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Author: Andrew Branca

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Andrew Branca

Andrew F. Branca is in his third decade of practicing law in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. He wrote the first edition of the "Law of Self Defense" in 1997, and is currently in the process of completing the fully revised and updated second edition, which you can preorder now at lawofselfdefense.com. He began his competitive shooting activities as a youth in smallbore rifle, and today is a Life Member of the National Rifle Association (NRA) and a Life Member and Master-class competitor in multiple classifications in the International Defensive Pistol Association (IDPA). Andrew has for many years been an NRA-certified firearms instructor in pistol, rifle, and personal protection, and has previously served as an Adjunct Instructor on the Law of Self Defense at the SigSauer Academy in Epping, NH. He holds or has held concealed carry permits for Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Maine, Pennsylvania, Florida, Utah, Virginia, and other states.

Alec Baldwin recently gave a lengthy interview to George Stephanopoulos on the matter of Alec Baldwin’s fatal October 21 shooting of Halyna Hutchins, who was working as the cinematographer on the low-budget Western film “Rust,” on which Alec Baldwin was both the leading star and a producer. That interview aired the night of Thursday, December 2. I’d written extensively on the legal implications around Alec Baldwin’s shooting of Halyna, particularly “Legal Analysis: Does Alec Baldwin Have Criminal Exposure After Shooting Woman Dead In Apparent Mistake?” the day after the shooting, and “Legal Analysis: Alec Baldwin Situation Beginning to Look a Lot Like Manslaughter” three days later.  My conclusion, as the latter title suggests, is that Alec Baldwin’s conduct appears to have met all the conditions for felony involuntary manslaughter under New Mexico law.

Welcome to our coverage of the Kim Potter manslaughter trial over the April 11, 2021 shooting death of Duante Wright in a suburb of Minneapolis, when then-police officer Potter accidentally used her Glock 17 pistol in place of her intended Taser. Three more jurors were seated today, for a total of 12 seated jurors. Two more jurors are needed as alternates, and we should expect they’ll be seated tomorrow.

Welcome to our coverage of the Kim Potter manslaughter trial over the April 11, 2021, shooting death of Duante Wright in a suburb of Minneapolis, when then-police officer Potter accidentally used her Glock 17 pistol in place of her intended Taser. Today the court under Judge Regina Chu continues with the third day of jury selection, after seating nine jurors so far.  The trial requires a total of 14 jurors seated--12 to deliberate a verdict, and two alternates.

Welcome to our coverage of the Kim Potter manslaughter trial over the April 11, 2021 shooting death of Duante Wright in a suburb of Minneapolis, when then-police officer Potter accidentally used her Glock 17 pistol in place of her intended Taser. Today saw an additional five jurors seated in this second day of jury selection, for a total of nine seated jurors.  Judge Regina Chu is seeking to have 14 jurors seated in total--12 to deliberate the verdict and two alternates. That naturally means that five additional jurors remain to be seated.

Welcome to our coverage of the Kim Potter manslaughter trial over the April 11, 2021, shooting death of Duante Wright in a suburb of Minneapolis, when then-police officer Potter accidentally used her Glock 17 pistol in place of her intended Taser. Today the court under Judge Regina Chu continues with the second day of jury selection, after seating four jurors yesterday.  It is also notable that yesterday each side used a single peremptory strike to remove one prospective juror each, and another five questioned prospective jurors were dismissed for cause.  Judge Chu also informed the jurors that they should expect opening statements on December 8 and that she hoped to have the trial completed before Christmas.

Welcome to our coverage of the Kim Potter manslaughter trial over the April 11, 2021 shooting death of Duante Wright in a suburb of Minneapolis, when then-police officer Potter accidentally used her Glock 17 pistol in place of her intended Taser. Today saw four jurors seated in this first day of jury selection.  Two prospective jurors were dismissed using peremptory strikes, one by the State and the other by the defense. The remaining five jurors questioned today were dismissed for cause.

Tomorrow morning begins the jury selection in the Minnesota trial of former Brooklyn Center Police Officer Kimberly Potter, on charges of 1st and 2nd degree manslaughter for April 11, 2021, shooting death of criminal suspect Duante Wright, whom Potter shot in the mistaken belief that she was wielding her less-than-lethal Taser electroshock weapon. The shooting and immediately surrounding events were captured on Potter’s body camera.

We've seen this happen in the George Zimmerman trial in Florida a decade ago, in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial just completed in Kenosha WI, and in plenty of cases in between. These are cases where there is little or no evidence inconsistent with self-defense, such that there can be no good-faith reason for a prosecutor to drag that defender to trial.  The only motivation of the prosecutor is personal aggrandizement and political capital.

Today the jury heard the last of argument and received their jury instructions in the Arbery case trial, in which defendants Greg McMichael, Travis McMichael, and Roddy Bryan are each facing a count of malice murder, four counts of felony murder, and then the four predicate felony counts (two for aggravated assault and two for false imprisonment). In the interests of keeping our coverage somewhat orderly, I’m going to address each of the day’s major events—the closing rebuttal of ADA Linda Dunikoski and the reading of the instructions to the jury by Judge Timothy Walmsley—separately.  I covered the Dunikoski rebuttal in my previous piece of content, so here I’ll cover Judge Walmsley’s instruction of the jury.

Today the jury heard the last of argument and received their jury instructions in the Arbery case trial, in which defendants Greg McMichael, Travis McMichael, and Roddy Bryan are each facing a count of malice murder, four counts of felony murder, and then the four predicate felony counts (two for aggravated assault and two for false imprisonment). In the interests of keeping our coverage somewhat orderly, I’m going to address each of the day’s major events—the closing rebuttal of ADA Linda Dunikoski and the reading of the instructions to the jury by Judge Timothy Walmsley—separately.  Here I’ll cover Dunikoski’s rebuttal.

Welcome to our ongoing coverage of the Ahmaud Arbery case trial, in which Travis McMichael, Greg McMichael, and William "Ryan" Bryan are on trial on charges of murder and other felonies over the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery on February 23, 2020 in Brunswick GA.   This is our VERDICT WATCH post, where we will share any fast-breaking news on verdicts and other events around the jury deliberations which begin today.

Today was the first of two days of closing arguments in the Ahmaud Arbery case trial, in which defendants Greg McMichael, Travis McMichael, and Roddy Bryan are each facing a count of malice murder, four counts of felony murder, and then the four predicate felony counts (two for aggravated assault and two for false imprisonment). So as not to bury the lede, the take-home message is that if I were being asked to render a verdict today, after listening to the State’s closing and all of the defense closing (but not yet the State’s rebuttal), and having not seen any of the actual trial, I’d be obliged to acquit all three defendants of all charges.
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