to over-penetrate, making their use safer for innocent bystanders. Another point: hollow-points transfer their energy to the target most effectively, meaning you have to shoot an attacker fewer times to get them to stop the threat, making it better (safer?) for the bad guy. You could also point out that you carried loads similar to what your local police carry for many of the same reasons their experts chose them.

Should you or your attorney calmly point these things out to the jury, you will look like the responsible, thoughtful and prudent person, not a reckless, hot-tempered trouble-maker looking for a scalp or two.

Good training will not only help you articulate away seemingly minor things like ammo choice or trigger jobs, but also bigger things like why your attacker had bullet holes in his or her back. Or if today’s high-resolution video shows you failed to stop shooting the instant an attacker dropped his or her knife or gun. (The answer here involves the time it takes the mind to see something, orient itself to what’s happening, decide on a course of action and to implement that action… about seven-tenths of a second, minimum.)

Other questions about your training or the last time you practiced, if particularly relevant, may not be as easily explained. For example, if you missed your attacker (and hit an innocent person downrange) and you haven’t shot your gun since your CCW class four years before, your lack of practice may come back to haunt you as a possible sign of negligence.

Good and experienced criminal defense attorneys should be able to help coach you on these issues, but they may miss some topics. At the same time, some may not have tried a lot of legitimate self-defense cases or be that intimately familiar with guns, ammunition and defensive shooting. That’s where your knowledge, training and expert witnesses can prove priceless to preserving your freedom.

Alternatively, you might have a less-than-stellar criminal defense attorney. In one case, a woman shot her abusive ex after he forced entry to her home, attacking her. She testified she accessed her firearm in the bedroom and defended herself there. At least two rounds hit behind the attacker’s midline.

The prosecutor disputed her claim of self-defense at trial. The prosecutor’s best evidence he had were the bullet impacts in the “victim’s” back. “It’s not self-defense when you’re shooting people in the back,” he claimed over and over.

Without testimony to explain the reasonableness of why she put two rounds in the “back” of her attacker, the jury voted to convict her and she’s now spending life in prison. Don’t let that be you.

Closing thoughts

Hopefully you consider some of these issues. We recommend everyone seek out good training and practice regularly. The training will help you not only with your shooting, but if they cover legal considerations, it could help keep you out of prison or from losing in civil court in the aftermath of using armed self-defense.

Stay safe out there. Have a good lawyer’s number in your wallet, or be a member of a plan like US Lawshield that will defend you if the worst happens. And don’t say anything until advised to do so by your attorney. As Andrew Branca is fond of saying, in so many words: you carry that gun to make yourself harder to kill. Make sure you know the law so you’re harder to convict.

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  1. What horse pucky.

    Stand your ground. Make your day. Don’t be a coward. Better to be judged by 12 than carried by 6. Render the attacker room temperature. DRT. Dirt nap. Neutralize the threat. Have enough gun. Aim for center mass. An armed society is a polite society. Run to the guns. A bigger caliber means bigger holes.

    Seriously, when choosing a defense attorney, try to engage one with DGU experience (of reaching acquittals).

    All the mentioning of “you” talking and explaining is kinda curious. Your defense attorney should do all the talking; avoid taking the stand.

    All this aside, avoiding conflict is generally the cheaper, freer path.

  2. Self defense should not be something decided by a photo finish. Both feet and the ball have to be within the law. It should be clear to detectives et al from the start of the investigation the situation warranted the use of deadly force. There are no do overs, apologies, etc. Just the facts, Sir, Ma’am.

    • Or just stfu and remember NO ONE, from the police responding, to witnesses whom will have each seen a little different version of their “facts”, to the prosecutor whom is thinking about running for higher office, is your friend or really gives a rats ass what happens to you once in the system… don’t help yourself be a victim TWICE. Your ONLY statement should be ” I will be glad to cooperate with you through my legal counsel. “

      • +1000.

        Let the cops know you are no threat to them, and will cooperate with them once your attorney is present. Then STFU.

        As I’ve related before, in the aftermath of a DGU you are going to have all sorts of physiological and psychological stuff going on from the adrenaline dump you will have just had, and that *will* mess with your memory and perception. Until you can calm down, you are very likely to “misremember” lots of stuff — mistakes that the cops and prosecutors will then flay you with.

        A good FxF training class will “interview” you right after an exercise, and then show you the videotape. It’s eye opening to see exactly how even just the mild bit of stress from FxF training can seriously mess with your ability to accurately perceive and recall, and to understand how much worse that would be under the major league dose of stress you’ll have after a DGU.

