A month or so ago I testified for the defense in an Attempted Murder case in Florida. A man with a metal plate in his skull subsequent to multiple brain surgeries was slammed down and had his head smashed into the floor, in his own home, by a 250-pound ex-bouncer, who also assaulted the defendant’s senior citizen mom. The defendant managed to stagger to his room and gain access to a .45 and ordered the man to leave, and when the man instead lunged at him he fired four shots, inflicting three peripheral wounds which made the individual decide to leave after all.
Clear-cut evidence of self-defense in a blatantly obvious case of disparity of force, the prosecuting authority apparently couldn’t get past “he shot an unarmed man!” and charged him. Under Florida’s 10-20-life law he was looking at a minimum mandatory sentence of 25 years to life in prison if convicted. Instead, thanks to a pair of brilliant lawyers named Don Hendry and Kris Parker, the jury took only an hour to come back with “Not Guilty.” The shooting had taken place in March of 2018, and this Sword of Damocles had hung over the defendant’s head for nearly half a decade.
100% disabled, even though both the attorneys and I gave him a hell of a deal, the financial expenses of the ordeal were devastating, as you’ll read in the accompanying GoFundMe. I would urge you to give it your attention, in the interests of Justice.
I understand that a standard homeowner’s policy doesn’t cover the liability, but does a typical “umbrella” policy, intended to cover miscellaneous accidents and incidents (a roofer falling off your roof, for example) cover the legal costs of such an incident?
If not, are there reasonably-priced insurance policies for just such occurrences?
I’ve been carrying for almost 20 years now and am very thankful I’ve never had to draw my firearm outside of the range. Should such an incident happen I can only hope that a reasonable prosecutor will seek justice, rather than “social justice; I’m hoping that here in NW Wyoming the odds are better than average.
You can’t expect homeowner’s or umbrella policies to cover for a “willful tort,” that is, a deliberate act that harms another. Self-defense by definition is a deliberate act. See Terry Graham v. Texas Farm Bureau.
For a post-self-defense support group I recommend the one I serve on their advisory board, the Armed Citizens Legal Defense Network (www.armedcitizensnetwork.org). For a self-defense act like the one in question here, all legal fees and costs would have been paid by the ACLDN.
Just for the record, we here in Washington state where ACLDN is based are not able to join because we have an activist Insurance Commissioner. ACLDN is NOT Insurance, but anything goes here because deep blue Puget Sound region (about four counties) is able to out-vote the rest of the state.
“You can’t expect homeowner’s or umbrella policies to cover for a ‘willful tort’, that is, a deliberate act that harms another. ”
Mas is correct on this point. You can’t expect a homeowner’s or umbrella policy to help you out with legal expenses in a criminal case where you claim self-defense. Even in a civil case, arising out of a self-defense shooting, it is likely to be of no help. You do need something like ACLDN (or one of the other similar plans) to help you out with claimed self-defense.
However, that does not mean that your homeowner’s and/or umbrella policy is totally useless. There are times that it might be useful. Suppose, that in the course of defending yourself, you accidentally harm an innocent, third party and the civil suit comes from this unintentional injury. If it was unintentional, then your other insurance polices may still be on the hook.
Also, some lawyers will try to turn a self-defense shooting into an accidental shooting, in a civil suit, just for this reason. To go after the deeper pockets of the insurance companies. Such a lawyer might bring a civil suit, against you, claiming that you mishandled the firearm and that the shooting was unintentional not self-defense. Again, this might bring the liability insurance back into play.
Probably, the best thing would be to have an umbrella policy to supplement your regular homeowner’s policy plus something like ACLDN too. This way, you may have some coverage no matter how the lawyers or prosecutors come at you!
This is my approach. I try to cover all the bases.
I’ve been a member of ACLDN for 5 years and feel quite comfortable they will come to my aid if necessary. After becoming a member, you get a DVD set educating members on various legal aspects of self-defense and a copy of Mas’ book “Deadly Force: Understanding Your Right To Self Defense” (If you take one of Mas’ classes (MAG-40/80/120) he might even autograph your copy if you ask nicely!)
