Attorney Andrew Branca

Deadly Force to Stop Child Abduction?

Today’s Post of the Day is prompted by a news story about a man attempting to abduct a 9-year-old boy from a Walmart. The boy escaped to his mom, and the police arrived promptly made the arrest., but this raises the question of what degree of force the mother herself would have been privileged to use to prevent this abduction. First, the facts as reported in the news story linked above: A 51-year-old man has …

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LEAKED: “Wrong Apartment” Shooting 911 Recording

Today’s Post of the Day takes a listen to the leaked 911 call made by former Dallas cop Amber Guyger immediately after she shot and killed Botham Jean when she mistakenly walked into his apartment thinking it was her own apartment, and perceived him as an intruder. Interested in the legal implications of that 911 recording? Stand by! The evening of September 6, 2018, then Dallas police officer Amber Guyger returned home to her apartment …

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“Castle Doctrine” ≠ “Stand-Your-Ground”

Today’s Post of the Day focuses on the recently failed attempt by Maine to adopt a “stand-your-ground” law, meaning Maine remains one of the small minority of states that imposes a legal duty to retreat even when facing an imminent, unlawful, unprovoked lethal attack. Good job, Maine. What’s most surprising about this story, however, is the idiotic reasoning given by Maine legislators who opposed the “stand-your-ground” provision. So Maine failed to adopt a proposed “stand-your-ground” …

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Handicap Spot Shooter Declines Immunity Hearing

Today’s Post of the Day focuses on news reports that “handicap parking spot shooter” Michael Drejka is declining to pursue self-defense immunity under Florida law. That raises the question of how self-defense immunity actually works (and doesn’t work) and why Drejka might choose to decline this generous opportunity under Florida law to have his case resolved quickly and inexpensively (relatively speaking).  Overview of the Facts: Video Here’s a quick summary of the facts of …

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A Badge Is Not a License to Threaten Deadly Force

Today’s Post of the Day examines a Utah Supreme Court decision, State v. Bess, 2019 UT 22 (UT Sup. Ct. 2019), handed down earlier this week that affirms the misdemeanor conviction of a police officer for the crime of threatening with a dangerous weapon. But wait—don’t police routinely have to threaten people with dangerous weapons in the normal course of their duties? Yes, but that privilege is not limitless, as this decision illustrates. This case …

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Ex-cop Michael Slager: Murder versus Manslaughter?

Today’s Post of the Day takes a look at the recent appeals of ex-cop Michael Slager, currently serving 20 years for the shooting death of Walter Scott in South Carolina in 2015. This was a high-profile case because Slager, white, shot Scott, black, in the back as Scott was fleeing. (Video of the shooting is in this post.) At issue in these appeals is whether Slager should have received a lesser sentence based on manslaughter …

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Escalate to Deadly Force, Get Shot & Paralyzed

Today’s Post of the Day involves a confrontation between two Pittsburg tow truck operators who got into a rapidly escalating scuffle that resulted in one of them being shot and paralyzed. Good shoot or unlawful use of deadly force? Tow-truck operation is often a highly competitive and sometimes confrontational business, and Pittsburgh is no exception. When drivers are paid by the tow rather than by the hour, there’s an understandable incentive for them to race …

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Defending Against a Reasonably Apparent Threat

Today’s Post of the Day arises out of an event in Florida in which a motorcyclist fired three rounds into a man who punched him in the face, even though the motorcyclist did not first observe a weapon in the man’s possession. Is this “gun versus fist” scenario a violation of the element of proportionality? Were there facts from which the motorcyclist could reasonably infer a deadly force threat? That’s the topic of Today’s Post …

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It’s a Trap! Firearms Sentencing Enhancements

Today’s Post of the Day involves the sentencing of an Illinois man for murder. The interesting part of this case for gun owners? The man was sentenced to 40 years for the murder and then an additional 40 years as a firearms sentencing enhancement. Before we dive into firearms sentencing enhancements, however, let me make a note on this particular defendant, per media reports. There seems little doubt that this particular guy earned his murder …

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“Gun Law” versus “Use-of-Force Law”

Today’s Post of the Day involves an upstate New York homeowner, 64-year-old Ronald Stolarczyk, who shot and killed two apparent home invaders, one a 57-year-old woman and the other her 27-year-old nephew. All facts in this post are as reported Fox News coverage of this story. Given these facts, it would appear that this was a lawful use of force and that the two killings are legally justified.   Indeed, New York is among the states …

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