    • “I’m calling possum. No body. No crime.”

      He’s halfway across the country, and will have to travel in a pet carrier in the belly of the aircraft… 🙂

  3. You forgot one Boch. Move from Illinois. Oh btw I see Darrin Bailey is part of GSL(& void the foid). Good enough for me to vote for him!!!

  4. “How well can you articulate?” Articulate this, ‘I want an attorney.” Don’t articulation anything else.

    • “I was attacked. I defended myself. I’ll be happy to sign a complaint after I speak with my attorney…”

      • Geoff beat me to it. Give only the bare facts, then state you’ll make yourself available for questions after you’ve consulted with your attorney. Remaining completely silent and tight-lipped will serve to slow the investigation and may cast you in a poor light.

        “I was attacked. I feared for my safety/life. I had no choice but to defend myself. If my attacker survives, I want to press charges. I want to cooperate with law enforcement’s investigation and will make myself available for further questions after I’ve consulted with my attorney…”

        • ” If my attacker survives, I want to press charges ”

          When I took the class to get my concealed carry hall pass, the instructor advised us to insist on pressing charges even if the perp was stone-cold dead.

  5. No matter how reasonable your actions were in self defense, you have to worry about the juror who, regardless of evidence to the contrary, will dream up every imaginable excuse for why your assailant wasn’t really a threat. Hostile prosecutors love such jurors and will turn a blind eye when they lie about their prejudices to get on the jury.

    • Kendahl,

      What you described can and almost certainly does happen. Nevertheless, it is basically impossible to predict the mentality of the jurors in your jury pool long before OR DURING your use of force in self-defense.

      Rather than worry about your jury pool, do everything reasonably possible to ensure that your use of force is (a) righteous and (b) clearly necessary.

      How do I ensure that my use of force was/is righteous and clearly necessary? I use the following simple standard: I do not employ force unless an attacker is attempting to maim or murder me.

      Disclaimer: I am not an attorney and the above is NOT legal advice.

      • Andrew Branca’s five elements necessary to sustain a claim of self defense are helpful in analyzing a situation.

        • “Andrew Branca’s five elements necessary to sustain a claim of self defense are helpful in analyzing a situation.”

          Link available?

  6. This is a good article. A violent criminal who attacks you victimizes you. Sadly, the aftermath of using self-defense against that violent criminal attacker often means that our criminal justice system victimizes you a second time.

    Many people invest a fair amount of time, money, and energy developing effective self-defense for violent criminal attackers. And yet many of those very same people totally fail to develop effective self-defense for justice system “attacks” in response to their use of force in righteous self-defense. Don’t be “that guy” (or woman).

  7. There is NO legitimate reason to be pointing any firearm at someone when there is no actual threat. If there is a threat then absolutely, use you defense weapon. But if all they did to you was cut you off on the highway then it can easily put you behind bars. The rape of a wife or daughter is defensive but crimes of passion for a spouse having an affair is likely to be seen as murder.

    Prosecuting attorneys WILL use everything and anything they can. THAT’s their job. If they can get a conviction by persuading the jury that you intended to kill based on any modification done then THAT is what they WILL do. It is not about reality. It’s about swaying the jury and getting a conviction for their client. You should go in with that understanding. It’s one of the biggest reason that you have the right to remain silent. Say NOTHING. Let your lawyer speak for you.

    On a side note;
    Who prosecutes the prosecutor that points rifles at a jury while the world watches? That act of agression should NOT be allowed to be swept under the rug.

  8. About the Japanese exchange student

    Two months into his stay in the U.S., Hattori and his homestay brother Webb Haymaker received an invitation to a Halloween party on October 17, 1992, that had been organized for Japanese exchange students

    Outside, Haymaker inferred that he and Hattori had come to the wrong house. They were preparing to return to their car when Rodney Peairs opened the carport door, armed with a .44 Magnum revolver. Hattori stepped back towards Peairs, saying, “We’re here for the party.”

    As one can see the homeowner should have went to jail for murder. He did not because as usual in the racist state he lived in the regarded Japanese exchange students as sub-human and since he was also not American Citizen the jury regarded him as sub-human and expendable. Pure sickening racism from beginning of the incident to the shameful failure to send the paranoid lunatic home owner to prison.

