JUSTICE… — 30 Comments

  1. I’m a big believer, sir, that if a non-“gun,” non-“self-defense” jury can be made to understand “life as it really is” in these situations, they’ll do the right thing. It’s a matter of being allowed to present them the pertinent information AND in a manner that they’ll understand, regardless of their educational background. Great story, sir, thanks for sharing.

  2. Good news Mas! It is sad, however, that it took almost four years for justice to prevail.

  3. The URL for the “Story here” link at the end has an extra ” .” on the end of it (which shows up as a “%20.” While it works in my browser, it might cause problems for users on other browsers. (It caused some issues on in my RSS reader.)

  4. It is difficult for this layman to understand why a defense expert would ever NOT be allowed to testify in court, especially when validity of a defendant’s justification appears to be the main issue. I could be more accepting of the prosecution in this case if I knew that the DA, for some obscure-but-praiseworthy reason, needed to throw a monkey wrench into the first trial. I also hope that the DA was not under some dark influence from the particular 1%er biker club. I wouldn’t doubt that having self-defense insurance would at least not have hurt the defendant’s cause, either. Many thanks to Andrew Blumenberg, though, and the unnamed defense expert. But for the Grace of God and defenders like Drew, there go all the accused in a first trial. Thanks be to the actively involved.

  5. I think this woman is only guilty of making a bad choice of a husband. How did she get a knife away from an outlaw biker and kill him with it?! Was he very drunk?

  6. The “victim” is an Outlaw Biker and the “perpetrator” is a Mother who immediately called 911 after the incident.

    Hmmm . . .

    I am a little curious as to why it ever went to court in the first place.

  7. Thank God you were contacted to speak up for this woman and help the jury see that she was defending herself against this monster and she is now as she should be… Free

    As usual Mas, job well done ….

  8. We all should all be thankful for people like Massad Ayoob who have dedicated their lives to protecting the defenseless, both with his gun and with his keen intellect. This case is the true story of what “justice” is about, not persecuting cops to appease an angry mob. When I grow up I want to be like Mas.

  9. Mas, where can we find the REAL story of what went down…a search for “Lydia Ann Salce” yields articles that seem to just assume her guilt, including some that paint the husband as a victim-“You have scarred me…”

  10. Mas – please accept my thanks for all the past expert witness roles you have filled – and hopefully will CONTINUE to fill for the “side of the angels,” as you so aptly put it. Because of your teachings, I now have an education I would have never received if not for those words. IN my 66+ years, I have never learned so much, so fast. I am continually re-reading your material, always finding something new. Last, thanks for your newer writings, such as “Deadly Force” – they may be the best yet! Please keep it coming, Sir.

  11. Wasting all that time in jail?….hope she had bail, probably not for those charges. The only thing I’d go a million miles to avoid other than a biker club is a courtroom, having been subpoenaed to testify in my field for six nasty times. It really is like Perry Mason there, with badgering witnesses part of the game. I even got subpoenaed to testify for the defense for a multiple murderer ten years after I’d evaluated him, before he’d committed any crimes.

    More power to you, Mas, for voluntarily entering a court room for any activity other than to sweep it!

  12. Four years out of an innocent person’s life and God knows at what monetary and psychological expense was endured. It may be fathomable by an expert such as Mas but the rest of us are left clueless. Great work Mas, in helping this person move closer to a normal life. What a shame that the innocent must pay such a price.

  13. Mas, that’s too funny. I live in Saratoga. If I’d have known you were in town, I would have invited you for a home cooked meal.

  14. Unfortunately, it also illustrates the need for situational awareness. The creep’s behavior suggests that wasn’t the first display of his nature. People become trapped.

    She was lucky, on several accounts, less four lost years. I rather suspect Drew was very thankful there was a Mas?

    It seems, too often, self defense is only the beginning of a long road.

  15. Thank you Mas for taking the time I understand your paid but for offering your expertise to assist the good folks in this country who unfortunately find themselves being unfairly prosecuted. Without your testimony many innocent people would be doing time in prison right now.

    I as a retired officer lifetime NRA member concealed carry holder often thought in these rough times were experiencing to purchase an insurance policy for aiding me with self defence attorney fees.

    Mass, can you make any recommendations on self defence insurance policies?? The kind which pays limited amount of attorney fees while defending a self defence shoot. If you cannot endorse one over the other, can you say if this is something to even consider. Thank you for your consideration.

  16. I’ll go out on a limb here since I know nothing about this case or the parties involved. I don’t believe the DA was under some dark influence of the biker club. I believe he was under the dark influence of his own ego and ambition. I believe the DA saw that the circumstances made it easier to get a conviction for the woman rather than her biker husband because she was the winner in a fight started by the stronger party who was armed to begin with (according to her story). I believe this is what Mas was alluding to in his column about the bad guy doing a convincing imitation of a victim. The fact that she won the fight as the weaker victim just didn’t sound believable to many folks. In their mind, if her biker husband was the bad guy, then by all expectations she should have been on the floor dead.

