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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.

Hey folks, I’m Attorney Andrew Branca, for Law of Self Defense. Today I’d like to share with you a tragic story out of New Mexico involving the actor Alec Baldwin (perhaps best known for his small but powerful role in the 1992 movie “Glengarry  Glenn Ross”—“coffee is for closers!”—and his long-standing role as boss Jack Donaghy on the television program “30 Rock.”)

The Tragic Event

I’ll briefly quote from a New York Times story on the event:
Alec Baldwin discharged a prop firearm on the set of a Western he was making in New Mexico on Thursday, killing the film’s director of photography and wounding the movie’s director, the authorities said. The cinematographer, Halyna Hutchins, 42, was killed, and the director, Joel Souza, 48, was injured … . The circumstances of the shooting are under investigation.
It’s separately reported that Alec Baldwin was also a co-producer of the movie.

Welcome back to our ongoing coverage of the Ahmaud Arbery case, in which defendants Greg McMichael, Travis McMichael, and William Bryan are being tried for murder and other charges in the shooting death of Arbery.  I am, of course, Attorney Andrew Branca, for Law of Self Defense. Today the court proceeded with jury selection, or voir dire, in the case, with the goal of empaneling 12 jurors and 4 alternates.  Today was the fourth group of prospective jurors put through the selection process, with each group nominally numbering 20 people. Today’s voir dire process mirrored that of yesterday, with general (group) voir dire being conducted in the jury assembly room.  We’ll share our notes and video of the general voir dire proceedings with you here.

Key Findings of Today’s General Voir Dire

Of particular note from today’s general voir dire:
  • Nearly half (45%) of prospective jurors had already formed or expressed a belief in the guilt or innocence of the defendants.
  • Nearly half of prospective jurors (45%) had been victims of burglary or home invasion.
  • Three-fourths (75%) of prospective jurors owned firearms in their home (no shock, I guess, if only given their burglary/home invasion experience.)
  • A very large majority (85%) of prospective jurors indicated that they had never engaged in any demonstrations or marches in support of the social justice movement.
  • An even larger majority (90%) indicated that they’d never advocated for or supported the Black Lives Matter movement, even with mere bumper stickers or yard signs.
  • A still larger majority (95%) said that they did not consider the old Georgia state flag, based on a Confederate flag motif, to be a racist symbol.
  • A large majority of prospective jurors (80%) said that people of color are treated fairly by the criminal justice system.
  • On the other hand, almost half of prospective jurors (45%) said that the police, generally, did not treat white and black people equally.

Welcome back to our ongoing coverage of the Ahmaud Arbery case, with what we expect to be day two of general jury selection for the trial of Travis McMichael, Greg McMichael, and William "Roddy" Bryan on murder and other charges over the death of Ahmaud...

Welcome back to our ongoing coverage of the Ahmaud Arbery case, in which defendants Greg McMichael, Travis McMichael, and William Bryan are being tried for murder and other charges in the shooting death of Arbery.  I am, of course, Attorney Andrew Branca, for Law of Self Defense. Today the court proceeded with jury selection, or voir dire, in the case, with the goal of empaneling 12 jurors and 4 alternates.  Although Judge Wamsley presiding over the trial had initially expected jury selection would take no longer than two weeks, the unexpectedly slow pace of voir dire in these first few days has led him to become concerned that jury selection could, in fact, take longer than that.

Key Findings from General Voir Dire

Of particular note from today’s general voir dire:
  • Nearly 60% of today’s prospective jurors indicated that they had already formed or expressed an opinion as to the guilt or innocence of the accused.
  • Nearly half (47%) of today’s prospective jurors had formed a negative feeling about one or more of the defendants.
  • Nearly 70% of today’s prospective jurors owned firearms kept within their household.
  • About 37% of today’s prospective jurors had obtained non-military training in firearms.
  • Substantial majorities of today’s prospective jurors believed that people of color are treated fairly by the police particularly (68%) and the criminal justice system generally (79%).
  • Nearly half (47%) of today’s prospective jurors indicated that they had circumstances at work or home that would diminish their ability to focus their full attention on the trial if called to serve as jurors.

