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Today’s show covers the shooting in New Mexico this past weekend, during a protest about a purportedly offensive statue, in which one protestor was non-fatally shot several times. The shooter, Steven Baca, has since been charged with aggravated assault with a firearm in a criminal complaint that I’ve included below the video for today’s show.
In reviewing the available video evidence, relevant New Mexico law, and the criminal complaint, it appears all but certain that Baca’s conduct in firing the shots was a lawful use of defensive force, for reasons we explain in detail in today’s show.
Also below the video is a transcript of today’s show, for those of you who prefer to read rather than watch video.
That said, it also seems that most everybody involved in this event was pretty much an idiot, and they would each have been much better served had they simply stayed home.
Enjoy the show!
Attorney Andrew F. Branca
Law of Self Defense LLC
Criminal Complaint, Page 1:
Criminal Complaint, Page 2:
Welcome, everybody. Welcome to the Law of Self Defense After Action Analysis Show for June 17, 2020. Come on in folks come on in, Make yourselves comfortable. For those who don’t know, I am attorney Andrew Branca for law, self defense.
After Action Analysis Shows, I should explain for anyone who’s new, we take a use of force event caught on video, and we do a plain English legal analysis of that use of force event. Was it a good shoot and not good shoot? Why? All based on actual Self Defense Law, so statutes, jury instructions, court decisions.
Yesterday I had suggested that this week our our video analysis would be of the Rayshard Brooks shooting in Georgia. But we frankly covered it in so much detail, the relevant issues, yesterday, in our Cases of the Week Show (https://lawofselfdefense.com/cases-of-the-week-june-16-2020/) that I think this week on the After Action Analysis Show we will instead focus on the New Mexico brouhaha, the shooting that just occurred over the weekend down in New Mexico. So I hope you’re all prepared to settle in for that.
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Okay, so there was a shooting in New Mexico this weekend, and I have a bunch of video clips and a bunch of still frame captures and a bunch of PowerPoint slides to share with all of you
First, before I jump into this, the Prime Directive for all of you folks in use of force scenarios, always, the best way to win a fight is to not be there. Do not be there, okay?
Everyone involved in this thing was a dope. Everyone was committing a breach of the peace. Everyone was creating unnecessary physical and legal liability for themselves.
Not to give away a spoiler, I expect this is a lawful shoot where many of us would call a good shoot. That does not mean that I think it’s good that the person got shot, who got shots. It simply means I think the use of force, the actual shooting, probably falls within the bounds of the law. That’s my expert legal opinion. I’m not happy that anybody got shot. I don’t think the guy who did the shooting was a genius. I think he was an idiot. But that’s a separate issue from whether or not the use of force was within the law.
Again, just because something may be lawful and I expect this shooting was lawful. But just because something may be lawful doesn’t mean it’s a smart thing to do, or alternatively, more accurately, doesn’t mean it was smart of you to put yourself in a position where it was likely you were going to have to shoot somebody to avoid getting killed or maimed.
So this whole New Mexico scenario is best understood not as one conflict, but in three distinct stages.
An initial fight. Frankly, I think the initial fight was really a mutual combat.
Then a flight from the fight, separation, at which point the first fight ended, folks for legal purposes.
And then there was a second fight.
And the law requires us to look at each of these stages differently because there are legal implications for an event rolling out in this way.
So what do we have in the first fight? Well, this is where all those videos start. Everyone’s standing around the statue. There’s a lot of pushing, shoving going on. It would seem to me by pretty everyone involved. there appear to be armed people there who are trying to protect the statue. I’m not sure why there are there. People there who seem intent on pulling down the statue. I’m not sure why they are there. None of their motives in that respect are important for use of force law analysis.
And frankly, it’s not at all clear that any one person was the initial aggressor. I mean, we have a group of people who want to pull down the statue. They’re acting, not of course as peaceful protesters or at least many of them aren’t, the ones that certainly come to our attention are acting in a property destructive and personally destructive manner, threatening manner. But, you know, the guy who ended up firing the shots, he’s also acting in a pretty aggressive manner, and he’s there in the first place, which he doesn’t have to be there. That’s not his job to be there. He chose to enter that confrontational space.
