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Thread: Defense loads and the law

  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by tattedupboy View Post
    Not saying that it isn't generally a good idea, but why does everyone keep saying to carry what LEOs carry? It seems to me that no matter what you carry, if the circumstances justify the shooting, why should it matter if the caliber of the ammo you're using is the same as the caliber that the local LEOs use? Does using a bigger caliber than they use somehow make it worse?
    In most jurisidictions you have two cases to worry about, criminal and civil.

    While you may beat the criminal case or have the grand jury return no bill in a grand jury State. You then deal with the civil case. Unless the incident occurs in a State with a statutory civil suit immunity for justifiable homicide in self defense, this is a very valid concern. IIRC, currently FL and MO are the only States that have blanket civil suit immunity in all self defense acts. In Nevada, you are only immune from civil action if the act occurred in your legal or temporary residence. You're not immune from civil action in Nevada if the act occurred in your place of business or in public. The DA may not elect to file charges because it was an obvious act of self defense. However, nothing is stopping the person you justifiably used lethal force against from suing you and taking everything you own.

    If you use the same or a commonly used round that LE agencies use, you mitigate at least some civil liability from wrongful death or personal injury. In a civil case, it could easily be proven if your hand loaded round has considerably more energy than what a LEO carries that the subject you should may not have sustained as bad of an injury and could still be able to walk or may still be alive.

    Remember we live in a litigation makes right society. Surviving the self defense act is the first step and the quickest and easiest part. Next you deal with the legal ramifications; criminal being easier to deal with than civil.
    Know the law; don't ask, don't tell.
    NRA & UT Certified Instructor; CT, FL, NH, NV, OR, PA & UT CCW Holder
    Happy new 1984; 25 years behind schedule. Send lawyers, guns and money...the SHTF...

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  3. Thank God for immunity from civil actions for justifiable self defense in Florida. There is no reason that a law abiding citizen should be concerned about being sued when they are defending themselves from an armed attacker.

    While I understand many of the points made here, I still think what caliber you carry is going to play very little in any case, unless your use of force was not justifiable.

    I carry the load which I believe is going to end an attack as quickly as possible. I am not taking any chances with my life or the life of my family.
    "Always at your command"
    "לפקודה תמיד אנחנו"

  4. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by netentity View Post
    In most jurisidictions you have two cases to worry about, criminal and civil.

    While you may beat the criminal case or have the grand jury return no bill in a grand jury State. You then deal with the civil case. Unless the incident occurs in a State with a statutory civil suit immunity for justifiable homicide in self defense, this is a very valid concern. IIRC, currently FL and MO are the only States that have blanket civil suit immunity in all self defense acts. In Nevada, you are only immune from civil action if the act occurred in your legal or temporary residence. You're not immune from civil action in Nevada if the act occurred in your place of business or in public. The DA may not elect to file charges because it was an obvious act of self defense. However, nothing is stopping the person you justifiably used lethal force against from suing you and taking everything you own.

    If you use the same or a commonly used round that LE agencies use, you mitigate at least some civil liability from wrongful death or personal injury. In a civil case, it could easily be proven if your hand loaded round has considerably more energy than what a LEO carries that the subject you should may not have sustained as bad of an injury and could still be able to walk or may still be alive.

    Remember we live in a litigation makes right society. Surviving the self defense act is the first step and the quickest and easiest part. Next you deal with the legal ramifications; criminal being easier to deal with than civil.

    With all due respect that line of reasoning is totally asinine. Suing you because you were using one caliber instead of another is like suing because the victim killed the robber with a baseball bat when he could have used a knife instead. No GOOD defense attorney would his client to be found liable on such dubious grounds.

