Marty eJournal column pix

by Marty Hayes, J.D.

We are now 19 for 19. That’s a world class record, in anyone’s judgment. What am I referring to? I’m talking about fulfilling the Network’s mission, of course. The part of our mission which entails making sure our members have legal representation after a self-defense incident. We do this either through introducing the member to an attorney and then paying the attorney’s fees if the member wants to hire that lawyer, or the member choosing their own attorney and the Network paying that attorney’s legal bill.

The reason I bring this up now is due to my recent experiences assisting two members of the Network who were either attacked or about to be attacked and they were forced to shoot and kill an assailant. Of course, I am not going to share details, but suffice it to say that neither was arrested after the incident, which bodes well for the long-term adjudication of the use of force, legally speaking.

Let me take a moment to explain one set of circumstances and how we worked to hook the member up with a well-respected attorney within a couple hours of their phone call. One morning, about 8 a.m. Pacific time, a member called to relate that on the previous day he had been involved in a fatal shooting.

He was claiming self defense and since he had not been arrested or charged with a crime, those were the facts I needed to push the “go” button to pay for legal representation. He was feeling some urgency, because he had an appointment that afternoon with a police detective to go over the incident. Yes, I would say there was some urgency!

Our member also explained that he was very concerned about the deceased’s family coming after his family, so we wanted to make sure he remained free to protect them. He worried that if he did not cooperate with police, he would be arrested and jailed, so he wanted to go to the appointment with the police detective. For our part, we wanted to have legal representation in place for him during that interview.

I went to work trying to find him a good attorney. The problem was that the incident occurred in a city where we had no attorneys close by. The closest one was an hour and a half away, but since there still remained about five hours until the meeting, I placed a call to that attorney to see if he was available. Unfortunately, that attorney was tied up with appointments and other matters and could not speak to me. I was told he would call me when he was free.

An hour passed, and when no phone call came, I got my creative brain working, and tried to figure out how to find a local attorney for our member. I remembered that we know a prominent industry figure living in that part of the country who is also a Network member. I called and he picked up the phone. After swearing him to secrecy and without naming names, I then told him what was going on. I asked if he knew a good attorney in the area that might be able to help a fellow member in need. He said he knew an attorney and offered to make a phone call.

Unfortunately, the attorney he knew was now a sitting judge. Fortunately, I was able to talk by phone with this judge, but he told me that he could NOT assist our member in any fashion. However, he said, he knew a fellow…

The judge placed a phone call to the attorney he had thought of and hooked me up with him. The recommended attorney practices in the area in which the member’s self-defense incident occurred and since it happened the day before, he had already heard about the case in the news. The local attorney is a former prosecutor who knows all the people in the local DA’s office, and he agreed to take the case. That was contingent, of course, upon our member wanting to hire him. This is an important principle: While we can help make connections, the Network does not appoint attorneys. The member and attorney have to agree to work with each other. In this situation they did, so within about two hours of his phone call our member had the legal representation he needed.

Then, just when we had solved the legal representation problem for our member, I got a phone call back from the first attorney I’d tried to contact. I was able to tell him thanks, but that I did not need his help after all. I think he was very busy so may have been a little relieved, but he also emphatically stated that he was there if needed.

And that, folks, is the power of the Network. I have always stressed that together–and we now number 16,700–we have tremendous power. That power derives not only from the 1.4 million dollars in our Legal Defense Fund, but also from the vast array of human resources the Network encompasses. In this case, a member helped another member find an attorney, and the Network gained a local affiliated attorney in a large city where we had none before.

The second fatal shooting happened only a few days ago. Within an hour of speaking with the member by phone, we introduced a Network Affiliated Attorney to the member and our member now has legal representation. In fact, in each of our 19 member-involved incidents where legal/financial help was requested, the Network came through and paid an attorney to help.

Not all the incidents members have gotten involved in could be resolved favorably for the member, as in a couple of cases, members have made poor choices and suffered the consequences for those choices. In one case, I had to decline Network involvement when the member explained that he broke into his ex-wife’s residence and confronted her and her new boyfriend at gunpoint. I mention that to clarify that Network assistance is reserved for self defense.

So, there you have it, folks. The Network is not flashy. We don’t bombard you with e-mail after e-mail or flood the Internet with video of us screaming at the top of our lungs about how the world is a scary place and unless you join, you are going to go bankrupt paying attorneys or lose your first-born. Neither do we promise you the moon as do so many competitors, distracting potential members with promises of reimbursement for crime-scene clean-up costs, psychological counseling or replacing a self-defense firearm held as evidence.

This is what we do: We make sure members who have been involved in a self-defense incident have legal representation as quickly as possible, and if a member needs to go to trial to clear his or her name, the Network is there with its checkbook. That is the principle the Network was founded upon, and on that principle, we will continue into the future.

To read more of this month's journal, please click here.