And frankly, to my eye, it really looks like everyone in is more or less a non deadly force, mutual combat, everyone’s pushing, shoving, yelling, screaming, being obnoxious. So I don’t think anybody has any particular privilege in this context, for this first fight, this is before the shots are fired, in this first fight, of any claim to authority, any claim to self defense, any claim to any justification, they’re all just being a bunch of dopes.
So that said, I do want to focus on because there is a lot being made of the fact that the guy who fired the shots, was confrontational, was physical earlier, and did he provoke the fight? Is he responsible? Did he lose self defense as a result of that conduct?
So let’s take a look at what he actually did in some context. So I have a video clip I’m going to share with you, one of his kind of pushing events which one side of the party is calling, you know, at least a simple battery on his part. I’m not so clear it was a simple battery when I roll the video and all these video clips are very short, just a few seconds. So I’ve looped a few of them, so they’re about 20 seconds long, just so we can capture what’s important in each of these.
In this one, I have a still shot here of the first video. And you’ll notice there’s two women here who are physically aggressively putting their hands on this guy, the guy in the blue shirt is the man who would be the shooter.
They’re pushing him there’s a physical confrontation going on, and he’s pushing them back. Now in the little selective video clips we’re seeing on Twitter, mostly we’re just seeing him pushing back, which makes it look like he’s the sole initial aggressor, as opposed to a mutual combatant with these other people.
But I think if you look at the video in context, you’ll see that everyone’s pushing so this is much more a mutual combat situation in which no one is privileged to justify their use of force and self defense, rather than a case in which this man simply walks into the crowd and starts shoving people around. So here’s that first video clip from
So you see there’s pushing going back and forth between everyone involved. It’s not pretty on anybody’s part. A lot of yelling, pushing, shoving physical conduct. So I don’t think anyone the man in the blue shirt or the other people involved have any claim of self defense here as a justification for the use of force for all non deadly force mutual combatants.
What about the next video clip? Well, there’s another video clip here where We’ll see a woman and the man in the blue shirt on the right side of the screen and the right circle, the woman will start climbing up towards the statue, the man appears to follow her up and then knock her down.
That much of the action is obscured by other people’s bodies. She gets up pretty quick so it doesn’t look like she was pushed down to forcefully if she was pushed down at all. But again, I really think this is a mutual combat type of situation. But for full context, I wanted to share this one with you as well. So there goes the girl going up the steps, he follows her certainly peers pushes her down, and she pops back up. That’s all there is to this one pushes her down and she pops back up. Not much harm done.
In this next video clip we’ll see him rather forcefully throw a woman into the ground. This is the woman in front of him.
You’ll see when I play the video clip she is aggressively blocking his movement. She’s making contact with him, he attempts to move around her and she steps to maintain her position in front of them. She’s got her arm up around his neck area. So again, I think both of these are people are being dopes. I think they’re both against engaged in physical aggression with each other. But they’re both doing it, it’s a more much more a mutual combat situation than any kind of simple assault or simple battery taking place, in my opinion. So here’s this video clip.
See, you’re blocking, moving, and he rather violently throws it to the ground.
But I don’t expect all that much harm was done. Certainly, there’s no report of a great deal of harm. And of course, she was physically engaging with him. She’s doing this deliberately, you can see her moving, to maintain her position to block his progress. That’s not lawful either, folks. That’s a battery. You’re not allowed to do that. So arguably, she was, and we hear in other cases now this qualifies as false imprisonment, right? Sometimes felony false imprisonment. For blocking someone else’s freedom of movement, their progress, which is what she’s doing here.
So we have all that going on, but let’s assume, let’s assume the worst possible view of all that. Let’s assume that everything the shooter did all the pushing, shoving, he did was not mutual combat. He was the initial physical aggressor and every one of those confrontations he has 100% criminal liability for that use of force and none of the other people have any liability whatever. The worst possible view of this these uses of force early on.
It’s still only at worst simple battery, folks. There’s no deadly force being used here. And therefore there would be no justification for anyone to use deadly force against him. In response to his non deadly only only use of force. If he was truly a non deadly force aggressor and they wanted to neutralize that threat they could have used non deadly means, deploy pepper spray, for example, which, as we all know, later, it appears he had on his person.