If you live in the Pacific Northwest or can travel there, you get a 10% discount on Firearms Academy of Seattle training which, depending on how many classes you take, pays for the membership.
The key is training. As much as you can absorb. If you know when, where, how, and for what reasons you can defend yourself with lethal force, and can articulate that in court, you have a much better chance to maintain your freedom after an incident. ACLDN and FAS help accomplish those goals.
My goal is to never need firearms training or ALCDN support, but I know it’s there if I need it, just in case.
To Mr. Ayoob and all the others who took the time to reply to my question:
THANK YOU very much. I’ll be looking into ALCDN.
I’ve taken only a few courses in firearms usage for self-defense, and have gone through the carry permit training required by our (former) state (MN) three times from different instructors, but finding good self-defense training here in WY is a little problematic.
Mass is correct in saying the Armed Citizens Legal Defense Network (www.armedcitizensnetwork.org) is a membership no law-abiding gun owner should be without. You could avoid a lot of aggravation as well as jail time by educating yourself with their library and training videos.
Donation on the way!
Umbrella policies are a “follow thru” coverage. So if the underlying policy, i.e. the homeowners policy, excludes the incident, so does the umbrella policy.
This is a more common than many think. I don’t know the particulars of this case, but many left leaning DA’s know that they can’t get a conviction, but will indict and put the gun owning defendant through the whole trial process to break them financially – of course, the DA’s costs are borne by the State. These DA’s see this as a way for punishing someone for gun ownership when they don’t have the law to do so. It’s also used in other situations than firearm self-defense to “punish” someone they do not like politically based on their agenda. It is simply called prosecutorial abuse.
FWIW, I pay for Texas Law Shield to provide for my legal defense in firearm defense related cases where I may end up being prosecuted for a self-defense action. It runs me about $200 a year. I consider it as a necessary cost of gun ownership just like ammo and training. They have since expanded into an organization called US Law Shield for other states.
This reminds me of a story told to my class by my college business law professor back in 1970 here in Texas. Back then the prof had a attended a dinner where a famous trial attorney, Richard Haynes (aka “Racehorse Haynes”), was the paid speaker. During the following Q&A session someone asked why he charged so much to defend and get acquitted someone for murder (at that time I believe he charged a quarter million or all they owned – remember, this was 1970). He replied that if they were innocent, then his fee was well worth it to preserve their life. If they were guilty then his fee was their punishment instead of death row,
Any prosecutor who would bring charges against your client in these circumstances should lose their job. Please consider writing to the Florida Governor, your State Senator and State Congressman. I support your suit under 42 USC Section 1983. No anti self-defense lawyers need serve as a Prosecutor.
This kind of crap is why Gov. DeSantis removed the Hillsborough County State Attorney. Of course, that removal has been appealed & all will have to wait & see what happens. The good thing is that many juries see thru this abuse of power & aquit the accused. The bad thing is that it costs the accused a fortune & several years of their life. All funded by an ancient America-hating billionaire.
I believe it is Florida where there is a move afoot to dump a nasty prosecutor who has been abusing the position to promote personal political preferences rather than upholding the laws of the state. Seem to remember a piece citing a comment by the governor there, Ron DiSantis. Memory s a bit fuzzy but I seem to remember this was i Miami-Dade or Broward County.
I wonder if his case went through a grand jury or if the DA decided on their own to prosecute as was done to George Zimmerman?
If no grand jury that says somthing about their confidence in the case.
As New York Judge Sol Wachtler said in 1985, “If a district attorney wanted, a grand jury would indict a ham sandwich.”
I am not a lawyer but I do not understand why a DA can skip the grand jury. Particularly in FL on a self defense case. FL is one of the few if not only states where a true no bill by a grand jury in a self defense case protects you from civil cases if I am not mistaken.
I am a member of both the Armed Citizens Legal Defense Network and CCWSafe. Both are well worth the money for an in-depth legal defense.
First, the defendant was victimized by the criminal. (How many people, even young men, could halt an attack by a 250-pound bouncer?) Second, the defendant was victimized by the legal system.
