Kind Mention by Andrew McCarthy at National Review Online

Andrew McCarthy was kind enough to give us a shout-out in his post at National Review on the acquittal of Baltimore Police Officer Caesar Goodson in the most recent “Freddie Gray” Case. Here’s the relevant portion, but of course his whole post is worth a read:

Mosby’s office has repeatedly changed its theory of how police supposedly caused Gray’s death – because she can’t keep her facts straight, and because the facts that have been proven show that no criminal charges should have been brought. Rigging the process, Mosby has tried to influence the jury pool and has concealed exculpatory evidence from the defendants. And as Andrew Branca observes at Legal Insurrection, it has now emerged that (a) the state’s medical examiner originally believed Gray’s death was an accident despite claiming she had always believed it to be a homicide, and (b) Mosby’s parallel investigation never actually took place.

Read more at:

To read the whole thing, click here.

LI: Freddie Gray: VERDICT! Not guilty on all charges!

From my post over at Legal Insurrection:

Minutes ago Judge Barry Williams, sitting in a bench trial, acquitted van driver Officer Caesar Goodson of all charges in the death of Freddie Gray, according to Baltimore Sun reporter Justin Fenton.

Freddie Gray Caesar Goodson not guilty

Goodson had been charged with second-degree depraved heart murder, manslaughter, two counts of vehicular manslaughter, second-degree assault, reckless endangerment, and misconduct in office.  He faced up to 30 years in prison.

This leaves State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby with a record of 0 and 3 in the “Freddie Gray” prosecutions, following the hung jury of Officer William Porter and the acquittal Officer Edward Nero in a bench trial.

The state has argued a revolving array of three different theories of the case for criminal liability of the officers: (1) “Murder by failure to seatbelt”; (2) “Murder by failure to provide timely medical care”; and (3) “Murder by rough ride.”

In order to obtain a conviction on any of the criminal charges the prosecution must, of course, prove each and every element of that charge beyond a reasonable doubt. Over the course of the last three “Freddie Gray” trials, however, it has become increasingly apparent that the prosecution not only lacks sufficient evidence to meet that high burden, it may lack any direct evidence for any of its theories of the case.

To read the whole thing, click here.

I re-assert my theory of the case that Freddie Gray was killed by his own stupidity and Newton’s First Law of Motion.


LI: Freddie Gray: Sheriff Who Swore Charges Against Officers Says He Never Investigated

From my post over at Legal Insurrection:

Well, well, well.  It looks like the civil suits filed against State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby (who brought the prosecution againt the officers) and Baltimore Assistant Sheriff Cogen (who swore out the charges against the officers) is beginning to bear strategic fruit, just as I’d predicted was their true immediate purpose.

Today the Baltimore Sun reports that Cogen now claims in an affidavit that he had “no involvement in the investigation whatsoever.” Instead, he was simply presented with purported evidence by the prosecution and told what the prosecutors had already themselves determined to be the facts of the case.  Cogen affidavit states:

I was also presented with a narrative that formed the basis of the application for statement of charges that I completed by the State’s Attorney’s Office.  The facts, information and legal conclusions contained within … as well as the charges lodged against plaintiff came entirely from members of the State’s Attorney’s Office.

Normally, prosecutors such as Mosby and law enforcement such as Cogen have legal immunity from civil suit for conduct undertaken in the performance of their offices.  Such immunity does not, however, apply where such personnel commit perjury or otherwise act with actual malice.  The officers suing Mosby and Cogen are necessarily claiming exactly such circumstances in order to avoid dismissal of their suit on immunity grounds.

To read the whole thing, click here.

June 6, 1944: D-Day: Had It Gone Wrong

On this date 72 years ago General Dwight D. Eisenhower sent five military divisions by sea and three divisions by air against an area of mainland Europe held by 58 German divisions. Success, needless to say, was far from certain. While planning for success, Eisenhower also had the prudence to prepare for failure–in the form of a 65-word statement accepting full and personal responsibility in the event that the invasion had not succeed:

Our landings in the Cherbourg-Havre area have failed to gain a satisfactory foothold and I have withdrawn the troops. My decision to attack at this time and place was based on the best information available. The troops, the air, and the Navy did all that bravery and devotion to duty could do. If any blame or fault attaches to the attempt it is mine alone.