Again, folks, he had both a gun and pepper spray on this person and he went to this event. It’s just, it’s just not good decision making, as he’ll realize now, but in fact, what happens, even if we assume the worst and we assume he’s the non deadly force, aggressive through all of this preliminary stuff, he becomes the victim of a deadly force attack. I have a screen capture here of this.
He’s approached by a masked man is really coming at him from the blind side. It’s a little hard to tell in this photo, swinging a skateboard at his face, folks, you swing a skateboard at someone’s face that is deadly force that’s force readily capable of causing death or maiming injury, serious bodily injury, this is a deadly force attack, and if anybody doesn’t think so let me know. And I’ll
I’ll write up a liability waiver and you can volunteer to be the test subject. But I expect there’s not a rational person in the world who’s ready to take a skateboard to the head. Sorry about that forgot to put the image up for all of you. But here it is. Now.
This is the still capture. I’m going to show you the video loop right now. But this is the critical moment. The person obviously wearing back targeting the skateboard at the face, the head of the man in the blue shirt. So here is that video clip.
He pretty clearly realizes right now that he’s actually thinks he wants to get out. He wants to withdraw from this confrontation, finally some prudent decision making.
Now his decision to withdraw here has important implications legally. Because now we’re entering the second stage of the fight. Remember I said there were three stages, there was the initial fight that just ended. And now he’s withdrawing from the fight. That’s the second stage of this confrontation. And then we’ll see a third fight develops.
And why is all this important? Because if you’re engaged in a confrontation, and you withdraw from that confrontation, you can legally regain your innocence. You can regain your innocence.
So even if you were the initial aggressor, in a confrontation, and let’s assume the worst and assume this guy, everything he did were initial acts of aggression. He was not a mutual combatant. He was completely responsible for everything and everyone else involved was a totally insane party. I don’t believe that. But let’s assume that as the world case, even if you were the initial aggressor in a confrontation, it’s possible for you to regain your innocence. And every state has some provision for this.
We find it in New Mexico law, under jury instruction 14-5191 (http://lawofselfdefense.com/14-5191). And I do encourage you to read it, although it’s very short, and I’m basically going to show it, the full text of it to here anyway, but for future reference.
So how do you go about regaining your innocence? Well, let’s look at what the jury instruction actually says. The jury instruction says 14-5191, self defense is not available to the defendant if he started the fight or agreed to fight. So if you were the initial aggressor, you started the fight or you agreed to fight, you’re a mutual combatant, self-defense is not available to the defendant if he did either of those things aggressor or mutual combatant unless …
And, folks ,and that “unless” gives away the game, doesn’t it, because the “unless” tells us that we’re about to see a bunch of conditions, that if those conditions are met self defense is available to the defendant even if he started the fight or was a mutual combatant.
Now, it’s important to keep in mind remember we’re looking at this in terms of there being these three stages to this confrontation, the first fight, the withdraw, the second fight. If you’re the initial aggressor in the first fight, and you regain innocence, you’re not regaining it for purposes of that first fight. You’re regaining innocence for purposes of the second fight.
So if you were the initial aggressor, you committed a simple assault or a simple battery or you were a mutual combatant in the initial fight, you’re still responsible for that. Regaining your innocence doesn’t work retroactively, you still have whatever criminal liability you would normally have had for that first fight.
But by meeting the conditions for regaining innocence, which we’ll see in a moment, you regained innocence for events moving forward from that. So that’s a key factor here. So what are those conditions?
We have the first part of that jury instruction, I’ll show it to you again. Self Defense is not available to the defendant it’d be started the fight or agreed to fight Unless Unless he meets the following conditions.
Those conditions are, first, the defendant tried to stop the fight. Number two, the defendant has to let the others know that he no longer wants to fight And three, the others then became the aggressors, meaning they would have become, of course, the aggressors in a second fight.
