October 2013 - Pg 2-Expert
This means that you will stay in jail until your trial. In this case, the defendant was in jail from April of 2012 until July of 2013 when his trial finally started. While the trial was proceeding, the defendant remained in jail.
It is important to note that Baker was not a member of the ACLDN at the time of the shooting. Given this, ACLDN did not provide Baker with the benefits that members are allowed if needed. One of Baker’s attorneys originally called Massad Ayoob to determine if he could testify in the trial. As Mr. Hayes would later tell me, Mr. Ayoob took the phone call while driving. Determining that he could not testify given his trial schedule, he stated that the man he would recommend was Marty Hayes. The attorney then asked if he knew the contact information for Mr. Hayes. Mr. Ayoob stated he did but it was easier if he just passed his phone to Mr. Hayes as they were traveling together when the call came in. Given the facts of the case, Mr. Hayes agreed to testify as an expert.
The Role of the Expert
Why are experts important in self-defense related cases? Experts are used at trial when their testimony can explain issues that may be helpful to the jury in rendering their decision. Unfortunately, a lot of jury members receive their “knowledge” about guns from the entertainment world of movies and television. They believe all of the misconceptions about guns, gun handling and gunfights that are out there. For example, they believe that a person should shoot a gun out of the bad guys’ hands instead of shooting them personally. If you are on trial for your life, you do not want your jury to make their decision based on what happened on the last episode of Law and Order.
With the right expert, that person can explain to a jury how guns actually work and what really occurs in a gunfight and why a person’s actions were reasonable given the circumstances. In this case, I think the prosecution could have used some education in gun-related training. While Baker was testifying, the prosecutor actually asked Baker if he fired a warning shot before shooting the attackers. As we all know, for a number of reasons, we do not fire warning shots. If the situation calls for defending yourself or another party from an immediate and deadly attack, you shoot until the threat is no longer a threat, with no warning shots.
During the defense’s case, Mr. Hayes was called as a potential expert. In order for the court to deem Mr. Hayes an expert, Mr. Schultz solicited questions regarding Mr. Hayes’ past experiences and education. It became clear that he was more than qualified to be considered an expert at this trial. As is the case, the prosecution had their chance to attempt to discredit him as an expert but could not. In the end, the Judge found him credible as an expert.
Mr. Hayes then proceeded to testify as to the evidence that was presented to him by Mr. Schultz. He testified on how the theory of Disparity of Force applied in this case. In a nutshell, that theory applies when, given the particular situation, a person is at an overwhelming disadvantage in an effort to protect themselves against an immediate and serious bodily injury and therefore able to defend themselves with force. Mr. Hayes testified that the evidence showed that there were three men attacking the lone defendant while he was attempting to escape and that the injuries Baker sustained were serious enough to warrant lethal self defense.