  5. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by tattedupboy View Post
    With all due respect that line of reasoning is totally asinine. Suing you because you were using one caliber instead of another is like suing because the victim killed the robber with a baseball bat when he could have used a knife instead. No GOOD defense attorney would his client to be found liable on such dubious grounds.
    I agree, but it is the way our legal system works. My favorite example is the Bernie Goetz incident. The shooting was justified but yet he was convicted and sentenced to six months, did eight, at Riker's Island for criminal possession of a firearm. He also has a $43M judgement against him for the incident.

    Also the bat first the knife incident is flawed as the person defending themselves is obviously grabbing whatever is readily available. Under the reasonable person standard that makes it more difficult to successfully win a civil suit against that incident. It was an obvious spur of the moment incident.

    What about the firearm enthusiast? I have over two dozen handguns and four long guns. That collection is growing as time marches on. If I'm involved in a self defense incident outside of my home in the Las Vegas metro area I may be subject to a civil suit if use something other than what HPD, LVMPD, NHP or NLVPD use. That can come into play when you're dealing with a personal injury or wrongful death suit where you are the defendant. If I am using a .44 magnum instead of a .40 S&W pistol the plaintiff's counsel will try to paint me as a wanna be Dirty Harry. What if I decided to have my friend Wildey with me in the self defense incident? Same thing. I get painted as a wanna be Chuck Bronson with a death wish. I had to qualify with the .44 magnum or .475 wildey magnum, put it on my NV CFP, carry it in over 100 degree weather. Just that thought alone could cause me to lose my civil case. Not to mention the cost of the firearm and ammunition over a more economical or civilly reasonable choice such as an S&W 908 or 3913. There is a level of premeditation when choosing what you carry. What's the cost of 9mm or .40 S&W vs. .44 magnum or .475 wildey magnum? Quite a bit. You also essentially have to reload the .475 wildey magnum.

    Now take the same self defense incident outside of my home with a S&W 908 or a 3913 which is an approved sidearm for virtually all law enforcement agencies with factory self defense ammunition. Also keep in mind that the S&W 3913 was also the duty CCW of former FBI Director Louis Freeh, I doubt I'll even get a civil suit filed against me for wrongful death or personal injury if I'm involved in a self defense incident with my S&W 3913 or it's economical brother 908 with factory ammunition. I'm carrying an acknowledged firearm that certified armed public safety professionals carry. Now my civil case is easier to defend and I may not even need an attorney. That in turn may save me money in out of pocket legal fees plus provides an additional level of asset protection by not being painted as a wanna be Dirty Harry or Chuck Bronson. The ambulance or hearse chaser sees a much more difficult civil case to win.

    I agree dead is dead, but in civil court there are different degrees of stopping the threat. That is what you need to be prepared to defend yourself against in the legal aftermath of a justifiable homicide.

    While a good defense attorney is good to have, in instances where you have no or limited civil suit immunity the best course of action is to carry something comparable to what the local LEOs in the area carry. That may keep you out of civil court to begin with.

    The number one goal is with self defense is to physically survive. The next goal is to cover your assets; figuratively and literally. In FL or MO, you don't have to worry. However, in most States you do some with no castle doctrine at all.
    Know the law; don't ask, don't tell.
    NRA & UT Certified Instructor; CT, FL, NH, NV, OR, PA & UT CCW Holder
    Happy new 1984; 25 years behind schedule. Send lawyers, guns and money...the SHTF...

  6. I'm sorry, but I have to agree with Tatted on this one.

    You make a statement about justifiable homicide, and then counter it based on the caliber of weapon you carry.

    Bottom line is this. If you are properly trained in the use and presentation of your firearm, then you will know when it is proper to use it.

    The possibility always exist that a civil suit will ensue after you defend yourself, however, if your actions are justifiable based on your states statutes as it relates to justifiable use of deadly force, then I do not see the caliber of weapon coming into play at all.

    Bernie Goetz is a poor choice, as this incident took place in the city with some of the worst gun laws in the country. I grew up in NY, and when I had my business, which included at time a $30,000 a week cash payroll, I was unable to obtain a carry permit. There was never any proof in that case that Goetz was in imminent fear of death on that train.
    "Always at your command"
    "לפקודה תמיד אנחנו"

  7. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Palmach View Post
    I'm sorry, but I have to agree with Tatted on this one.

