My January hiatus from teaching (which is not a break from writing, researching, or trial prep) is long over. February turned out to be a good month, albeit a hectic one.
Three classes (Virginia, Alabama, Florida) with well over a hundred students. Managed to sneak in a couple of Glock matches in the latter two states (gssfonline.com), which are serious fun and which you should attend and will almost assuredly enjoy.
On the courthouse side, one deposition taken by plaintiffs’ counsel in a civil lawsuit where I’m speaking for two cops who had to shoot a man who was coming at them with a knife while screaming, “I’ll kill you!” The evidence is on the side for which I’m speaking. And, a couple of good outcomes.
Early in February, I spoke for a Montana defendant in a murder trial, in which he was accused of what is called “Deliberate Homicide” there because he came home to find his door kicked in and, fearing his wife to be in the house and seeing a large and menacing home invader through the window, grabbed a pistol from his glove box and entered the house. When he confronted the man, who had a long criminal record that included guns and violence which the jury was never allowed to know about under the prevailing rules of evidence, he testified that the intruder came toward him snarling, “I’m going to hurt you!” As the homeowner raised his 9mm and fired, the man apparently saw the gun coming up and spun sideways, taking the bullet behind lateral midline. It proved fatal. A prosecutor who had previously testified in the legislature against Castle Doctrine in that state decided he must have shot a helpless fleeing man, ergo the murder charge. A defense team expertly led by a brilliant attorney named Quentin Rhoades showed the reality to the jury, which deadlocked with 10 jurors for acquittal, and two for conviction. I’m told the two who wanted to convict were swayed by a closing argument by the prosecutor that, in entering his own home to defend his long-time spouse from an obviously dangerous intruder, the defendant had become the “initial aggressor.” The case was scheduled for hearing on the 25th of February in regard to re-trial, but a couple of days before, the prosecutor apparently saw the handwriting on the wall and dismissed the case.
I had been scheduled to testify in a Florida case in April involving a senior citizen charged with murder for shooting a much larger and younger man who had previously attacked him and crippled him, and was about to do it again. Last Friday, the defendant allowed the public defender to plead him to a lesser charge in return for a sentence of 13 months. Given that the otherwise-clean defendant had used a “sawed off shotgun” below legal length in the incident, which could have brought heavy time in and of itself, I can’t fault him or the public defender for taking the plea bargain. (Yes, there is a lesson there.)
A bonus on this end is that week of scheduled trial had forced me to postpone a class I had long been wanting to take, Bill Rogers’ Advanced Pistol course, from April into September. Now, it looks as if the Evil Princess and I will be able to do it in April after all.