    The story naturally went viral in Japan as they could not understand why Americans would permit such a thing to happen and then cover it up and let the racist murderer go Scott free. Unfortunately the Japanese did not know this sort of thing is common in the racist U.S., especially when minorities like Blacks are gunned down almost every day or any other minority is murdered even if they are U.S. citizens. White is always right in the U.S. and the White’s have privileges and immunity seldom given to minorities.

    • It’s been nearly 30 years that you had to reach back to retrieve this incident which only obliquely touches the subject at hand, and your (and Wikipedia’s from where you cribbed this information without attribution) description of the events are not even close to what actually happened.

      The homeowner was found not guilty by a jury of his peers. That’s how the legal system in America is supposed to work.

      Care to quote from the court transcript any racist remarks made by the defendant? How about factual evidence that the state in which the homeowner lived promoted racism against Asians?

      I didn’t think so.

  9. Of course John Boch will never admit this and probably never even thought of this but his article is more proof that states that have done away with concealed carry permits only guarantee that many people carrying guns will use deadly force when it is not legal to do so.

    Also few people will take the time and trouble to learn all the laws of the state regarding deadly force nor get training in safe gun handling either. And remember if you shoot someone accidentally the prison sentence and law suits will not be any less just because it was an accident, especially when it is brought out in court that the person had no certified training in carrying a firearm.

    I might add the risk of accidents with carrying a firearm today are far more likely then they ever were in the past with the advent of the unsafe pre-loaded striker fired guns that have no manual safety. Yes this type of design has caused more accidents than any other type of pistol.

    Here is just on example of literally hundreds:

    . Several years ago in Columbus, Ohio a Black law enforcement man was in an elevator with his wife. The video showed him attempting to transfer his pistol from the right pocket to the left pocket and naturally the gun accidentally went off when he reached hurriedly into his pocket and snagged the trigger. He shot himself but survived and he was lucky he did not kill his wife standing next to him. The bullet then ricocheted off the elevator floor. Imagine how many people might have been shot if the elevator had been crowded with people.

    Today if you shoot someone even if you are not charged with a crime you will be sued guaranteed and the cost of defending yourself will often bankrupt you for life even if you are well to do. If there is even the slightest doubt about you using a firearm against someone among the deciding jury you are doomed because the prosecuting attorneys will rip you to pieces.

    • ‘Black law enforcement man’. Your racism is showing, herr dacian. Why was his race, or gender for that matter, important? Except to a bigot.

    • Well, my state never did away with carry permits. Anyone that wants one can still be one whenever they like. Same way it was two years ago.

    • ” … his article is more proof that states that have done away with concealed carry permits only guarantee that many people carrying guns will use deadly force when it is not legal to do so.”

      Then you should easily be able to access and post statistics proving this hypothesis, using records from states that have changed their laws within the past several years. Please do so.

      We won’t hold our collective breath waiting, though.

      • to our Alien friend the Klingon

        Below is the answer to your sarcastic statement which of course you will ignore and reject with the wave of a hand because it runs counter to your radical Far Right Agenda. You will scream “Do not confuse me with the facts I have already made up my mind”

        Guns carried in public pose a substantial threat to public safety. A robust body of academic literature shows that when more people carry guns in public, violent crime increases.

        The most comprehensive and rigorous study of concealed carry laws found that in states with weak permitting laws, violent crime rates were 13% to 15% higher than predicted had such laws not been in place.5
        Weak concealed-carry permitting laws are also associated with 11% higher rates of homicide committed with handguns compared with states with stronger permitting systems.6
        There is also some evidence that lax concealed carry laws increase other undesirable outcomes, including gun thefts and unintentional gun injuries.

        People who carried firearms at least once in the past month were three times more likely to have had a firearm stolen than other gun owners.7
        Similarly, one analysis suggests that unintentional firearm injuries may occur more frequently after states weaken permitting standards.8
        In addition to the robust evidence showing the dangers of permissive public carry laws, there is no research that suggests expanding public carry has any public safety benefits.

        Firearms are rarely used successfully in self-defense. In fact, individuals successfully defend themselves with a gun in less than one percent of crimes.9
        In the rare instances in which firearms are used in self defense, research shows that using a firearm did not reduce a person’s chance of being injured during criminal victimization more than other various forms of protection did.10
        Carrying a firearm may actually increase a victim’s risk of firearm injury during the commission of a crime.11

        • Studies funded by gun control orgs.

          In other words, fascist propaganda that would make goebbels proud.

          herr dacian living up to his nazi reputation.

