What would a jury say?


fidelis2006

New member
I have been a long time observer of this site, but this case below really hits home for me. Please read it and respond what you think a jury might say. I know I have a biased group here so try to be objective.

I am an 8 year law enforcement veteran but left the department a couple of years ago to pursue another career. While at home preparing to eat a Thanksgiving meal, my wife informed me of a suspicious vehicle parked in our private driveway. I went out to investigate but could not read the VIN number. A man from two doors down (extensive criminal history at that house) yelled derogatory statements at me (has always hated me due to my law enforcement background). I went back in my house and grabbed a flashlight so that I could read the VIN number before calling the police. I also placed a snubnose revolver in my back pocket, intimidated by my neighbor. When I went out this time another neighbor told me the vehicle probably belonged to the party occurring across the street. While I do not know those people well, I have never had issues with them either so didn’t hesitate to go ask if the car belonged to their visitors. I was invited in and found that it was a drinking party. The intoxicated car owner identified himself and hesitantly said he’d move the car. He walked out just in front of me but was making derogatory statements as he crossed the street. I realized we were also being followed by additional males. Completely on my property the man turned around and squared off to me. It became immediately apparent when the others started closing in on me that I had actually been baited into a confrontation. I blocked a punch from the first male with the flashlight. When he came again and with the others quickly closing on me I drew my firearm and ordered, “Stop.” The command was only hesitantly complied with. I backed away slowly and went into my home. I saw one of the aggressors now laughing and saying, "Ha ha, now we're gonna call the cops on you (expletive)." I was arrested for Assault 2nd degree, having not provided a statement to the police but the 5 aggressors having written their own saying who knows what.

I know that I was in the right and felt completely threatened by the disparity of force. Not knowing what the 5 might say, would you take it to trial? What would you say if you (try to think like the everyday citizen here) were a juror?

Thanks.
 

JonEllison

New member
Using your 8 years experience as a LEO... ask your self... if you were on duty would you have drawn your firearm in similar circumstances? If so, you are probably ok... if not... a jury might have issues with you arming yourself before you confronted your neighbor... From my perspective... I am surprised that you were charged... you don't live in Illinois do you?
 

tattedupboy

Thank God I'm alive!
Welcome to USA Carry fidellis and jonellison.

If I were a juror, I might question why you didn't immediately call the police to report a suspicious vehicle in your driveway. I would not, however, consider that an aggravating factor in deciding how to vote, though. Your whole reason for bringing your gun out was in the event you were in some way accosted by the perps, which you clearly were in this case.

If I were your lawyer, I'd point out that the guy was drunk, and that there was no telling what he would have done if you had not pointed the gun at him.
 
As a citizen, the following questions come to mind:

1) Why didn't you call 911 initially. Regardless of your relationship with your neighbors, you could always tell the officers that the situation was worked out by the time they arrive. We all know that it usually takes the police at least several minutes to respond to a residence for something that's non-violent in nature, like this situation initially started off.

2) Being that you're former LE, it seems like you pulled a "que es mas macho" attitude (learned that from watching Judge Millian on "The People's Court"). You figured that since you had a LE background, you would see if you could "fix" the situation on your own. The problem in this instance is that as a former LEO, you should be fully aware that you shouldn't be walking into a "domestic" situation without "back up". As a potential juror, I'd ask why you didn't use the telephone to get in touch with your neighbor.

3) Once you saw the group of males following you out of the house, you should have made a dash to the house to call 911 (since you weren't dilligent enough to be carrying a cell phone or cordless phone on you). Rather than look like a "coward", you elected to "stand your ground" because after all, you're "former LE" and you're "completely on your property". This may be a problem with a juror.

4) When you realized that you were about to get the $**t kicked out of you, another opportunity to "run" and scream "help!" Another potential problem, possibly making you look like you're playing "macho" because now it's "stand back I've got a gun". It appears that YOU escalated the situation into what it is now.