Now, there are a lot of ways to stop the fight, let the other people know he didn’t want to fight anymore. There are, the best way to do that, of course, is to do it verbally. We don’t have a good sense of what was said in this confrontation, because of all the shouting going on. For all he knew, we know, this defender could have verbally stated, hey, I don’t want to fight anymore.
But most often, this kind of quote unquote communication is constructive communication. It’s less literal verbiage, then reasonable inferences from your conduct. So obviously, someone walking away from a fight no longer wants to fight, right. If they wanted to keep fighting, they would stay. So they don’t necessarily have to say “I don’t want to fight anymore,” if their conduct is consistent with not wanting to fight anymore. That’s constructive communication of their desire to stop fighting.
So under New Mexico law which is very similar in every other state, if you meet these three conditions, you try to stop. You let the other party know you want to stop and they reengage with you they become the aggressor. You’ve regained innocence for that second fight against their reengagement, their active aggression, even if you were the aggressor in the first fight.
So where are those conditions met here? Well, I would suggest that they were so let’s take a look at a another video clip here.
This one should start right about where that initial skateboard attack takes place. Here we go.
So what’s he doing there? In that video clip, he managed to avoid that green skateboard to the head. And he immediately starts to disengage. There may have been a moment where he led off a burst of pepper spray there, it’s hard to tell. He does appear to have pepper spray in his hand, but he’s clearly walking away from the confrontation, and at least constructively communicating his withdrawal. This is a screen capture from that little video.
So we can see he’s backing up. He’s got his left hand up, palm out, that’s a placating motion, not a threatening motion. I don’t want to trouble I’m leaving. He does have what appears to be a can of pepper spray in his right hand, which again, is non-deadly defensive force, if used for defensive purposes, and certainly now that he’s backing off whatever his use of the pepper spray may have been in the crowd, I guess an argument could be made that was an offensive use, but any use now would be a defensive use as he’s trying to do get away from the confrontation.
Okay, here we actually have the pursuit, so he’s withdrawing, he’s got his hand up in a placating moment motion. He does it a couple of times. By the way, that first one I showed you before. Here’s another image. He’s got again, his left palm up, palm outward, the pepper spray in his hand.
But in fact, he is then pursued by the other parties. Sean’s asking if I’ve seen the criminal complaint. I have not yet Shawn. If you have it handy and want to send it to me, that would be appreciated.[AFB: Now embedded above this transcript.]
I’ve had a quick look at the first page but didn’t really have a chance to read it. The person who sent it to me, only sent me the first page for some reason. So I don’t have the complete complaint in any case. So he’s got his hand out.
He’s, again disengaging from the fight, and then he’s pursued by the other party. So look again at the conditions that have to be met to regain your innocence. Even if he had started the fight, try to stop the fight. Let the other people know at least constructively, that he wants to no longer fight and then the other party becomes the aggressor. That’s certainly what appears to happen here.
The other party becomes the aggressor. And in this case, they become a deadly force aggressor. So not only do they pursue, but they escalate the confrontation from what was only non-deadly force the deadly force. Now I’d argue he’s already been threatened with deadly force, that first green skateboard to the head was deadly force, but we see it happens again here.
So, here’s a more extensive clip. This one should take us all the way to the shots being fired. It starts with him being pursued again. I think I muted the volume if you want. If I left the volume in please mute it yourself. I did put little closed captions on here to get across the important parts of what’s being verbalized here. So you don’t need the audio to understand what’s going on. So here we go with this video.
Shouting again, he’s walking away, really disengaging. Then he’s pursued, the chase, by men and women by the way.
He’s on the ground. Now he’s the victim of a mob attack and they tell him they’re gonna kill him.
And then, as we’ll see in a moment, they swing at him with the skateboard. And that’s when the shots are fired immediately thereafter.
Here’s a screen capture. It’s kind of hard to tell, but they’re swinging now, there’s a new gentleman with a skateboard, black skateboard, swinging the skateboard at this guy’s head.
Now, a good argument could be made that merely the disparity of numbers in this attack would be sufficient to constitute a deadly force threat. Remember, deadly force threat doesn’t have to be a threat that will kill you. It has to be a threat that will kill you or cause serious bodily injury, a maiming kind of injury and a mob attack can certainly do this. There’s no way you’re going to defend yourself against five or six people attempting to beat you down. That’s not possible outside of the movies.