        • dacian, the Dunderhead. That “giffords” link is all OPINION and not a shred of evidence. Nice try but your mouthwash just isn’t cutting it. Your “academic” nonsense is just that, NONSENSE. Try going out in the hood with your guns nonsense and see how far you get before someone shoots you with an illegal firearm.

    • Show your work. Where have incidets occured, how many?

      Guns don’t just go off unless someone has bastardized something or have had thier finger on the trigger.

      You have stated you carry, are you somehow superhuman and these incidents you claim that occur will never happen to you? Are you that special?

      • See my above post Storm Trooper which of course you will reject with the wave of the hand. Everything you do not agree with you call fake news.

        • dacian the Dunderhead. Funny, but I don’t see any of the incidents that Former Paratrooper asked for. Now why is that? Could it be that you are full of shi*? Your “gifford” source is all opinion and not a shred of substance.
          Now, either produce the incidents you claim were caused by Constitutional Carry, or shut the bloody he** up.

        • To Walter the Hillbilly.

          It was your link that was pure Opinion. Your link did not even mention any studies or facts. The Gifford Organization had been conducting studies on guns and gathering facts now for years and they document what they do. And when they threw them in your face you screamed “Do not confuse me with the facts I have already made up my mind”.

        • A opinion piece based on “studies” of other anti firearm studies dos not provide fact or proof. It is just a fluffed up opinion piece with a bias meant to appeal to emotion.

          Facts, that is a hard concept for you to understand. Hard data, I’ll make it easy on you….divde justified from unjustified homicide then present us facts. Conflation weakens the intended argument.

        • dacian, the Dunderhead, Again, “gifford’s” is a Leftist anti-gun organization bent on disarmament of the population. Again, these studies start out with a PERDETERMINED POSTION and then go about trying to prove their “conclusion” with false and made up “facts”. There are not studies in any way shape or form.

          As to your “facts” (ROFLMAOBT), you have no clue what a fact is.

    • I’m sure that almost everyone here will agree with me, dacian.

      Please do not carry a weapon. Of any type, of any caliber, any style, and length. Just don’t. And, if the boogey man comes for you on a dark lonely street, just call 911. The police will arrive when they arrive. If they arrive. Be sure to tell 911 that you’re an 8 ft tall combined martial arts expert, and you’re not really scared, you would just like the police to be on time to clean up the mess.

      • wrong Walter the Beverly hillbilly. See my above link that documents the proof about a lack of ccw permits in states and that they have much higher incidents of crime and unjustified shootings. Assuming the censors let me post the link.

        And your link is a joke as it states OPINION and no facts or studies as my link does. Again assuming the censors let me post my own the link.

        • dacian, the Dunderhead, Your “links” are full of donkey dust. Your studies are not studies at all. They start out with a conclusion and then set out to try to prove it with fake stats Nice try.

          It might be better if you just shrink away and let the adults continue the conversation.

      • quote—————Again, our resident “gun expert” who doesn’t even know the firing sequence of a cartridge, has struck out.———–quote

        Walter other posters including myself have asked you that same question and you refused to answer it because you know I would tear you to pieces over your response.

        Again Walter why to you cower and hide when the question is asked?????

        • dacian, the Dunderhead. If you want the answer to the question, what is the firing sequence of a cartridge, come to one of my NRA classes on firearms. Pick your choice. I am certified in 8 disciplines. Soon will be certified in a ninth, “Refuse to be a Victim” . That’s a course you should take.

          I posed this question to you months ago and you have failed to come up with the answer.

  10. How well can I articulate?
    ” I want an attorney. “,
    then lay my head on the table and go to sleep.
    Say no more.

  11. Rule Number One — have a good lawyer on speed dial. The police and the government are not your friends. Expect that cops would like to make an arrest just because, the prosecutor would prefer the bad guy to be alive and you to be the one who bled out, and the judges will be politicians who owe their black robes to whoever appointed them. Cops, prosecutors and courts aren’t all bad, but that’s the way to bet.

    Rule Number Two — wait for said lawyer before making a detailed statement. Saying “my life was in danger and I had to defend myself” is about as far as you can go without counsel.

    We’ve been over this dozens of times before. Nothing has changed, except for so many of America’s judges and prosecutors going Woke.

  12. Cops. ‘It’s obvious that the dead guy in your living room broke into your house and meant you great harm. Is that why you shot him to death?’

