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Thread: Defense loads and the law

  1. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by tattedupboy View Post
    The fact remains that no clear thinking juror in a civil case will allow something like choice of caliber to hold a person liable in a self defense shooting. If I am forced to defend myself against someone who either attacked me or broke into my home, regardless of what caliber I use to shoot the attacker, I would simply argue that I am not liable for what happens to the perp while in the commission of a crime; if he is breaking the law, then others should not be held liable for whatever happens to him during the commission of the crime. Simply put, if he did not want to get shot or injured, he should not have tried attacking me or breaking into my home. Getting shot, whether it's by a .22 caliber pistol or by a .50 caliber rifle, is one of the dangers of the job; if you lead a life of crime, then you should be constantly aware of your intended victims using whatever means available to prevent it.
    What is clear thinking to you or where you live may not be clear thinking else where. A jury in your home town if you had no civil suit immunity in IN would most likely not render a judgment against you. However a jury in a large metropolitan area of NC or OH might.
    Also, you're entitled to your opinion on what is or is not rational, but I find it quite humorous that of everything I've written on this thread thus far, my last comment where I said that we hope for the best but are prepared for the worst, was the only comment I've written that you believe has been rational. Sir, (if you're a ma'am, then I apologize) everything I have said thus far has been quite rational from the standpoint of reasonable people; only some crooked lawyer looking to make a quick buck would find your arguments in favor of civil liability for an "inappropriate" caliber to be rational.
    Bingo! Have you ever noticed that in some areas there are more attorneys than LEOs? I know this is the case for Las Vegas NV. The rational or reasonable person standard varies greatly from State to State and sometimes within the same State. In some areas, the inmates run the asylum or sit on the bench and get placed on a jury.
    Know the law; don't ask, don't tell.
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    Happy new 1984; 25 years behind schedule. Send lawyers, guns and money...the SHTF...

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  3. I find it interesting that in the challenge I gave you to present documentation of civil liability related to caliber, the best you could do was state that there was one related to reloads with no other details.

    The bottom line in this, with all of your pontification on the subject, you have failed to produce any evidence that this is anything other than your opinion. You have not presented any test cases related to the subject, other than the reload case. I would assume that rather than the caliber being an issue in the reload case, it was more an issue of the load being prepared "hotter" than a similar factory load.

    When you can present legitimate cases in which civil liability was proved based on the use of a caliber in the face of justifiable use of deadly force, then I think we can continue the discussion.

    In the absence of that evidence, as I stated before, your points are moot and merely speculation.

    We live in the real world, and in the real world with the proper mindset, we must all come to the conclusion that "it can happen to us." However, this relates to the responsibilities and consequences of concealed carry, presentation, and ultimate use of a firearm. I do not focus on what could happen as it relates to civil liability, but what could happen to my family if I am not of the proper mindset and training. I risk the consequences, because I believe it to be the best course of action for my protection and that of my loved ones. I do not only carry in Florida, but when out of state, I submit to the laws of that state, just as I do in my home state.

    On a personal note, as someone who is highly trained in the use of firearms, I have never seen the need, or had the desire to carry anything above .45. I am more concerned with the placement of my shots regardless of the type of ammo I carry. I do not carry any type of fancy defensive load. I also have never had the desire or intention to reload ammunition.
    "Always at your command"
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  4. #63
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    Speculation is just that speculation! The best thing that anyone can do is learn the laws of their state and abide by them. In my state of SC I don't have to worry about caliber, type of round or reloads. The only firearm requirement is it has to be under 12" long. Under our Castle law I can stand my ground and LE can't arrest, confiscate my weapon or ammo as long as it appears I was protecting myself, others or property. I know that as long as I was not charged or win in court then I can't be sued. If by some chance some activist judge decides to let a libel suit go forward then I have nothing to worry about. Our Castle Doctrine states that SC has to pick up my attorneys fees and pay any and all judgments handed down. Personally I don't carry reloads, however if by chance I have reloads in my firearm I won't hesitate to use it if I need to.
    USAF Retired, CATM, SC CWP, NH NR CWP, NRA Benefactor
    To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them... -- Richard Henry Lee, 1787

  5. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by Palmach View Post
    I find it interesting that in the challenge I gave you to present documentation of civil liability related to caliber, the best you could do was state that there was one related to reloads with no other details.
    That is because to the best to my knowledge it has not happened yet. When dealing with civil liability you deal with what you could be sued for. Self defense incidents among civilians are fortunately few and far between. We may never have a test case of someone using a large bore handgun in self defense in our lifetime in a State that has no civil suit immunity.