But in any case, he doesn’t have to rely on the argument that he perceived perceived a deadly force threat based on the disparity of numbers, because this dude is swinging a skateboard at his head. And in fact, it’s this dude who gets shot by the way in the bottom part of that circle. You can see he’s got his gun out at this point.
So the dude with the skateboard is swinging at the blue T-shirt man’s head, the blue T-shirt man’s got his gun out, and moments after this occurs, the four shots start .
So let’s watch the clip again with that context, generalized shouting, chase the man down to the ground, a beat-down ensues. Then skateboard guy comes in, swings, for the head, then four fast shots, and screaming
By the way, I’ll note in passing that the the time interval between the skateboard to the head and the initiation of the four shots is about half a second. That’s quick, folks.
We see the skateboard dropped to the ground. There’s no way a defender in that circumstance victim of a mob attack just been told he’s going to be killed. has to deflect the skateboard away from his head. There’s no way within half a second he’s going to realize the skateboards no longer a weapon. He made the decision, to fire that shot more than half a second prior and you simply can’t reverse a decision that quickly.
You can’t expect a person to recognize that a threat that was apparent half a second prior is no longer apparent, the decision process to recognize the threat, develop a plan to neutralize that threat, and the physical action required to execute that plan all take more than half a second.
Okay, so let’s look at what we have here. So we have that whole regaining innocence. Those three conditions which I would argue are met and all this pursuit, is the initiation of the other party’s becoming now the initial aggressor in that fight. Now I have heard some discussion being made about well, these people pursuing him they were just engaged in a citizen’s arrest.
Now I find it interesting when one side of the party, one side of the aisle doesn’t like the outcome, like we have a citizen’s arrest in the Ahmad Aubry case, then we need nationwide federal legislation to do away with the these racist citizens arrest laws, but when they like the outcome of the citizens arrest when citizens rest is favorable to their position, suddenly they think citizens arrest is a perfectly reasonable thing to do.
And then in this case, unlike Georgia in the Arbury case, New Mexico has no statutory privilege of citizens arrest. They have had a common law privileges citizens arrest, as has have every state i mean citizens arrest, old, old law and the the common law privileges citizens rest allows for citizen’s arrest in case of reasonable suspicion of a felony or breach of the peace.
But this is not law I would want to rely on first of all, it’s common law. It’s very old. It was developed in the different era. An era before we had organized, formalized police departments.
And since then the New Mexico legislature has passed a number of statutes on the powers of arrest. And they’ve explicitly limited the powers of arrest in statutory language to sworn law enforcement officers, period.
So when the legislature acts in that way they bestow a power only on one limited group, the implication is that they don’t want another group to have that power. If they wanted there to be a citizen’s arrest statute there would be one. There is not.
And the common law privileges citizens arrest, you only see it in the New Mexico appellate court decisions when it’s raised as a defense to a criminal charge. So somebody assaults somebody else. And when they’re charged with criminal assault, they try to justify that conduct through the legal defense of citizens arrest, like you might raise a legal defense of self defense, or legal defense of coercion, or the legal defense of alibi.
So citizens arrest in New Mexico law is far more recognized as a legal defense raise the trial than it is some kind of kind of affirmative privilege to detain or arrest someone for suspicion of a felony or breaching the police. By the way, everyone involved here was breaching the peace. So if you’re going to make the argument that they could arrest this dude for breaching the peace, he could equally have argued while he had the power of arrest to arrest all of them for breaching the police breaching the peace, rather.
So there’s that problem with the citizens rest argument under New Mexico law. But even if New Mexico had an affirmative statutory citizens arrest law that would apply to these protesters who pursued this gentleman, they got a problem, because there’s no privilege to use deadly force solely for the purpose of making an arrest, not even for law enforcement. So if it’s not available for law enforcement, it’s certainly not available for a citizen making an arrest.
We can argue about the scope of citizens arrest in the context of using non-deadly force to make a citizen’s arrest. That scenario may be more ambiguous under the law, but there’s no privilege to use deadly force to make a citizen’s arrest.