Fortunately, Eisenhower never needed to read those words.

The contrast between Eisenhower, who would of course go on to be President, and the Obama administration is remarkable. Eisenhower planed for success, but nevertheless prepared for possible failure, and the assumption of personal responsibility for that failure–typically, the American people for being too stupid to understand his vision. In Obama we have a president who plans only for success, who makes no plans for failure, who consistently fails with a regularity otherwise found only in fine timepieces, and who invariably finds some factor other than himself to blame for that failure.

Many thanks to the men, both those who have passed and the few who remain alive, who made the Normandy invasion both possible and successful.

Was Samuel R. Hayes III of "Caliber Training Group" Charged with Multiple Criminal Felonies?

Well, the feedback generated by my earlier post, “Meet ‘Caliber Training Group,’ Samuel R. Hayes III” has been overwhelming, to say the least.   It seems my own limited experience with Mr. Hayes this last 24 hours has not been unique.

Perhaps the most interesting feedback has centered around Mr. Hayes’ own claim that “Again, I’ve had more than my fair share of rides in the back of police cars while handcuffed … ”  I found this a rather odd claim by someone who professes to teach self-defense professionally, but I am generally too busy to give such nonsense much further thought.

Apparently others on the internet have the time to dig into these things, however, because additional information allegedly about Mr. Hayes’ purported past interactions with the criminal justice system started coming to my attention.  This information pointed specifically to a felony criminal charge brought against a “Samuel Reginald Hayes III” in Cobb County GA in 2002.

Is the “Samuel Reginald Hayes III” charged with a criminal felony in the records below the same “Samuel R. Hayes III” who runs “Caliber Training Group” out of the Atlanta GA area? It’s impossible for me to know for certain. Of course, Mr. Hayes would know for certain, and if he’d care to deny that he is the same person in these online records I’m more than happy to post that denial prominently.  Sadly, my previous communication to Mr. Hayes asking for clarification about his “more than my fair share” of handcuffed police car rides has gone unanswered.

The first source sent my way was from a very non-official site,  I can make no representations as to the accuracy of the information on this site.  In any case, it indicates that a “Samuel Hayes Iii” was arrested on March 13, 2002 in Stone Mountain GA on three charges:  One count of criminal trespass (§16-7-21) and two counts of criminal damage to property in the 2nd degree (§16-7-23). The criminal trespass charge is a mere misdemeanor.  The two counts of 2nd degree property damage, however, are both punishable by one to five years, normally indicating a felony offense. (Caveat: I do not practice law in Georgia.)

This record also provides a physical description and a photo.  This “Samuel Hayes Iii” is described as being 31 years of age at the time of his arrest in 2002–so this was clearly not a momentary teenage indiscretion, but rather the act of a grown man–making him currently 45 years old.  The accompanying picture of “Samuel Hayes Iii” bears to my eye a marked resemblance to a more current photo of the much older, much heavier Samuel Hayes III associated with Caliber Training Group, but I leave to your discretion whether it appears to your own eye that the photo of “Hayes Iii” appears apparently be a much younger, much slimmer version of the older “Hayes III.”  There is, of course, purportedly a 14-year time gap between the two photos.

Samuel Hayes comparison

Still, it seems unfair to place much weight on some site called Arrest.Org. Which raises the question of what more official sources of information on criminal proceedings in Georgia have to say about a “Samuel R. Hayes III”?

Interestingly, in the same year indicated in the Arrest.Org record of 2002 there exists a criminal proceeding for “State v. Hayes, Samuel Reginald III” in the Clerk Superior Court of Cobb County, GA., Case #: 02902465 – 34.  This record lists only a single charge of CRIM DAM PROP 2ND, so just the single criminal felony charge rather than the multiple felony, and single misdemeanor, charge listed at Arrest.Org.

