Attorney Andrew Branca

Churches as Highly-Defensible Property

Alabama continues to make efforts to categorize churches as “highly-defensible property.” This, of course, raises the question of what the phrases “highly-defensible property” means for use-of-force purposes, and how it differs from defense of property generally, as well as from other common use-of-force legal doctrines such as stand-your-ground and self-defense immunity. A recent news report notes: Alabama voters will decide next year whether to approve a Constitutional amendment that would extend ‘stand your ground’ law …

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Self-Defense: An Intentional, not Negligent, Act

Today’s Post of the Day is prompted by a first-degree murder trial out of Kalispell MT that ended up with a hung jury last week according to local news reports. This case raises some interesting technical issues around how a claim of self-defense impacts the appropriateness of a criminal charge based on negligence.  (Yesterday’s Post of the Day discussed this same case in the context of practical consideration of how a hung jury mistrial …

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Hung Jury: A “Win” with Strings Attached

Today’s Post of the Day is prompted by a first-degree murder trial out of Kalispell MT that ended up with a hung jury last week according to local news reports. This case raises some interesting technical issues around an intentional act of self-defense versus an unintentional act of negligence as well as practical issues around a hung jury mistrial. In this case the defendant (one Ryan Lamb, in featured image) and the victim were apparently …

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The Pause That Destroys Self-Defense

Today’s Post of the Day is prompted by a news report on a self-defense/murder trial out of Pennsylvania that’s expected to arrive at a verdict within the next few days. [UPDATE 6/17/19: The defendant was, in fact, found guilty of first-degree murder shortly after this post was written.] The defendant is, naturally, claiming self-defense, and the case touches upon an important facet of the element of imminence—that the privilege to use force against a threat …

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“Soft” v. “Hard” Stand-Your-Ground: A Case Example

Today’s Post of the Day is prompted by the news report of a murder conviction out of Tennessee this week, in a case that touches on the issue of “soft” v. “hard” stand-your-ground. (Yesterday’s Post of the Day also discussed this case, in the context of the self-defense elements of proportionality and innocence.) [UPDATE:  It’s been brought to my attention that although the defendant in this case is from Tennessee, as noted in the news …

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Tree Branch as A Deadly Weapon

Today’s Post of the Day is prompted by the news report of a murder conviction out of Tennessee this week, in a case that involved the self-defense elements of innocence, proportionality, and a tree branch used as a deadly weapon. (It also touches on the issue of “soft” versus “hard” stand-your-ground, but we’ll cover that in our next Post of the Day.) The defendant in this case, 21-year-old Clois Ray Adkins (featured image), had gained …

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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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