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Law of Self Defense Tag

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.

Welcome to today’s Law of Self Defense content! I am, of course, Attorney Andrew Branca, for Law of Self Defense LLC. Today I’d like to share with some updated legal analysis of the Alec Baldwin on-set shooting of Halyna Hutchins, a 42-year-old mother and the director of cinematography for Baldwin’s in-production Western movie “Rust.” Ms. Hutchins, tragically, died as a result.  (Also injured by the shot was director Joel Souza, who survived.) Spoiler:  The more we learn about the facts of this case, within the context of New Mexico criminal law, the more this shooting looks increasingly like a crime—specifically, felony involuntary manslaughter.  So, today let’s explore that possibility in further detail.

This past September 17, a white Saint Paul, MN, police officer shot and killed Ronald Davis, a black male. Within five days, organized protests took place against police brutality, complete with professionally printed signs and “Stop Killing People of Color” banners. This is how a “news” (actually propaganda) source, that self-identifies as focusing on “the People’s Struggle," described the shooting:
31-year-old Ronald Davis was a father, recently married, and had just graduated school. After allegedly bumping his vehicle into the back of a cop car, he stepped out of his vehicle and Mattson gunned him down.

On Friday, August 23 , 2019, a Florida jury convicted Michael Drejka, the handicap parking spot shooter who killed Markeis McGlockton, of manslaughter. As a result, at his September 10 sentencing hearing the 48-year-old Drejka will likely be sentenced to a mandatory minimum of 25 years to life in prison, without possibility of early release.

Today’s post is prompted by a strange and horrifying knife attack—strange because it happened on a public street, and horrifying because it involved slashing attacks to the faces of two small children. As you might imagine I’ve been inundated with a single question: would deadly defensive force be lawful against such an attack. Naturally, the answer is both “yes” and ‘no.”

I’m seeing a lot of excitement in the gun community about the decision this week out of the Michigan court of appeals, People v. Siwatu-Salama. The drama around the decision represents some significant expansion of self-defense rights. The decision does nothing of the sort. It is no reason to get excited o. If anything, it does far more to create ambiguity around self-defense than it does to create certainty. To the extent it encourages the defensive display of firearms, it also substantially raises the legal risks for well-intentioned defenders.

The Florida “handicap parking spot shooting” trial of Michael Drejka starts this week, and accordingly news coverage of the case—by which, of course, I mean “media lying” about the case—can be expected to spike. An excellent example of such media lying is found in CNN. In today's post we step through that "news" report and fisk out the many lies within.

I’ve received a lot of requests to comment on the recent arrest of a man who walked into a Springfield, MO Walmart carrying a rifle, wearing body armor, and packing over 100 rounds of ammunition (all that according to news reports, of course). The man was held by gunpoint by another patron of the store, an off-duty firefighter, and turned over to responding Springfield police a few minutes later.

Five years ago, on this exact date, Eric Garner died while violently resisting lawful arrest for a petty crime. Yesterday the Department of Justice announced that there would be no civil rights charges against the police officer most associated with that arrest (although numerous officers were involved). This perfectly reasonable decision by the DOJ —- consistent with similar conclusions drawn by every other official review of this case, including that of a grand jury—has predictably led to confusion and outrage among the ill-informed, so it seems worth taking a moment to recollect the facts and law that apply to the Garner case.

There was a recent leak, in violation of court order, of the 911 call made by former Dallas cop Amber Guyger (mugshot in featured image). The call came immediately after she shot and killed Botham Jean when she mistakenly walked into his apartment, thinking it was her apartment and perceived him as an intruder. This post examines some of the legal implications of Guyger's statements during that 911 call.
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