The arraignment is indicated as taking place on August 27, 2002, which would be consistent with an appearance ticket written the previous March, as indicated in the Arrest.Org record.  Ultimately, this record suggests that the prosecution decided to refrain from proceeding with prosecution (nolle pros) of the felony charges in exchange for “Samuel R. Hayes III” agreeing to pay restitution for the alleged property damage.

Screen Shot 2016-06-02 at 12.53.52 PM

There is also a separate record of apparent restitution payment in the same Case # 02902465, from “Hayes Samuel Reginald III” to one “Tina Proctor,” this record also sourced from the Clerk Superior Court of Cobb County, GA:

Screen Shot 2016-06-02 at 12.54.14 PM

It seems clear, then, that some Samuel R. Hayes III was charged in 2002 in Cobb County, GA with the felony offense of second degree criminal property damage, and avoided prosecution on that felony charge by agreeing to pay restitution.

Whether that’s the same Samuel R. Hayes III who runs the Caliber Training Group out of Atlanta, GA seems possible, perhaps even likely, but again I wasn’t personally present for any of these proceedings, so there’s no way I could know for a certainty.

The specific names are pretty much identical, the regions match closely, the ages seem correct given the timeframes, and the Samuel R. Hayes III who runs Caliber Training Group has communicated to me personally that he’s had considerable experience (“more than my fair share”) of riding around handcuffed in the back of police cars.

I suppose the best person to provide a definite answer to the question of whether these are the same person would be the Samuel R. Hayes III who runs the Caliber Training Group, but he has declined to respond to my inquiry on the matter, as is his right.

Ah well. Some mysteries, I suppose, must be left unsolved.



One Drawback to the "Say NOTHING to the Police!" Approach

Many people advocate that in the aftermath of a defensive use-of-force event you say literally nothing to the police except that you want to speak with your lawyer. And that “Say NOTHING” approach is one way to go.

At Law of Self Defense, however, we suggest you consider an alternative, the “Say LITTLE” approach–meaning, saying a few very specific things, then asserting your rights to silence and counsel. Among the things we suggest saying, even before having your attorney present, is that your use of force was an act of self-defense.

One reason we suggest this is that most claims of self-defense are simply BS claims by bad guys, and these are often fabricated after the fact while they’re sitting in their holding cell. If you defer claiming self-defense until hours after your first interaction with the police, you begin to look a lot like one of those fabricators. And if you DO, you can rest assured that this fact will be brought up in trial.

As an example, there is currently a murder trial taking place in Las Cruces NM over a 2014 shooting. In that event the defendant “shooter” who is now claiming self-defense was read his rights, and then refused to say anything further.

This was brought up before the jury at trial:

After agreeing that he understood his Miranda rights, [defendant] Chan declined to be interviewed by LCPD detective Rene Molenda about the incident, according to audio, which sounded slightly muffled in the courtroom.

Rene Molenda said that Chan “appeared disassociated” when he spoke with him but not impaired.

[Prosecutor] Clark asked Molinda if any other officers had told him that Chan had claimed earlier the shooting was an act of self-defense.

“I don’t recall hearing that information,” Molenda said.

Source: “Trial Day 5: Hotel Encanto guests heard arguing, gunshots”

So the defendant “Said NOTHING!” about self-defense at the time of the event, raising the justification only much later.

Why do you think the prosecutor asked that question? Answer: to solicit that response. A skilled prosecutor NEVER asks a question without the deliberate intent of obtaining a specific response, and with a specific purpose for obtaining that response.

What do you think is the point the prosecutor is trying to get across to the jury? That the defendant was fully capable when first questioned by officers of stating that he’d acted in self-defense, if that were in fact the case, but he nevertheless didn’t say a WORD about self-defense when presented with that opportunity.  Sure looks a lot like the common criminal who fabricates a claim of self-defense after the fact.

What’s the jury going to think? That a person who has acted in lawful self-defense has no reason to defer saying so, because acting in lawful self-defense is LAWFUL.

