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After the quiet dignity of the court proceedings begin, the prosecutor will professionally introduce the 911 operator who will calmly, and with great deliberation, detail the call and its subsequent events after which, the call will be played for the jury. What do you want them to hear? A panting near hysterical person rambling a profanity laced narrative while still under the stress of the event? Or the recorded interview of the first police officer at the scene who obtains a statement from the emotionally exhausted and mortally terrified defensive shooter who can barely stammer out a semi-coherent fact?

Ideally speaking, the 911 call should be short and concise. “I’ve been attacked, send police and an ambulance.” This advice comes from the book After You Shoot by Alan Korwin. This is great advice.

When the police arrive say, “Thank God you are here. I’m the one who called.” This establishes that you are the victim and the one who notified the police. This sets you in the mind of the police as the one who needs protecting, as the bad guys don’t call the cops. Again, I cannot claim credit for this advice, it comes from James Yeager of Tactical Response. But it is great advice.

Show the police the evidence that may disappear if it is not collected. Point out witnesses that the police should interview before they go on with life and disappear. Preserve your crime scene as best you can. Then ask for a lawyer. Do not make a statement. Be polite. Remain calm. You will be arrested; it is a fact. Remain calm and treat the police with courtesy, as they will be more on your side if you act politely. By failing to give the police your statement, this forces a more detailed investigation where witnesses have to be interviewed, evidence has to be photographed and collected and the scene has to be preserved as one person is dead, and the other is not talking.

This is good for the defensive shooter as the more investigation goes on, the better it will be for the armed citizen.

Bottom line: remain calm and be polite. Ask for a lawyer after you have pointed out important evidence and witnesses. Do not make a statement. Help yourself by deciding what to say before you need to say it.

Steve Wells
Steven M. Wells, P.C.
425 “G” St. Ste. 600, Anchorage, AK 99501
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Jury selection is not taught in law school and many courts, especially federal courts, are limiting jury selection. It is becoming a dying art form. It does not help that jury selection is one of the most difficult aspects of trial work, in part because there are few areas of the trial that are more personal or dependent upon instinct or feeling. It takes time to develop that feeling.

Some commentators say that you do not so much pick whom you want as you de-select those you don’t want. What kind of person you select or de-select really varies from case to case. If the case involves self defense against law enforcement, I probably do not want someone who is really pro law enforcement. On the other hand, if law enforcement experience will support my client’s story of innocence, I do want someone more sympathetic to law enforcement. Essentially, I want a juror whose philosophy, life experiences, and perspective will resonate with my client’s theory of innocence. That will vary from case to case.

As far as what you can do to not alienate the jury, that varies a bit between locations, but there are a few things I would recommend. First, prior to going to trial, don’t give the prosecutor ammunition, so to speak, to inflame the jury against you. This means do NOT use hand-loaded cartridges for any gun you keep for self defense. Do not use hot loads. Do not use exotic bullets.* Keep your cool.