How the Armed Citizens’ Network Works for its Members

by Gila Hayes

Now and then I jokingly comment that Network President Marty Hayes started a new growth industry in 2008 when he introduced the Armed Citizens’ Legal Defense Network, Inc. and with it, an organization through which armed citizen members can afford legal representation as quickly as possible after self defense.

Until the Network’s introduction, post-incident protections primarily took the form of insurance policies that upon acquittal compensated the insured for his or her legal fees up to the limits of the policy and provided a modest liability payout. These protections are good as far as they go, but the difficulty of paying out of one’s own pocket for a top-notch team of trial attorneys, expert witnesses and support personnel has too often exceeded what the common man or woman could scrape up, even after taking out a second mortgage, liquidating their investments and maxing out their credit.

Since insurance is structured to repay expenses after suffering an accident or unavoidable misfortune, it is not particularly well suited to providing immediate assistance for expenses like attorney fees to defend your intentional act of self defense. Further, being drawn from a large corporation’s pockets, not those of a family of like-minded armed citizens, there is little to motivate the insurer to pull out all the stops to be sure the armed citizen is acquitted. Is the payout just another business transaction, just another claim? When coming from a multi-million dollar enterprise, realistically how can the policy holder’s needs be treated as anything else?

With these concerns foremost in mind, we structured the Armed Citizens’ Legal Defense Network as an association of armed citizens who are determined that at least within our family of Network members, no one of “our own” would have to stand alone when defending their self-defense actions to the criminal justice system.

Instead, a member who uses force in justifiable defense has the backing of the entire Network membership through its Legal Defense Fund to stop unmeritorious charges that their self-defense actions were a crime or failing that vigorously defend in court the member’s actions.

This support starts as soon as the Network receives word that a member has been involved in a self-defense incident. This notification is best made as quickly as possible by a family member or trusted associate, since we can then share a frank discussion of the facts as known without concern that the member who acted in self defense will divulge details better protected by attorney-client privilege, which, since the Network is not the member’s law firm, does not exist between us and our members. 

Our Track Record

During our five years of existence, the Network has paid initial fee deposits to the attorneys of six Network members. Only twice have family members or trusted associates placed the call to the Network for help. Network President Marty Hayes spoke personally with the other four, avoiding details of the incident while obtaining the name and contact information of the member’s attorney, or guiding the member in obtaining an attorney to whom the Network can send the initial attorney fees. These fee deposits have varied in proportion to the seriousness of charges the member faced, from less than $2,000 up to $10,000.

The Network’s greatest concern after a member’s self-defense incident is making sure that an attorney is engaged to represent the member. If you are the next unfortunate Network member who must act in self defense, please have a family member or close friend call the Network on your behalf with the details of your situation as soon as it is reasonably possible so we can make sure the money gets to your attorney to represent you during the inevitable questioning and other problems that follow self defense.