September 2012 - Pg 16–Guest Editorial
Resolve Potential Problems in Advance
Editor’s Note: Once again, an opinion piece of such value came across my desk that instead of holding forth on some less-important topic myself, I have decided to yield the floor to another of our Affiliated Attorneys, Mitchell Lake, of CT.
Lake was among the first Network Affiliated Attorneys to extend support to the Armed Citizens’ Legal Defense Network, Inc. in 2008 when we were first getting started. We appreciate his continuing participation, as well as his straight-to-the point advice, the sting of which he often leavens with his own sarcastic brand of humor. If plagued by any of the situations he describes, we hope his suggested solutions may provide direction to help the reader resolve problems before they explode.
by Mitchell Lake, Esq.
Most people, when asked to visualize a situation in which they would have to use force, imagine a very “clear cut” situation. An armed robbery, assault, or home invasion, something like that. However, these incidents are relatively clear cut.
I’m not minimizing the seriousness of the situation and the need to be aware for pitfalls and perils the aftermath brings, such as what happens if your assailant was turning and your perfect center chest shot happens to impact between his shoulder blades, but barring that and obvious problems such as long, rambling, confused statements which leave the situation so confused to the point the police now feel they have to charge you with a crime or “You don’t look so bad, here’s another” (Mr. Goetz) these situations tend to be, more likely than not, well understood by the police and the courts.
–Someone attacked you without provocation.
–You used force to defend yourself.
–The force is articulated and, if the explanation of the force used is sufficient per the situation, the matter is closed in the eyes of the criminal court.
If not, you go to trial and do the court dance, which, as Massad Ayoob quotes John D. McDonald, saying, “Trial law is the last true blood sport.”
Not So Simple
Real life, however, has a way of seeping into people's experiences and things are not always so simple. The incident itself may be clear cut. However, the incident will not be the only thing looked at in a use of force situation in which someone is killed or severely injured.
These four factors (there are more…) are more than sufficient to muddle almost any situation involving the use of force:
–Custody issues related to kids.
If one factor is present, it can drastically complicate a situation; if two or more are present, you have just entered the ancient Chinese curse, “May you live in interesting times.”
These are factors which people deal with on a daily basis that may precipitate a use of force situation. However, most people are still stuck in the paradigm of preparing for a mugging in a dark parking lot, all the while ignoring the possible pressure cookers in daily life, which can explode and cause a mess, not to mention injury.
Money: You owe someone money; someone owes you money; maybe you just are broke, being foreclosed on and it’s making you short tempered. Regardless, understand its effect on the relationships and interactions you have with people. Maybe you need some help. Maybe you need a Chapter 7 bankruptcy to eliminate your debt (call me). Maybe you need a job or a new job.
Whatever the “bling” issue is, when it comes to “bang” it can put a whole new spin on the case and can be a factor which makes a self-defense incident look a lot like manslaughter.
Sex: You know where this leads…marriage, divorce and child support payments. If it wasn’t for people doing stupid stuff to get some or stupid stuff after having got some, the criminal docket would be a boring place and I wouldn’t have money to go to...OK, not mentioning that establishment…moving on…Where were we?