5) Last potential problem I see is that nobody was shot. If you were really in "fear" for your life, you would have discharged that firearm. If it were me and I was "surrounded" by a group of drunks who were actively throwing blows, I would have put at least a couple of them on the ground. I do my best to AVOID getting into such situations in the first place.

Please don't be upset by my post. I'm giving you my straight opinion. You asked for my take as a juror, and that's what I'm giving you. Now that that's said and done, I highly recommend that you find a good CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY. It looks like you're in for a very rough trial up ahead. You and I both know that 2nd Degree Assault isn't very difficult to prove given your circumstances. My personal thoughts is that you probably wouldn't have been charged if you actually put a couple of the BG down or at least fired upon them. The lack of "shots fired" tells me that you weren't in "fear for your life". I imagine that the prosecutor is thinking the same way, hence why you were charged with only 2nd Degree Assault and not "Terroristic Threatening" or any other additional offenses. BTW, good move on the "Deaf Mute" angle. DO NOT make any statements without a competent criminal defense attorney present. If you haven't already, check out this video: Don't Talk to the Police- Prof. James Duane - Regent University

I had a similar situation where a group of drunk thugs confronted me in my driveway. PM me if you would like the details.

Good luck in your situation.


gf
 

maybejim

Maybejim
I understand your feelings but your first mistake was not simply calling the police and letting them sort it out. Hard to do but the only really legally safe thing to do.

You need a good lawyer in the worst kind of way. One who is experienced in gun related charges.
 

fidelis2006

New member
RE

Thanks for the insight everyone. That is what I was looking for..... the questions that come to the mind of someone else.

The response.... my answer to the jury's questions.

1) Correct, an "ordinary" untrained citizen might have called the police as soon as the suspicious vehicle was in their driveway. On the other hand, I reverted to my training and experience. It is what I have been taught to do.

2) While the firearm was carried as a precaution, it was my neighbor a couple of doors down that I am always concerned with (not just today). Once I learned that the car might below to the guys across the street where there was no apparent issue, I did not feel threatened. I simply walked across the street to ask them if the car was theirs.

3) Once the several males followed me across the street I did start to realize that something was awry, but the situation then unfolded very quickly.

4) While I do not have a duty to retreat, I was not trying to be macho and stand my ground either. Having blocked the initial strike, I was actually backing up when I drew my firearm. The presentation of the firearm was accompanied by clear commands to stop. No threats were made. I continued to back up, firearm lowered, into my home where the door was locked.

5) While I would never draw my weapon without the mental preparedness to use it, as I have been trained the presentation of the firearm was accompanied by appropriate commands. The decision on whether or not I shoot is made my the BG, not me. If I successfully de-escalate the situation than of course I would not fire even though that very real possibility had existed when I drew the firearm. Their continued actions dictate mine. The use of force continuum being very dynamic.

Thanks again.
 

PascalFleischman

New member
Welcome to USA Carry fidellis and jonellison.

If I were a juror, I might question why you didn't immediately call the police to report a suspicious vehicle in your driveway. I would not, however, consider that an aggravating factor in deciding how to vote, though. Your whole reason for bringing your gun out was in the event you were in some way accosted by the perps, which you clearly were in this case.

If I were your lawyer, I'd point out that the guy was drunk, and that there was no telling what he would have done if you had not pointed the gun at him.

You can't bother the police with every suspicious vehicle around your property...at least not 9-1-1. I might call the non-emergency number. HOwever, upon securing my gun after drawing & the threat backing off my property, the FIRST thing I'd do would be to get on the phone with 9-1-1 to file a report. You ALWAYS want to give your side of the story first....ESPECIALLY before everyone sobers up. It seems the road might be a little more difficult now, if this didn't take place.
 

fidelis2006

New member
Ahh yes, I knew that the police were being called... likely by more than one person. Hence, I did not personally have the need to call 911. I checked on my family and secured my firearm. However, I waited for the police as I watched out the window. The moment they arrived, I opened the door (firearm had been put away) and contacted them very politely with hands clearly showing. No attempt to hide, run, etc (nor was there a reason for me to in my mind).
 