If you’re going to EVER claim self-defense as a justification for your actions, you’re necessarily going to HAVE to concede it was YOU who executed that use of defensive force, ANYWAY. So there’s absolutely no legal harm that can come to you from stating to the police at the scene–I acted in self-defense–what you’re inevitably going to have to state later on in the process, anyway.

The advantage of the “Say NOTHING” approach is that if you say NOTHING, then nothing you say can be used against you in court.

But don’t for a moment imagine that the “Say NOTHING” approach doesn’t also come with some very substantial baggage. Being made to look as if you fabricated your claim of self-defense after the fact is just one of the weaknesses of the “Say NOTHING” approach.

LI: Freddie Gray Trial: Defendant Officer Porter Testifies

From my post over at Legal Insurrection:

Today the defendant in the “Freddie Gray” trial, Police Officer William Porter, took the stand from about 11:00am to 3:30pm to testify on his own behalf.  He testified both on direct examination by his defense attorneys and on cross-examination by prosecutor Schatzow.  (The following recounting, and particularly any quotes, is largely based upon the periodic tweets sent out by journalist Justin Fenton from his live Twitter feed (@justin_fenton) and from his end-of-day Baltimore Sun post with colleague Kevin Rector.  My independent remarks are in parenthesis.)

Direct Examination

Direct examination of Porter was begun by defense counsel Murtha.  He asked why Porter had not called for medical attention for Gray early on in the encounter, and Porter replied that he did not do so because Gray “was unable to give any reason for any kind of medical emergency,” and  because he couldn’t see any visible signs of a need for medical attention.

Asked why he didn’t seatbelt Gray into the van, Porter replied that no one gets a seat belt. He went on to explain that he has participated in one manner or another in 150 arrests involving a police van, and has never seen any suspect belted in.

To read the whole thing, click on over to Legal Insurrection.

LI: Freddie Gray Trial: Famous Pathologist Vincent Di Maio term’s death an accident

From my post over at Legal Insurrection:

The defense has opened with a bang in the “Freddie Gray” trial of Police Officer William Porter, bringing to the stand as their first witness noted forensic pathologist Dr. Vincent Di Maio, who is testifying that Gray’s death should have been ruled an accident, not a homicide.

As reported by Kalani Gordon at the Baltimore Sun:

Dr. Vincent Di Maio, a forensic pathologist and former chief medical examiner in San Antonio, said Gray’s injury was “so violent, it’s so high-energy,” that it would have immediately caused Gray to lose control of his body and his diaphragm, which is critical for breathing and speaking.

“This has all the appearances of a single catastrophic injury,” he said.

Gray could not have suffered his severe spinal cord, then, at the fourth stop of the van in which he was injured, when Porter found him on the floor of the van and Gray allegedly asked for help, said he couldn’t breathe and said he needed a medic.

The injury had essentially “cut off the head from the body” in a neurological sense, Di Maio testified. He said Gray’s spinal cord was 80 percent crushed.

“You had a head and a body and they were disconnected,” he said. “You aren’t feeling anything. You aren’t able to move. He was paralyzed. He was quadriplegic.”

Dr. Di Maio went on to characterize the injury as an “accident,” and not a “homicide”:

Di Maio said he believed Gray was injured between the fifth and sixth stops, and that his death was not a homicide as state medical examiner Dr. Carol Allan found, but an accident.

“It’s just an accident,” he said, “and accidents happen.”

On cross-examination by the prosecution, Dr. Di Maio was adamant that Gray would have been unable to speak after the injury (meaning that Gray could not have already suffered his injury at the stop at which he asked Porter for help):

[Prosecutor] Schatzow pointed out that Gray’s spinal cord was not 100 percent cut, and questioned whether Di Maio was sure that Gray would not have been able to speak at the fourth stop in which he talked with Porter.

“Impossible?” Schatzow asked.

“Yes sir,” Di Maio said.

“Completely impossible,” Schatzow asked.

“Yes, sir.”

To read the whole thing, click over to Legal Insurrection.