    You make a statement about justifiable homicide, and then counter it based on the caliber of weapon you carry.
    Apples and oranges. I am referring to civil damages or losing in civil court. Homicide, justifiable or not is a criminal matter addressed by the investigating LEOs, DA, judge and jury. You lose, you go to jail. Were your actions legal in accordance to State law. It's you vs. the State.

    Civil is whether or not your actions were excessive or appropriate. If they were not, how much in monetary damages is the injured party entitled to. It's you vs. another party or the estate of the party.

    You can be perfectly legal or innocent by State law, but lose the farm civilly.

    Bottom line is this. If you are properly trained in the use and presentation of your firearm, then you will know when it is proper to use it.
    You're dealing with two judicial standards; criminal and civil. Homicide is a felony which is tried in criminal court. Justifiable homicide is a homicide that is excusable in certain circumstances, typically to stop a violent felony against yourself or a third person.

    Wrongful death and personal injury are civil matters which involve monetary compensation. While it was legal for you to discharge your firearm in self defense, did you use excessive force? Did you discharge your firearm more than necessary? Did you use too large of a caliber? Could the person you have shot been alive if you were carrying what was approved by a local LE agency? In civil cases, they go the extra mile to get expert witnesses that are of the caliber of Grissom of CSI. Obtaining a civil judgment against you is not a simple matter of proving the case to the same level of a criminal trial.

    The possibility always exist that a civil suit will ensue after you defend yourself, however, if your actions are justifiable based on your states statutes as it relates to justifiable use of deadly force, then I do not see the caliber of weapon coming into play at all.
    It takes much less to lose or win, if you're the plaintiiff, in civil court than it does in criminal court. If the plaintiff can make a reasonable argument with evidence that your caliber choice or the number of times you shot resulted in more injury or death than was necessary to stop them, you may very well lose the farm.

    Bernie Goetz is a poor choice, as this incident took place in the city with some of the worst gun laws in the country. I grew up in NY, and when I had my business, which included at time a $30,000 a week cash payroll, I was unable to obtain a carry permit. There was never any proof in that case that Goetz was in imminent fear of death on that train.
    Why wasn't Goetz charged with homicide, attempted homicide, assault with a deadly weapon or battery with a deadly weapon? Because it was justified for him to use the firearm under NY law. It was not justified for him to carry it.

    You're dealing with two standards when it comes to criminal verses civil law. How about another classic example; OJ Simpson. He was acquitted of murder but yet found liable for the murders of Nicole Brown and Ronald Goldman. He was found not guilty but yet has a $33.5M judgment against him for wrongful death.

    You can be found innocent in criminal court or not charged by the DA but yet lose everything in civil court. This is why you have civil suit immunity statutes. Simply being found not guilty, grand jury returning no bill or not being charged is not enough. Your assets need to be protected. If you do not have a stand your ground law or blanket civil suit immunity in a justifiable homicide you run the risk every time you're involved in a self defense act of losing the farm. If you present yourself or use firearms and ammunition that are not commonly accepted or authorized as duty firearms for your local LEO you may be on the business end of a civil judgment. You'll beat the criminal case, but civil is another issue entirely.
    Know the law; don't ask, don't tell.
    NRA & UT Certified Instructor; CT, FL, NH, NV, OR, PA & UT CCW Holder
    Happy new 1984; 25 years behind schedule. Send lawyers, guns and money...the SHTF...

  8. It has nothing to do with apples and oranges, and I am quite clear on the differences between civil and criminal charges.

    You can ignore all you want that in states that you are legal to carry there are laws which govern not only your carry but your use of force. Those statutes will come into play whether the proceeding are criminal or civil.