stuckinnj

New member
My first advice is to stop posting on this thread or any other - your post is now a statement made by you, which can be used against you. While the prosecutor can't make you get on the stand, he/she now has a statement(s) made by you which can be introduced into evidence. Do not discuss this matter with anyone other than your attorney or spouse.

stuckinnj
 

todd

todd
Had a suspicious car parked in front of my house once. I went out got the plate and VIN number. Called the police to investigate. 24 hours later an officer showed up, i told him had no idea, I asked the neighbors aroung me and no one knew. he said we would call it in to flag it. I asked if he was going to tow it, he said no it had to sit for 3 days then towed.
 

devildave31

New member
response to jury question

As an everyday joe placed in the role of a juror, I would completely have sided with you, particularly because you had already fended off a blow, also because you did not pull the trigger rashly.

I will say however, that had it been me, I would have told someone at the front door of the party to tell whoever owns the car to move it, and then left. Personally, (mostly because I am a non confrontational type) I would never have allowed myself near the partiers unless on my own property (and that is primarily because of the often illogical and macho behaviour of drunks). If they did not move it, then I would let the authorities handle it.

I am not in any way, criticizing your handling, just saying what I would have done.
 

fredmaidment

Individuals Rule
Your first mistake was not calling 9 - 1 - 1 after being battered. The man threw a punch. Whatever happened after that, he was the aggressor. You should have reported it, especially since you knew they were going to call the police and give their story.

Your story seems a bit fishy to me, and I am personally inclined to believe a man who is confronted by a gang of five drunk men on his own property. A good prosecutor could make it look like you were angry about the party across the street and making threats, get any statement about your other neighbor suppressed as argumentative or irrelevant. You might have even claimed to be a LEO instead of ex-LE. Maybe you thought your ex-LE status would get you out of trouble? Thin blue line and all... Who knows?

Your story may be the truth, but it smells. Clean-off (but don't cover up) the stench.
 

BBJ

New member
Does your LEO Training also tell you to let a drunk get into a vehicle and drive? Personally, I think you should have called 911 and stayed in your house until police arrived. (Just my opinion)
 

Wolfling68

New member
If this is going to trial, it is not about what happened, it is definately not about truth, it is about which lawyer is better. How do you feel about your lawyer?
 

mot mayhem

New member
First off, welcome.

- I would not hesitate to walk to a neighbors (if I had any non amish that were in walking distance) if we were on civil terms to ask if they knew whose car it was.

- You had a flashlight which is a useful weapon in that scenario against a group of drunks. I feel it would be less deadly a force than a pistol (even though good contact to the skull could kill).

- You may not have been able to retreat, and had to stand your ground.

- The gun may have been excessive, but if you felt threatened, well, that is you, and your responsibility to convince the jury.

- You should have called the authorities after the assault, now it looks bad against you like you were trying to hide something.

Being an ex LEO, you may have been thinking like one still, but also that may have been your downfall. I am glad noone got shot. Good luck in what happens.
 

wildcathunter

New member
i hate this had to happen to you. However, i can guarantee the prosecution is going to argue that since you were able to back away then you could have run never needing to pull your gun. You are right in the fact that you have a right to stand your ground. But when you pull that firearm you better be prepared to use it. For some reason a lot of places look as pulling a gun as a clear and present threat even though you never said anything, instead of a deterrent. Hire a good lawyer my friend cuz im afraid your going to need it. 5 witnesses to your 1.
 

Ceicei

New member
On the other hand, you were threatened when he tried to strike you and if his buddies had decided to jump in too.... not good odds. When the odds are 5-1, especially after you were attacked with an attempted punch, perhaps you were justified.

- Ceicei
 

GeneralSumter

New member
Unfortunately, when it comes to a jury, perception is more realistic than truth. Hind sight is 20/20 so I'm not going to re-state what everyone else is saying. Moving forward, you need a good lawyer with a good history and friendly to LEOs. He will likely use your past LE-experience as an asset in proving to the jury that you intended for self-defense, not assault.

Oh yeah, and pray.
 

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