    There is a legal authority and a NC CHP instructor that agrees with me on the subject. Taken from the following thread on another site on the same subject;

    I have to strongly disagree with your view. All CCH Instructors in NC have to pass the Course on Legal Issues of Lethal Force. We took the class at the NC Justice Academy, and L. Reese Trimmer, our instructor was the Lead Attorney in the Justice Departments Lethal Force Division. He suggested that hand loads was of little concern if you were justified in using deadly force, but their is more to the story.

    Once you are cleared, and no charges filed because you were within your rights to use deadly force, your problems are no where near being over.
    He said the odds are 90% or better that you will end up in Civil Court as a Defendant in a wrongful death suit. Mr Trimmers main job with the Justice Department was defending Law Enforcement Officers that were sued after they were cleared by Internal Affairs. As he put it, why would you not try to obtain a huge settlement, when you have a waiting line of Attorneys willing to take your case with NO money out of your pocket.

    Mr. Trimmer also has been called in as a Professional Witness in many wrongful death cases involving civilians. He said that a "good" snake oil attorney can and will pick up on the smallest bit of information, no matter how inaccurate,to make the law abiding Defendant look like a Rambo type that spends every waking hour studying new and nastier ways to take someones life.

    This is from a legal authority on the subject in a State that has no civil suit immunity.

    Here is where the hand load scenario was brought up, when a student asked him if he could recall for the class an actual event that he witnessed in court. He never blinked, and asked for a show of hands of those that carry hand loads in their concealed carry firearms. Roughly half of the class raised their hands. Mr Trimmer then launched into a tirade, calling us "blood thirsty, cold blooded killers! Factory ammunition just does not satisfy your desire to main and destroy a fellow human. Not only did you take his life, you did it with ammunition made by your own hands so you can inflict the worst possible pain and suffering, instead of using over the counter ammo that is designed to wound. The fact is you designed and made your own ammunition, just to make sure there was no way a Doctor could save his life!"
    The same thing can be applied to using a caliber that is not mainstream for personal protection.

    It got very quite in that room. Finally someone asked Mr. Trimmer who would believe such nonsense. The only response was "A jury that knows no better".

    Again, the case of juries being unpredictible or the snake oil attorney successfully selling their argument.
    When asked if he debunked that theory when he was on the stand, he said "sure, but it's hard to convince someone that the lawyers attack was total BS. If you don't carry hand loads, the attorney loses that line of attack. It's your butt on the line, and my advice to you is to think ahead."

    He ended that portion of the class with some excellent advice. His suggestion was to find out what brand of ammo your local Law Enforcement carries, and use that. If you find out what your city police, sheriff's department or State Troopers carry, odds are one of those loads will work for those that carry semi-auto carry guns. Another suggestion was any ammo that was designed for Personal defense, since they are designed to stay in the body.

    I am not an attorney yet a legal authority in the State of NC, lead defense attorney for the State's use of lethal force, does concur with my opinion on the subject. We only have test cases for handloads that I know about.

    I can find nothing wrong with his logic. I also agree that odds are you will be dragged into civil court, and YOU have to pay for your attorney. Every line of attack you take away from the prosecuting attorney is time saved in the trial. Even a short trial will financially ruin the average person paying his attorney fees. If your found guilty in civil court, you can tack the settlement to your legal fees, and that would be enough to drain the pockets of all but the ultra wealthy.
    If you use a mainstream self defense caliber or the same thing your local LEOs use, you have removed a bit of information the plaintiff can use against you to sway the jury. That has been and always is my rationale for using mainstream calibers, preferrably the same ammunition LEOs in the area use. If you are in a State that has civil suit immunity then this is not an issue as I have stated before.
    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. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by Red Hat View Post
    Speculation is just that speculation! The best thing that anyone can do is learn the laws of their state and abide by them. In my state of SC I don't have to worry about caliber, type of round or reloads. The only firearm requirement is it has to be under 12" long. Under our Castle law I can stand my ground and LE can't arrest, confiscate my weapon or ammo as long as it appears I was protecting myself, others or property. I know that as long as I was not charged or win in court then I can't be sued. If by some chance some activist judge decides to let a libel suit go forward then I have nothing to worry about. Our Castle Doctrine states that SC has to pick up my attorneys fees and pay any and all judgments handed down. Personally I don't carry reloads, however if by chance I have reloads in my firearm I won't hesitate to use it if I need to.
    When you consult an attorney for legal advice, they research the appropriate laws and case law pertaining to the subject and render an opinion which involves some speculation on their part. In SC, you do have a very good stand your ground law so it is a moot point as long as you stay in SC. However, go north to NC and you are in for a rude awakening per an attorney with NC DOJ who teaches the legal portion of the NC CHP instructor class. In Nevada, I am only immune to civil suits in defense of my domicile. It is on the list of things to be fixed here.
    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...