I wish the defendant’s attorney could sue the arresting officer, the prosecuting authority and the judge for abusing an innocent man. They are simply criminals who also happen to be employed by the government. I also want to remove the Eighth Amendment prohibition on ” . . . cruel and unusual punishment” so these criminals could be treated justly.
The defendant never should have been arrested. He never should have been charged. When his case was brought to court THE JUDGE SHOULD HAVE THROWN THE CASE OUT!
American justice stinks. Today’s “long train of abuses” keeps getting longer and longer.
Defending against violent crime—Reimbursement.
Maybe all states should have a law like this.
Hit up Ron Desantis on this. Florida led the Shall Issue revolution. Maybe it’s time for Florida to lead the “If the Prosecutor loses, the State pays” revolution.
If the Defendant wins their case the State pays the defendant’s legal fees, lost wages, and reasonable costs. It’s only fair.
Any idea if USCCA membership is helpful in such a case?
I have had a CCWSafe Ultimate Plan for several years. As someone living in the gun-hating state of Kommiecticut that is armed all the time, it is just the annual cost of my personal self defense like buying new ammo. I use CCWSafe because they are the only provider that beat a murder 1 charge brought by a gun-hating anti self defense D.A. I figure I would be facing similar circumstances.
I made a small donation. Go-fund-me apparently charged me a tip that was like 15% of the donation.
Did I miss the fine-print, that I could have adjusted this, or is that standard?
Seems like a real good business at those rates. Maybe that’s actually a bargain, compared with most charities … I’d just like to know.
Go-fund-me defaults to a 15% tip. Apparently, they consider it standard.
They do give you the option to click on a “Enter a Custom Tip” link. It is not real obvious. However, if you click on this link, you can change the tip amount and make it lesser or greater.
If this is their only overhead, it probably is a bargain. See this link:
I don’t really have a problem with their 15% margin. When I do tip, it is usually an amount in the 15% to 20% range. Where I have a problem with G0-fund-me is their left-wing selective worldview. They have no brakes when it comes to funding left-wing causes. It is safe to say that there was never a left-wing cause, no matter how absurd or outrageous, that they were not eager to help fund. However, they will (routinely) balk at funding conservative causes that violate their “political correctness” worldview.
For example, I believe that they refused to allow a go-fund-me donation plan to help pay for the legal costs of Kyle Rittenhouse. To get help with legal expenses, Mr. Rittenhouse had to go the private-fund-raising route. To tell you the truth, I am surprised that Go-fund-me is allowing this donation plan for this self-defense case. As committed leftists, I would think that the folks behind Go-fund-me would disapprove of the right of self-defense. Especially, self-defense with a firearm. So, it was a shock (to me) when Mas provided a link to Go-fund-me for this case. Go-fund-me has always struck me as being as ” left-wing biased” as all the rest of big media and big tech.
When laws favor the criminal while increasing the disadvantage of the law abiding its clear that criminals are also making the laws.
“…criminals are also making the laws.”
As I pointed out in a previous blog post, when power is centralized in Government, then positions in Government become attractive to criminals and psychopaths. The more powerful the Central Government, of a Nation, the more powerful is this effect.
It is not a case of “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely” (as the common saying goes). Rather, a powerful central government attracts criminals and psychopaths, into Government service, like a flame attracts moths.
The American Left (due to their unfortunately and mistaken left-wing worldviews) have spent the last Century taking power away from the American People and centralizing it into our Government in Washington, DC. The result has been a Government that is irresistible to criminals and psychopaths.
Indeed, I suspect that an honest and dispassionate psychological evaluation of just about anyone who is currently holding an important position, in our Government, would reveal that the person has the anti-social characteristics of a criminal or other type of psychopath.
So, your observation (above) is not shocking. Rather, it should be the normal and expected result of the American Left’s Century-long program of centralizing power in Washington, DC. To paraphrase (and update) Abraham Lincoln, we now have a ” …government of the criminals, by the criminals, for the criminals…”
Naturally, laws and regulations (created by our current criminal government) are written to advantage criminals and psychopaths and to disadvantage the normal, hard-working Americans who constitute the bulk of their prey.
When the Fox gets to write the laws, do you expect them to favor the hens in the hen-house?