    Our trial system is advocacy based and I believe many DA’s today absolve themselves of any responsibility for the conviction of innocent people by blaming an incompetent defense attorney rather than themselves for knowingly prosecuting an innocent person. Many DA’s are ambitious and the DA posting is simply a stepping stone for higher political ambitions in many cases. This leads to many DA’s only focusing on what will get them a higher conviction rate. They don’t see themselves as an officer of the court that should be bound to arriving at justice rather than another win for the score card. I know the above is a sweeping generalization that does not apply to every DA, but it applies to some and that is too many.

  17. Steve from MA: She was behind bars from the day of the incident to the day of the acquittal.

    Jack, since I’m involved with one such group ( it’s sort of a conflict of interest for me to contrast the various plans. Go to that website, though, and you should find a good point by point comparison. Always read the fine print…

    Gerald Okins, right now the full story can only be found in the thousands of pages of investigative reports and transcripts.

    Old Fezzywig, he was indeed under the influence. Personally, I think he was overconfident, and she was lucky.

  18. I wonder what, if any, part her actions and replies to the responding officer’s questions and her unsolicited comments had on her arrest and indictment.

    I remember from long ago in one of my gun magazines Mr. Ayoob advising anyone involved in a self defense shooting to respectfully refuse to answer any questions from the police for at least 48 hours after the incident.

  19. Mas, as another has pointed out, there isn’t much information available about the specifics of the case.
    My question, do you truly believe her story as she tells it, or do you merely believe that there was reasonable doubt as to her guilt, perhaps because no physical evidence conflicted with her version, and therefore, not guilty was the just decision by the jury?

  20. I want to say thank you Mr. Ayoob for all you do. Being a member of for 3 or 4 years now I’m glad your on my team. A team that also consists of people such as Tom Givens, John Farnam, Marty Hayes and so many others I could list.

    It didn’t take me long to realize that I did not have the means financially to cover any legal matters regarding use of force. By becoming a member of ACLDN that removed one very large concern.

    Membership includes some great training dvd and Mr. Ayoobs new book. Check it out!

  21. With a full acquittal, it sounds like the LEAST the state owes her is a huge apology and some kind of compensation for the pure hell of being behind bars for 3 years, especially since a good deal of that time is due to the justice system’s improper operation the first time.

  22. TW – I, for one, want you to keep going out on those limbs if your comments above are any indication of what you’ll bring back every time. Good stuff, Sir.

  23. Jamie, I wish it worked that way. Sadly, it does not.

    William, I can say here what I could never say in front of a jury: I turn down more cases than I accept, and I only accept a case after I’ve seen full discovery and the evidence had convinced me that the defendant is in the right. The alleged “victim” had to change his original story to fit the evidence; Lydia’s account remained constant throughout and it fit evidence that she could not possibly have known of until after it was collected. In last week’s trial, the jury heard from both her and the victim, and the verdict tells me that they believed HER.

    Michael JT, I advise my students to explain what the attacker did to cause the student to harm them, to state that they will sign the complaint, and to point out evidence and witnesses, and only then respectfully state that they will answer further questions after consulting with counsel.

  24. TW: Great comments, but the DA’s name was apparently Karen Heggen. Unusual case, isn’t it? Mas, what development does a surrebuttal normally come after? The term reminds me somewhat of high school debate, where having the final rebuttal (with the last word) was advantageous.

    Knife disarming, as well as counterattacking with blades, can be important survival skills. One traditional Army blade disarm involves very close-in leverage. The sport of fencing is incomparable for learning how to parry and thrust, and a lot of fun. Another thing you learn from fencing is how way likely injury would be for you when contesting real blades. Always wear your protective gear. Also, foils have been known to break above the hilt!

  25. Mas,

    Then how do we as citizens hold the justice system accountable for its actions?

  26. One of the hardest things I’ve ever done was jury duty. I became convinced that the defendant acted in self-defense. At the end of the trial, two jurors were randomly selected as alternates and removed. I stayed to hear the verdict, returned in about an hour. First degree murder, life in prison. While waiting for the verdict I chatted with the court reporter and some courtroom deputies. We all agreed that self-defense fit the facts.
    The judge looked at the jury like they were the spineless, selfish idiots that they are. One of the prosecutors seemed to be near tears. I was sick.
    I later found the judge overturned the verdict, which gave me hope. Since then I have learned a plea of manslaughter was negotiated. It’s horrible.

  27. Fruitbat44 said: “I am a little curious as to why it ever went to court in the first place.”

    Two words. New York.

  28. Two Gun Steve, the prosecution can bring in rebuttal witnesses to attempt to counter points made by the defense witnesses. The defense’s riposte to that would be surrebuttal. Neither took place in this case.

  29. Great news that the wrongfully imprisoned victim finally was exonerated, but the background story resembles a scene from 60s underground cartoonist S. Clay Wilson’s sordid Hog Ridin’ Fools comics.