A Big Thank You
by Marty Hayes, J.D.
I want to start by saying thank you to those who contributed to the GoFundMe page I set up for Spencer Newcomer and thank you also to those who sent in money to help Spencer. At time of publication, we had raised over $12,000. I had originally set a goal of $20,000, with the money to go toward first paying off his legal bills of approximately $8,000 and if there were additional funds, we wanted to help Spencer get his feet back on the ground.For those who missed this, please go back to the March newsletter (https://www.armedcitizensnetwork.org/en/the-anatomy-of-a-self-defense-shooting-pt-3 ) and read the lead article.
I would like to ask one more time, for those who found Spencer’s willingness to share his story with members valuable and if it helped you understand many of the issues surrounding legal self-defense, then please consider dropping a few bucks at https://www.gofundme.com/help-spencer-newcomer or send us a check payable to Spencer Newcomer and we will forward it to him.
Now, in my original request, I said we would run a three-month fundraising campaign. Because of the first month’s success, we will drop that back to two months, so give now if you are so inclined because I plan to close it down at the end of April.
One of the most interesting aspects of the Spencer Newcomer case is the fact that we were able to obtain the full trial transcripts. This doesn’t happen often, but it was available for this case. Those of you who have limited experience in trial law–and especially criminal trial law, specifically self-defense trial law–will find spending some time reading the transcripts valuable, I think. The transcripts are at https://www.armedcitizensnetwork.org/en/members/resources and you will need to log in as that aspect of the eJournal is reserved for our members only.
The whole trial transcript is over 600 pages, so it is like reading a true-crime mini-novel. If you don’t have the time to read the whole thing, I would recommend at least reading Spencer’s testimony, which starts on page 255. Once you read that, if you want to read my testimony and to see the district attorney badger me during voir dire, my testimony starts on page 389.
When I am finished with this missive, I will be packing up the booth to be shipped to Indianapolis for the NRA Annual Meeting. All the details are in our Vice-President’s Message a few pages farther into this edition. In addition to all the business we conduct, at least for me the biggest benefit is simply a re-charge of the old batteries, and believe me, they are old. Sometimes I feel like an old lead-acid “D” cell in a world of Lithium 123 batteries. Still, if I give that old “D” cell a fresh charge, it's good to go for a while.
Use of Deadly Force Instructor Courses
This week, I was approached by two attorneys in two separate parts of the United States, to consult and perhaps provide expert testimony at trial. I had avoided taking any cases for a while, but these two have considerable merit, so I agreed to work on them. I mention this because there is a dire shortage of knowledgeable firearms/use-of-force experts in the country who are willing to use their knowledge and expertise in legal cases. Most legal defenses involving firearms do not end up with a defense expert or two, simply because there are no experts in the area and there is not enough money to hire one of the high-priced experts who would travel. I should add that I am not one of those high-priced experts.
Anyway, I bring this up because there are a couple of training opportunities coming up later this year that would help prepare the potential expert witness for this role. These are the Use of Deadly Force Instructor courses that are taught by the Massad Ayoob Group, in cooperation with my school, The Firearms Academy of Seattle, Inc. Mas and I have been teaching these courses occasionally for the past couple of decades, and have recently ramped up the number of offerings, primarily to help address the shortage of competent experts in the firearms field, along with helping local CCW instructors build their knowledge base in deadly force law. Most instructor certification courses either gloss over this aspect of the discipline, or avoid it altogether, resulting in the newly minted instructor being incapable of answering student’s questions. The end result is the instructor’s students perhaps committing crimes because their instructor was not fully versed in teaching deadly force concerns.
In addition to addressing the deficit of qualified experts, the course also prepares the instructor to teach separate blocks of instruction on use of deadly force in self defense. Many graduates of our course add a separate “deadly force” class to their curriculum, resulting in enhanced revenue streams for the instructor, and literally paying for the course within a class or two. Lastly, the course is also simply good education on use of deadly force in self defense. Can you imagine the power of your testimony when you can explain to the jury that you acted legitimately, and you know you acted legitimately because you are an instructor in the discipline?
That is all for this message, I hope to see many of you in Indy at the end of the month at the NRA Annual Meeting in Indianapolis!
Photo: I had a little fun at a Use of Deadly Force Instructor course Massad and I taught in 2015 when I attempted a panoramic photo of all the students who raised their hands to indicate they are Network members. I’m looking forward to seeing other members in the Philadelphia and Sacramento courses later this year.
To read more of this month's journal, please click here.