  7. Quote Originally Posted by netentity View Post
    That is because to the best to my knowledge it has not happened yet. When dealing with civil liability you deal with what you could be sued for. Self defense incidents among civilians are fortunately few and far between. We may never have a test case of someone using a large bore handgun in self defense in our lifetime in a State that has no civil suit immunity.

    There is a legal authority and a NC CHP instructor that agrees with me on the subject. Taken from the following thread on another site on the same subject;


    This is from a legal authority on the subject in a State that has no civil suit immunity.

    The same thing can be applied to using a caliber that is not mainstream for personal protection.


    Again, the case of juries being unpredictible or the snake oil attorney successfully selling their argument.

    I am not an attorney yet a legal authority in the State of NC, lead defense attorney for the State's use of lethal force, does concur with my opinion on the subject. We only have test cases for handloads that I know about.

    If you use a mainstream self defense caliber or the same thing your local LEOs use, you have removed a bit of information the plaintiff can use against you to sway the jury. That has been and always is my rationale for using mainstream calibers, preferrably the same ammunition LEOs in the area use. If you are in a State that has civil suit immunity then this is not an issue as I have stated before.
    Again, all speculation and personal opinion of you and a legal expert.

    I could easily post the opinions of other legal experts who would dispute your conclusion and the conclusion of your expert, but what would be the point.

    The truth of the matter is that each case would have to dealt with on its individual merits. A leech of attorney who is merely seeking to make some money on a case would not do well against a seasoned second amendment attorney who is used to the deceptive practices.

    Your experts scenario also does take into account that in the case of justifiable use of deadly force, the jury is going to be made aware the you were in fact the victim who was stopping a forcible felony against your person and you were in fear of your life. Two sides to the same story.

    I will continue to live my life based on what is, rather than what might be.
    "Always at your command"
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  8. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by Palmach View Post
    Again, all speculation and personal opinion of you and a legal expert.

    I could easily post the opinions of other legal experts who would dispute your conclusion and the conclusion of your expert, but what would be the point.

    The truth of the matter is that each case would have to dealt with on its individual merits. A leech of attorney who is merely seeking to make some money on a case would not do well against a seasoned second amendment attorney who is used to the deceptive practices.

    Your experts scenario also does take into account that in the case of justifiable use of deadly force, the jury is going to be made aware the you were in fact the victim who was stopping a forcible felony against your person and you were in fear of your life. Two sides to the same story.

    I will continue to live my life based on what is, rather than what might be.
    I couldn't agree with you more, Palmach. This line of reasoning that netentity is using is something that only a crooked lawyer looking to make money would use. No jury would even seriously consider entertaining such a fallacious and ridiculous argument. Any lawyer who tries to hold someone liable for a wrongful death in a self-defense shooting based on caliber deserves to be laughed out of the courtroom.

  9. #68
    I can't believe this thread has gone so far and become such an argument.

    Since I started this thread I thought I'd weigh in again with my decision on a carry weapon. After much debate I decided on a Glock 27 .40 S&W as a carry weapon. I have been considering others because the glock is a little on the fat side but so far I am happy with it. Regardless of the arguments on both sides of this debate I opted to go with the .40 because it is very popular with local LEO's for carry guns, many of whom carry this model.

    It seems to me that the .40S&W and .45 ACP have the best balance of managable recoil, stopping power without excessive penetration, and general acceptability as SD rounds.

    We touched on this subject in my CCH class and the instructor advised against less conventional, high powered, or even hand loaded rounds due to possible criminal or civil prosecution and how it could possibly be presented in court to a jury of people that may not be sympathetic or accepting of CCH carriers or gun people in general.
    She stated several instances where it was brought up in court and the particular gun and ammunition was presented as evidence which went against the defendant. She also advised not picking a gun that looks too "Tactical" such as with add on laser sights, or lights, threaded barrels, compensated barrels, extended magazines, military looking configurations or color schemes for the same reasons. She recommended not carrying anything more powerful than a .45 for reasons of over penetration and the increased possibility of pass through and carrying enough energy to kill or maim an innocent bystander or even someone at a distance or inside a vehicle or residence.