There’s no privilege to use deadly force for a police officer to make an arrest. deadly force is permissible only when there is a deadly force threat to innocent parties. So, here I threw up some New Mexico appellate court decision case law from 2002. They have lots of cases like these, this is just one example.
But this is the law everywhere, folks, there’s no citizens arrest law that allows you to use deadly force. And that black skateboard to the head at the end of that confrontation was definitely a deadly force attack. So there’s no way to justify that conduct as a lawful citizens arrest.
And you might say, well, the other people didn’t hit him with a skateboard and the trouble is, if you’re acting as a mob, every member of the mob is responsible for the worst conduct of the mob, the worst conduct of the worst individual member. It’s as if two people were holding your arms so a third person could stab you. The people holding your arms aren’t stabbing you, but all three of them are murdering you. They’re not less responsible. They’re aiding and abetting the crime. This guy is able to bring a skateboard into bear only because he’s working cooperatively with the other people attacking this guy.
Let’s see what else.
I think that’s most of the comments I have on this bottom line. I think this is almost certainly a good shoot in the sense that I think the firing of the four shots was probably lawful defensive force under the circumstances based on the evidence we have and in in the context of the relevant New Mexico law. Doesn’t mean I’m glad to do to get shot got shot, doesn’t mean I any of this is good. Again, these are all a bunch of dopes. None of them should be out there doing this, whatever the privileges are, the rights are to do it.
Obviously we all have a right to peaceful protest, not that much of that seems to be going on. But in any case, whatever you might think of the protesters pulling down statues, this guy also did not have to be there and he’s going to suffer a great deal of expense, a great deal of stress.
And, you know, the risk of getting convicted is never going to be zero, folks. It’s never zero. There’s at least a 10% chance I don’t care how innocent you are, so he could end up getting convicted of whatever they’re hitting him with a criminal charge. I believe that was aggravated battery with a firearm, which which is a very serious felony folks, you could be in jail a very, very, very long time. It’d be it’d be ends up getting convicted and there’s no way for that risk to be zero.
Except of course the only way for the risks to be zero would to not have been there in the first place. Not getting gauged by these people.
Okay, folks, let’s meet I’ll scroll up and look through the comments. Hey, Wayland, good to see you here again Wayland public defender from California and a graduate Law of Self Defense LEVEL 1 Class, when I taught it out in Sacramento,
I hope all of you are staying safe by the way. I’m serious about that advice. Don’t go to places where there’s trouble, please.
New Mexico is a stand your ground state. It is a standard ground state. Unfortunately, it’s a soft standard ground state. So, a prosecutors free to argue that sure you didn’t have any legal duty to withdraw, but a reasonable person would have withdrawn and therefore your failure to do that when you could have safely was unreasonable conduct reasonable contracts required for self defense, so he can argue to the jury they should deny you self defense, because of your unreasonable failure to retreat, even though retreat is not a legal duty.
There’s only about six states that are hard standard ground states that really take the duty to retreat completely of thetable I don’t believe I guess it’s possible. I’m mistaken but I don’t believe New Mexico is one of those six. [AFB: It is not.]
What else do we have?
Shooter had a good split time. He did have a good split time. I don’t know how many hits he scored. You know, it’s not that hard to get 0.15s splits, if you’re not worried about hitting anything. It’s one of those things I was wondering about what those those well known Keanu Reeves action shooting YouTube videos.
Sean’s doing 0.9s from the holster. Good. That’s pretty good. You can get lower. Talk to Steve Anderson. He’ll get you lower than that.
Yeah, the crowd shouts threats they’re gonna kill him. You know, even if they don’t mean it, the defender’s going to make reasonable inferences from a threat to kill in combination with the overt actions of the mob. Not to mention the skateboard.
I don’t know how you disprove self-defense beyond a reasonable doubt in that situation with these videos, it would be beyond me how that would be done by the prosecution. Of course, he could still be liable for some use of force prior to his withdrawal. You know, regaining innocence again doesn’t get you off the hook for the first fight. If you were the initial aggressor, you’re still on the hook for that. It can only help you regain your innocence.