    If you are within your rights and vindicated in the criminal case this will have implications in the civil case as well. Where most people get into trouble in their civil cases is in their choice of attorney's. Choose anyone other than a staunch supporter of the 2nd Amendment and a gun proponent, and you have made the wrong choice.

    The very fact that we choose to carry everyday opens us up the possibility of civil suits. However, I would assume that like myself most here have weighed the consequences and would prefer to take our chances rather than lose a loved one, or leave our families without us.

    I could care less what the local LEO's carry. I am trained far above their level, and am not concerned with whether or not the bullet I shoot at the BG is too big or too strong. My concern is seeing the BG stop when he is in the process of threatening myself or my family.

    As a final note, you will find that your position and opinion would be the minority opinion of any of the top defensive trainers in this country.

    You have the right to your opinion, and respect your right to carry whatever you like, but I simply think you are wrong on this.
    "Always at your command"
    "לפקודה תמיד אנחנו"

  9. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Palmach View Post
    You can ignore all you want that in states that you are legal to carry there are laws which govern not only your carry but your use of force. Those statutes will come into play whether the proceeding are criminal or civil.
    I am not questioning what is legal. What I am playing devil's advocate is with civil liability. Can you possibly have a civil judgment against you for your actions? Criminal deals with what is legal. Civil deals with everything but what is legal. Does a judge and jury believe you were civilly wrong in your actions. A different measurement.
    If you are within your rights and vindicated in the criminal case this will have implications in the civil case as well. Where most people get into trouble in their civil cases is in their choice of attorney's. Choose anyone other than a staunch supporter of the 2nd Amendment and a gun proponent, and you have made the wrong choice.
    Bernie Goetz and OJ Simpson were vindicated of criminal wrong doing. So by that reasoning they should not have had double digit million dollar civil judgments against them.

    What I am advocating is conducting yourself in such a manner where you won't get served with a civil suit. The best way to defend a lawsuit is don't be a party to one just like the best way to win a gunfight is not to be there or for you movie buffs and in honor of the late Pat Morita, "The best way to block punch is no be there."
    The very fact that we choose to carry everyday opens us up the possibility of civil suits. However, I would assume that like myself most here have weighed the consequences and would prefer to take our chances rather than lose a loved one, or leave our families without us.
    This is the one statement I agree with. Just because you were legally right, were not charged or the grand jury returns no bill does not mean you will not be served with a civil suit by the person whom you legally used lethal force against or that person's estate.
    I could care less what the local LEO's carry. I am trained far above their level, and am not concerned with whether or not the bullet I shoot at the BG is too big or too strong. My concern is seeing the BG stop when he is in the process of threatening myself or my family.
    If I read this thread correctly, you live in Florida where you have civil suit immunity for a justifable homicide. I live in a State where that applies only to your domicile. Your State protects you where you don't need to care what local LEOs carry. You only need to care if you fall within the statutory requirements of justifiable homicide within your State. Travel outside of your State then you better be concerned.
    As a final note, you will find that your position and opinion would be the minority opinion of any of the top defensive trainers in this country.
    A majority of the defensive trainers are active duty, reserve or retired law enforcement, military, or executive protection. How many of them have been on the business end of a lawsuit, coroner's inquest, other legal proceeding or regularly have been used as expert witnesses? Probably those in disagreement with my opinion.

    Jessie Ventura is a former Navy SEAL. He's better trained that most of us, certainly me. Would I ask him to defend me or be an expert witness if I was involved in a self defense shooting? No. Would I ask him on proper self defense techniques and his advice as a personal trainer, absolutely.

    A majority of your self defense trainers deal with the mechanics of how to properly use your firearm, not in the legal aftermath of what to do after the shooting.
    You have the right to your opinion, and respect your right to carry whatever you like, but I simply think you are wrong on this.
    How about if I throw this scenario out.

    Let's assume that OK did not have civil suit immunity for justifiable homicide in one's home. Those familar with the OK SDA know that the largest caliber you can legally carry under the authority of a CCW is .45.

