Introducing Character Evidence

An Interview with James Fleming

Jim Headshot Only MMSDI

by Gila Hayes

Introduction: Court admissible evidence has taken center stage in many of this publication’s Attorney Question columns. One question not addressed in print often comes up during quieter, personal inquiries by members and candidates for membership who wonder to what extent incidents from the past may affect the chances of being acquitted of murder or manslaughter charges if one who has lived a clean life in recent years has to use deadly force in self defense.

With Network Advisory Board James Fleming’s 30-year career as a criminal defense attorney, it was natural to turn to him with questions about the lingering issue of past bad acts and the related question of admissibility of character evidence to suggest an armed citizen is guilty of a crime of violence. We switch now to our familiar Q & A format, and ask Fleming to address this complex topic.

eJournal: Some of today’s best citizens have turned their lives around but have histories of past illegal violence. Is there a time line after which one’s past isn’t considered relevant to whether current acts constitute a violent crime or self defense?

Fleming: Gila, this is a very difficult question to answer accurately, because the rules vary so much from state to state, and in the Federal courts. Under the Federal Rules of Evidence, for example, a conviction that is over ten years old can only be used under certain limited circumstances, and an analysis must be done to determine whether the probative value of the evidence substantially outweighs its prejudicial effect.

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President’s Message

Marty eJournal column pix

by Marty Hayes, J.D.

NRA Board of Directors

The ballots for the National Rifle Association Board of Directors election have arrived in the NRA membership magazines. I will be voting for the following candidates for election to the Board of Directors.

Adam Kraut, Esq.
Timothy Knight, currently on the NRA Board
Julie Golob
Il Ling New
Wayne Anthony Ross, Network member, currently on the NRA board
Owen “Buz” Mills, currently on the NRA Board

This is my personal opinion; it is not an official endorsement from the Network. But, since this is an opinion column, knowing whom I am voting for to set policy for the NRA might be of some interest to our members and guest readers.

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Attorney Question of the Month


This discussion with our Network affiliated attorneys is based on a hypothetical scenario: An armed citizen is arrested after use of force in self defense and his or her state-issued license to carry a concealed handgun is revoked. We asked our Affiliated Attorneys to comment on the following:

1) If charges are dropped before trial, in your state what is involved in getting the citizen's license to carry reinstated?

2) How (if at all) does that differ from pursuing carry license reinstatement after defending self defense in a trial and being found “Not Guilty?”

Mitchell Lake
Weisman Law Firm LLC
25 Central Ave., Waterbury, CT 06702-1202

First – we assume for this question that an appeal of the revocation was requested timely. If it was not, they need to reapply because the revoked permit is closed out after the permit revocation appeal period closes.

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News from our Affiliates


by Josh Amos

Well, folks, 2018 is off and running. It looks like this year will be better than ever for all of the members and affiliates who make up the Armed Citizens’ Legal Defense Network.

Affiliate Coupons

This past year we have really been pushing our armed citizens’ affiliate coupons out to all of our affiliated instructors. The coupons give new members a little discount on their first-year dues and work hand in hand with our Foundation’s booklet What Every Gun Owner Needs to Know About Self Defense Law, to bring trained armed citizens into the Network. Since each coupon is individually coded, so they also help us identify the affiliates who are working extra hard to promote the Network. Some affiliates operate in sparsely populated regions and I find it very satisfying to see even our smaller-volume affiliates getting recognized by new members who use the coupon when they join.

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Book Review

Concealed Carry Vol. 2

By Massad Ayoob
8x10 soft-bound, 255 pages, B&W illustrated
$29.99 at

Reviewed by Gila Hayes

Five years ago, we eagerly reviewed Massad Ayoob’s first volume of the Gun Digest Book of Concealed Carry in this electronic journal. It taught us as much about “why” we carry concealed handguns as “how”—different ways to do it, to name only a few high points, and we gave it top recommendations. Of course, it contained plenty of instruction about guns, various calibers, different types of holsters, and a great variety of related topics. Who but Massad Ayoob, 60-some years into his experience carrying guns for personal defense, could find more to update, highlight and explain?

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Editor's Notebook

GHayesEverything but the Kitchen Sink

by Gila Hayes

If you were buying a gun (something most of us have done multiple times, so this is a shared experience), would you go for the Old Reliable Basic Blaster that has been serving serious gun buyers for ten years, with a price tag of $525? It is just a plain-jane, rock-solid pistol without many frills. Would you instead fork out $800 for a sleek, brightly chromed Herferdorfer Mark II model that offered several color schemes and different patterns and artwork on the grip panels from which to choose?

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About this Journal


The eJournal of the Armed Citizens’ Legal Defense Network, Inc. is published monthly on the Network’s website at Content is copyrighted by the Armed Citizens’ Legal Defense Network, Inc.

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