Yes, showing maybe this is a softball. we’ve all read these Supreme Court use of force cases, usually civil suit cases involving law enforcement officers and deadly force, Tennessee v. Garner (http://lawofselfdefense.com/garner) and Graham v .Connor (http://lawofselfdefense.com/graham).
Folks, these cases almost never have applications in state-level cases, and almost all self defense cases are state-level cases, you never see them come up, very rarely. If it’s a self-defense case involving a police officer, sometimes you see the reference but never with non-officers as we have here.
So your if you act in self-defense, unless it’s something really weird, like you end up shooting a Federal officer or something along those lines, you’ll be criminally charged with a state-level crime. You’ll be tried in state court. You’ll be raising state-level legal defenses, not federal-level legal defenses. The only way you might end up potentially in federal court is if there’s some kind of civil rights aspect to the case.
Someone says the criminal complaint reads like it was written by a defense attorney every line advocates for the defendant. It’s weird. Yeah, it’s sometimes happens. I mean, frankly, the the initial criminal complaint against officer Chauvin in the George Floyd case, also included, you know, statements very favorable to the defense that didn’t necessarily have to be in the criminal complaint.
I mean, when a prosecutor wants to write a criminal complaint that’s 100% negative for the defense, that’s what they do. So when you see statements in a criminal complaint that appear favorable to the defense, they don’t have to do that. They’re supposed to do that, of course, but they won’t be held accountable if they don’t. So if they’re doing it, it’s only because they want to.
Yeah, I mean, an interesting dynamic to this case. I don’t see it mentioned here, but a comment kind of rang the bell in my head is, well, no one died here, right. So the guy who was shot didn’t die, but imagine if he had died. Well, I would argue all those people attacking the shooter, were committing an aggravated assault, an assault, readily capable of causing death or serious bodily harm. That’s a felony.
And then if a death resulted in the course of the felony, in theory, every one of those people who attacked that man after he withdrew, communicating his desire to withdraw and not fight any longer, had a death resulted in the course of them committing a felony aggravated assault, they could all be on the hook for felony murder had that guy died. But not the shooter whose use of deadly defensive force would have been lawful.
Brandon asked general probability, do you think he will be charged or led off? There’s no way for me to give any kind of assessment on that because it’s entirely at the discretion of the prosecutor. I work with a lot of prosecutors, most of the ones I know are fantastic civil servants, they do a great job. They’re not in it to make a ton of money. Most of the ones I know could make a lot more money in private practice than working as prosecutors.
But prosecutors, many of them are also political creatures and they’re subject to the political winds and charges are brought increasingly by the way are brought for people for political reasons, or, you know, to avoid political disaster, like having a city burned down, for example.
So we see charges brought not because there’s any legal merit to the charges or because the people filing the criminal complaint bringing the charges can’t see the strength of the defense, but because people are screaming for blood and to avoid the city from being burned down, they’re gonna charge somebody, arrest him, charge him with murder, multiple counts of murder, whatever they feel necessary to pile on.
It all becomes legal theater at that point. So I can speak to the legal merits of these cases, but the stuff that’s solely at the discretion of a prosecutor, you know, they’re going to do what they want to do. I mean, hopefully they conduct themselves ethically, but that seems to be in short supply these days.
Dick says his throwing the woman blocking him seems disproportionate. Yeah, I think I probably agree. Looks like a pretty forceful throw. So what’s that then, is that a simple battery? Maybe. So maybe he’s on the hook for that.
Chris asks, even if he’s innocent, could the prosecutor drag the case out to intentionally cost the defendant an exorbitant amount of legal fees to try and get them to plead to a lesser charge?
Well, they generally don’t drag it out. They don’t need to do that. And it can be difficult because you have a US constitutional right to a speedy trial. So the prosecution can only delay the trial so long. Often the defense wants to delay the trial because they want the heat the emotions of the moment to dissipate before they have to start, you know, doing voir dire for for jury selection.
But the prosecutor doesn’t have to stretch things out in order to make it expensive. All he has to do is charge you with ridiculous charge, you know, charge you with attempted murder. Now you’re looking at prison for the rest of your life, and any attorney who is lead counsel on the case, he’s going to want a lot of money for leading an attempted murder, press the fence.