    You get involved in your OK home in a self defense shooting. You shoot the attacker with a .475 or a .50 caliber handgun. Do you believe that you would successfully come out of a civil suit unscathed? At the bare minimum you'd have to pay a retainer to an attorney.

    Fortunately OK does have civil suit immunity for their castle doctrine.
    Know the law; don't ask, don't tell.
    NRA & UT Certified Instructor; CT, FL, NH, NV, OR, PA & UT CCW Holder
    Happy new 1984; 25 years behind schedule. Send lawyers, guns and money...the SHTF...

  10. #29
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    Netentity, what I dislike about your line of reasoning is that it seems to suggest that if I carry a caliber that is bigger than what the police carry, and am faced with a possible life or death situation while carrying that caliber, I should just duck and cover and hope that the BG doesn't get me, for fear of a civil suit. That is just utterly asinine.

  11. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by tattedupboy View Post
    Netentity, what I dislike about your line of reasoning is that it seems to suggest that if I carry a caliber that is bigger than what the police carry, and am faced with a possible life or death situation while carrying that caliber, I should just duck and cover and hope that the BG doesn't get me, for fear of a civil suit.
    What I am saying is that you may be involved in a civil suit. There are no guarantees in a court room. Judges and juries are unpredictible.

    What I am saying is that unless you live in a State with a stand your ground law with full civil suit immunity you run the risk of being a defendant in a civil suit. Most States do not have a blanket civil suit immunity to go with their castle doctrine or stand your ground law. There is less merit in a civil suit if you're carrying an accepted caliber of public safety professionals in more 2A friendly jurisdictions. If you live in a shall issue State that does not have a stand your ground law with full civil suit immunity you need to lobby your State legislature to get that changed. You're also less likely to be involved in a civil in a more 2A friendly jurisdiction within your own State. Case and point, a lawful self defense incident occurring in Las Vegas outside of your domicile is much more likely result in a civil suit for personal injury or wrongful death than the same incident occurring in Reno or Elko. Why? The plaintiff is much more likely to get a panel of jurors that will render a judgment against the actor exercising lawful self defense. The same reasoning can be applied to upstate NY vs. NYC. I doubt Bernie Goetz would have obtained as much press if the incident occured in a 2A friendly portion of upstate NY nor would he have lost a civil suit or quite possibly no civil suit would have been filed to begin with.
    That is just utterly asinine.
    Another definition for frivolous lawsuits. Keep in mind that there is nothing stopping someone from suing you regardless of the merits of the suit.

    Let's throw out an example pertaining to simple personal injury. Joe is involved in a simple motor vehicle accident. No serious injuries. The other party ran a red light and t-boned his car. However during the accident investigation it was found that Joe had a .02 BAC. Is Joe liable for the accident? Will the fact there was a positive but below the statutory limit for DUI which is .08 in most States have an impact on the civil case?

    Absolutely, it may lessen the award Joe may obtain from the other party or their insurance company. Also depending on the state the other party may be able to obtain civil damages under comparative or contributory negligence.

    The similar legal or tort argument can be applied to your conduct which may include caliber and firearm choice during a self defense incident.

    I am not saying, which both you and Palmach believe I am advocating that it will happen, I am saying it could happen. When dealing with civil or tort law, it is nothing but one big gray area. There is no absolute as there is with criminal law which revolves around simple guilt or innocence.

    I throw out these examples to make people think about the legal aftermath of a self defense incident. The actual probability of anyone getting involved in a self defense incident is small. The probability of getting involved a civil suit after such an incident is small if you are in a pro-2A jurisdiction. However we are all kidding ourselves by being complacent and telling ourselves it can't happen.
    Know the law; don't ask, don't tell.
    NRA & UT Certified Instructor; CT, FL, NH, NV, OR, PA & UT CCW Holder
    Happy new 1984; 25 years behind schedule. Send lawyers, guns and money...the SHTF...

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