Welcome back to our ongoing coverage of the Ahmaud Arbery case, with what we expect to be day two of general jury selection for the trial of Travis McMichael, Greg McMichael, and William "Roddy" Bryan on murder and other charges over the death of Ahmaud...

Welcome back to our ongoing coverage of the Arbery Ahmaud case, in which defendants Greg McMichael, Travis McMichael, and William Bryan are being tried for murder and other charges in the shooting death of Arbery.  I am, of course, Attorney Andrew Branca, for Law of Self Defense. Today the court proceeded with jury selection, or voir dire, in the case, with the goal of empaneling 12 jurors and 4 alternates for the duration of the trial, which is anticipated to run into the third week of November (although I caution that such things are hard to predict).

Welcome back to our ongoing coverage of the Ahmaud Arbery case, with what we expect to be day two of general jury selection for the trial of Travis McMichael, Greg McMichael, and William "Roddy" Bryan on murder and other charges over the death of Ahmaud...

Hey folks, welcome to our ongoing coverage of the Ahmaud Arbery case! Today the court trying the defendants in the Ahmaud Arbery case finalized the questions that would be asked of prospective jurors during general voir dire, Judge Walmsley substantially increased the number of peremptory strikes permitted, and the general voir dire of the first group of prospective jurors began.

Hey folks, Today begins our live, real-time coverage of the trial proceedings in the Ahmaud Arbery case, in which defendants Greg McMichael, his son Travis McMichael, and neighbor William "Roddy" Bryan are on trial for murder and other felony charges over the death of Ahmaud Arbery. Today...

Welcome to today’s Law of Self Defense Members-only content! I am, of course, Attorney Andrew Branca, for Law of Self Defense. Today I’d like to share with you seven demonstrably true facts surrounding the Ahmaud Arbery case that would appear to provide considerable context around Arbery’s deadly charge at Travis McMichael on February 23, 2020, resulting in Arbery’s death—but which the jury in the trial of Travis McMichael, his father Greg McMichael, and neighbor (and amateur videographer) William “Roddy” Bryan will probably never hear before arriving at verdicts in this case.

Hey folks, Welcome to our ongoing Law of Self Defense coverage of the criminal trial of Kyle Rittenhouse. As you all know, Kyle Rittenhouse has been charged with a number of crimes for his conduct in Kenosha WI on the night of August 25, 2020, amidst violent rioting in the city fomented by elements of Antifa, Black Lives Matter, and sympathizers of those groups. Most of the charges against Rittenhouse are serious felonies, including the charge of first-degree reckless homicide for the killing of Joseph Rosenbaum, first-degree intentional homicide for the killing of Anthony Huber, attempted first-degree homicide of Gaige Grosskreutz, and two counts of first-degree reckless endangerment.

I’ve been receiving a virtual tsunami of requests to do a use of force legal analysis of the shooting death of January 6 protestor Ashli Babbitt by Capit0l Police Lieutenant Michael Byrd as Babbitt appeared to be attempting to violently breach the barricaded doorway being guarded by Byrd. In fact, I did a detailed legal analysis of this shooting only days after it occurred—"Capitol Hill Shooting of Ashli Babbitt:  Murder or Justified?” (Jan. 12, 2021)—although as with most of our Law of Self Defense content, access to that analysis was restricted to Law of Self Defense Members, who had the benefit of that analysis almost 8 months ago. The last few days have seen a resurgence in requests for such a legal analysis of the Babbitt shooting, presumably as a result of two events.  First, the August 28 interview of Lt. Byrd by NBC News Correspondent Lester Holt:  “Extended Interview: Capitol Police Lt. Michael Byrd Speaks Out.” Second, an opinion piece on that interview published at The Hill by prominent legal expert Jonathan Turley:  “Justified shooting or fair game? Shooter of Ashli Babbitt makes shocking admission.” So, with those two additional pieces of information and opinion tossed into the legal discussion of the shooting death of Ashli Babbitt it seems an appropriate time to re-visit our legal analysis of that tragic event.  (Fair warning to Law of Self Defense Members—much of this content is re-packaged from our January 12 analysis to which you’ve already had access.)

Welcome to our ongoing post-trial coverage of Minnesota v. Chauvin, following Chauvin being found guilty on all counts.  I am Attorney Andrew Branca for Law of Self Defense.