So it just it gets extraordinarily expensive and the more money you have, the more ways your lawyer will find to spend your money. He’ll start bringing in an expert witnesses use of force experts. I mean, he wants the best defense you can afford. So if you have more money, you’ll spend it, and you’ll stop spending when you run out of money. So it’s very easy for a prosecutor to put you in a position where you’re financially destroyed regardless of what the legal outcome of the cases
The cops arrested all the armed militia members. Yeah, listen out. Don’t ever make too much of an arrest. Especially in this kind of chaotic environment. The cops responding to the scene, they don’t know what’s going on. They didn’t see what happened. They’re hearing a lot of shouting a lot of claims. And if there’s a bunch of people there who have obviously have guns on them, like these militia guys did at this event, it’s the easiest thing for the cops is just to cough everybody up arrest everybody and let the let the the later steps of the pipeline resolve what should be done with those people.
You secure the scene, you’re better off cuffing people up. So you don’t end up with some kind of gunfight erupting around you. And then you let the rest of the system deal with it. It doesn’t mean that those people did anything wrong. It doesn’t mean that they’re going to end up criminally charged in a serious way. It doesn’t mean they’re going to end up convicted of anything.
It’s just like when people ask me about the aftermath of self-defense scenarios, what can I do Andrew, what can I tell the cops to reduce my chances of getting arrested, folks? I just don’t care if you’re arrested. That’s the least important part of the of the whole scenario. Just assume you’re going to get arrested, comply with your arrest, go with the arrest. By comply. I don’t mean subservient. I don’t mean chatter, chatter, chatter, I mean, obviously, just don’t physically resist the rest. That’s the least of your concerns. My concern is are you going to spend the rest of your life in a cage with really unpleasant people? That’s the stakes I’m worried about. The arrest to me is completely inconsequential.
Yes, I know every job application in the future you’ll they’ll ask if you’ve been arrested, I guess in the states where they can still ask that question. And you’ll have to say yes. But really, it’s it’s not. It’s a much lesser deal than the other stakes we’re worrying about. If you’re worrying about having terminal cancer you’re not worried about the hangnail. The arrest is the hangnail.
Okay, folks. All right. I think that’s about it ,a little more concise than usual. Let’s see if I have any news to share with all of you.
I guess the one thing I will mention is we do have in a little over a month now, coming up our nextLaw of Self Defense LEVEL 1 Live Online Class. This is our full-day Level 1 class. Many of you in the comments have been through it, I recognize the names.
It’s to my knowledge, the most comprehensive in-depth course of instruction, you can take on self-defense law far more vastly more than I got in law school for sure. And I don’t think any law school teaches this stuff at the appropriate level even today. We do teach it on Saturday, July 25.
We do about three of these a year, this is the second one. So after this, we only have one more in all of 2020. When it fills up, it’s gone. It’s not expensive, folks, I think it’s $99 for a full day, for what I like to call a law school-level education on self-defense law, even if any law school taught this stuff at an appropriate level, which to my knowledge, none of them do.
But when I say law school-level, don’t worry. We translate everything into plain English. So it’s understandable. And our goal is to make this information actionable for you. It’s not a legal theory class, although we do talk about some legal theory because you need to understand that to understand how the law works. We want this information to be actionable for you so you can make better, more confident, more decisive decisions in defense of yourself and your family in the confidence that you’re making them well within the legal boundaries. So if that’s at all of interest, when the seats are gone, the seats are gone, folks.
So it is a webinar. So I teach it live. It’s not a recording, so there’s plenty of opportunity for q&a, but we do stream it to your computer so you don’t have to travel anywhere and more important from my perspective I don’t have to travel anywhere. You can learn more about this buy clicking the image or link below:
Alright folks, I think I will wrap up at this point before I go just a reminder. As always, if if you carry again, like I carry a gun for personal protection, it’s to make sure I’m hard to kill my family is hard to kill folks, you also owe it to yourself to make sure that you know the law so that you’re hard to convict.
Attorney Andrew Branca
Law of Self Defense LLC