    Me. ‘I was too afraid to react. As I was standing there expecting certain death a man dressed like a giant bat came in and saved me. I’ll be happy to pick him out from a line up if you catch him.’

  13. CCW Safe is the only company in the industry that has successfully defended a murder charge. CCW Safe coverage includes:

    100% criminal defense costs covered up front- no occurrence limit
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    $500K standard bond coverage, $1M optional bond coverage
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    Includes home invasion coverage for spouse and children under 18
    Covers any legal weapon used for self defense
    You may select your own own (qualified) attorney
    Includes Critical Response Team of former homicide detectives
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    All of this starting at $179 a year.

    CCW Safe IS NOT an insurance company (ins. co.’s are in business to avoid paying claims)- CCW Safe is a Legal Services Membership Plan in business to DEFEND its members.

    A am thrilled to be a CCW Safe member! (affiliate #C19345780)

    • “A am thrilled to be a CCW Safe member! ”

      Whatever it is called, you are promoting murder insurance. A person who must rely on their own personal resources is less likely to take the life of another. The coverage you describe eliminates all consideration of possible consequences, encouraging an even greater number of defensive gun uses.

      On a related note….thanks for the information on CCW Safe.

      • Sam you are very welcome, and I’ll add that “thrilled” is not the most appropriate word I could have used to describe how I feel about being a CCW Safe member- I’m actually grateful.

        I’m grateful that CCW Safe gives me the ability to utilize my meager personal resources in the most conscientious and economical way to defend myself from the legal assault that takes place in the courtroom after surviving an illegal physical assault that coerces a legal self-defense incident.

        We live in a dangerous world, and if we find ourselves in the unfortunate position of having to face a legal system that is too-easily tilted in favor of inequity for the innocent, I am grateful that CCW Safe has my back providing a professional, proven legal team to protect me from wrongful actions- both inside and outside of the courtroom.

        • “We live in a dangerous world,…”

          Which presents us with a conundrum: the trend in violent crime has been generally trending down, since 1993. Yet, we tell ourselves we should be armed against an ever declining threat.

          (Note: there is no indisputable evidence the number of legal gun owners, nor the rise in the number of legal gun owners is directly responsible – in any significant amount – for the reduction.)

          Did some comparison on legal defense subscription services. Guess I gotta have a talk with US LawShield.

  14. I’m good at articulating force. However, in a deadly force scenario if there was any question whatsoever I’d probably be speaking to a lawyer first.

    George Zimmerman probably helped his case by being forthcoming and open. If the police had their way, he wouldn’t have been charged at all. but that’s a dangerous path to take.

  15. Some very good advice in this article. One cannot underestimate the power of an ambitious attorney, be they a prosecutor looking to make a political statement with you, or a private attorney looking to make $$$.

    I’ve mentioned this case before, but back in 2017, there was a case involving a woman in Indiana named Kystie Jaehnan.

    The short-ish version is, she shot a man named Justin Holland, who had attacked a police officer in front of her home. The perp was seconds away from getting the officer’s gun away from him, and she shot Holland once in the shoulder to save the officer’s life. He bled out and died at the scene. Toxicology reports indicated Holland was high on meth and had 4 or 5 other controlled substances in his bloodstream. Prosecutors declined to prosecute, and all seemed to be good for Ms. Jaehnan.

    Enter an attorney who felt they found a loophole in the wording of Indiana’s self-defense statute. The family sued her, the officer, and the Indiana DNR (the officer was a conservation officer). The suit was eventually dropped, but she had to go through 2 years of stress and financial strain before then.

    You can do everything right, and still be on the hot seat.

    • BTW, Jaehnan’s attorney (Guy Relford, a gun rights lawyer and just a good dude) was instrumental in getting the Indiana Legislature to later adopt changes to Indiana’s self-defense statutes in order to close the loopholes in the law.

  16. Ahoy, varmint!

    If you go to trial in front of a jury you’re usually getting judged by a dozen people who weren’t smart enough to get out of jury duty.

    • That’s why Jury Nullification is the most powerful tool citizens have to stop unjust laws or lawsuits. It only takes one.

  17. “That’s why Jury Nullification is the most powerful tool citizens have to stop unjust laws or lawsuits. It only takes one.”

    In many jurisdictions, the trial judge can set aside the jury decision, or issue a “directed verdict”, after both sides “rest”.

    Always puzzled when prosecutors decline to re-try a “mistrial”. The process is the punishment, and prosecutors don’t pay for the privilege of prosecuting.


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