    I don't know if anyone else is aware of this case but I read about it about a month ago and can't remember the guys name but I think it was in Arizona or Nevada, somewhere out west where a guy was hiking in the mountains and shot a guy who he claimed charged him, I believe he claimed the guys dogs were agressive towards him and I'm not sure if he fired a shot to scare them off or whatever but the guy charged him and got shot with a 10 mm 1911 style gun. Anyway later in the article it described how the prosecutor brought in experts who claimed that the 10mm was a high powered round that not even the police would carry and this prosecutor tried to paint the defendant as a gun nut that carried an excessively high powered gun. I don't remember if the guy was convicted or not but that's just one of several cases I've read about like that.

    So while it may not always come up in court or be put on you that way if you have to go to court to defend your justification in a shooting situation I'd rather carry a round that has adequate stopping power and is generally accepted as a popular self defense caliber. I don't want to have to shoot anyone but I want to try to set myself to be in a more easily defendable situation in the aftermath if I ever do have to shoot for self defense.

    I think it's a personal decision and you should carry whatever makes you comfortable but I also don't see any reason to carry something like a .357mag .44mag, .450 mag, .475. Those kinds of guns are overkill in my opinion and don't lend themselves much to concealment above the .357. Probably any cartridge that says magnum would look worse in a court room situation to a jury.

  10. #69
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    The Glock 27 is a great gun and should serve you well. I agree that any caliber over .357 Mag is "overkill" That aside,trying to conceal such a large gun would be very difficult. If carring open, it would be heavy and very uncomfortable. I've carried a Taurus 66 .357 Mag concealed. It's a great gun and an adequate caliber for defensive purposes. Bottom line is that any decision should be based on personal preferance. Consulting a competent criminal attorney wouldn't hurt either.

    I had a conversation about this topic a coupke of weeks ago with a friend who's been a deputy prosecutor for the last 10 years or so. He told me that one point in deciding if a shooting will be prosecuted IS caliber. He's an avid gun guy, and very familiar with what the variouis calibers can do and how they work. The prosecutor has instruced his staff that any caliber other then what the local LEO are authorized as their "off duty" or "supplimental" firearms will result in greater scruitny of the case. Not saying that you will be prosecuted because of a large caliber, simply saying that if you're involved in a self defense shooting, they may take a harder look at the case because you used a caliber that was either too strong or in some cases too weak. It goes along with what's "reasonable". Most of us wouldn't attempt to stop a threat with a .22LR if we had something larger. On the flip side, a case can be made that the threat could have been stopped with the smaller caliber, so the question would be is it "reasonable" that the defendant used a .50AE Desert Eagle.

    Not trying to start an argument, just sharing some insight straight from a deputy prosecutor here in Hawaii. Something to seriously consider.



    gf
    Last edited by Glock Fan; 08-16-2008 at 10:07 PM. Reason: fixed grammatical error
    "A few well placed shots with a .22LR is a lot better than a bunch of solid misses with a .44 mag!" Glock Armorer, NRA Chief RSO, Pistol, Rifle, Shotgun, Muzzleloading Rifle, Muzzleloading Shotgun, and Home Firearm Safety Training Counselor

  11. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by Glock Fan View Post
    The Glock 27 is a great gun and should serve you well. I agree that any caliber over .357 Mag is "overkill" That aside,trying to conceal such a large gun would be very difficult. If carring open, it would be heavy and very uncomfortable. I've carried a Taurus 66 .357 Mag concealed. It's a great gun and an adequate caliber for defensive purposes. Bottom line is that any decision should be based on personal preferance. Consulting a competent criminal attorney wouldn't hurt either.

    I had a conversation about this topic a coupke of weeks ago with a friend who's been a deputy prosecutor for the last 10 years or so. He told me that one point in deciding if a shooting will be prosecuted IS caliber. He's an avid gun guy, and very familiar with what the variouis calibers can do and how they work. The prosecutor has instruced his staff that any caliber other then what the local LEO are authorized as their "off duty" or "supplimental" firearms will result in greater scruitny of the case. Not saying that you will be prosecuted because of a large caliber, simply saying that if you're involved in a self defense shooting, they may take a harder look at the case because you used a caliber that was either too strong or in some cases too weak. It goes along with what's "reasonable". Most of us wouldn't attempt to stop a threat with a .22LR if we had something larger. On the flip side, a case can be made that the threat could have been stopped with the smaller caliber, so the question would be is it "reasonable" that the defendant used a .50AE Desert Eagle.

    Not trying to start an argument, just sharing some insight straight from a deputy prosecutor here in Hawaii. Something to seriously consider.



    gf
    Well, as I've said repeatedly on this thread, they should remember who the criminal is and who the victim is and act accordingly. Prosecute based upon intent, not based upon the caliber used.

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