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 Post subject: The Plea of Self Defence
PostPosted: Tue Mar 31, 2015 8:33 pm 
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I recently read Marc MacYoung’s Book “In the name of Self-Dense: When it’s worth it, what it costs”

It is over 400 pages of excellent material on what is involved in the Plea of Self Defence and much more.

It inspired me to put together a series of short video clips for my website (20 in total) introducing a number of issues on the plea along with a common approach but even these clips are just a tip of information compared to the book.

I decided to put them up one per week on to my YouTube channel as well for public viewing. So far there are six load with a new one each Monday.

I thought they might be of interest to these forums.

It was Self Defence or was it? #1 Affirmative plea

The required statement:

It was Self Defence or was it?

This is a series short video clips on the plea of self defence. It is important to note these clips do NOT give legal advice. If you are making a plea of self defence you should seek competent legal counsel. The next clip in this series will be posted next Monday or if you don’t want to wait week by week -- join my website – All 20 clips are already there along with over 190 other instructional video clips. http://wpd-rc.com/

I am not a lawyer. Being successful in supporting your plea of self defence is dependent on too many factors for anyone to give general advice on a specific situation.

You must have actually acted in self defence, you must be able to articulate all the facts in a manner everyone sees you acted in self defence and that is simply too unpredictable for this to be legal advice.

So what do the clips give you? They provide some sense of what may be seen as self defence and what may not be. They provide information on the realities of claiming you acted in self defence. They provide some idea of how you can best stay on the side of actually acting in self defence (whether others will agree is always the question). They provide some ideas on when you may not have acted in self defence. They provide references you should study for further information.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 01, 2015 5:58 pm 
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It was Self Defence or was it? #2 Be Reasonable with the police!

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 01, 2015 9:07 pm 
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Hello Rick,

Good to see you back on the forum, much appreciated, you are a good friend.

What you are posting is of course of critical importance in the criminal aspect of it [staying out of Jail] but also in the context of civil law, where the burden of proof shifts from 'beyond a reasonable doubt' [criminal]
to 'preponderance of evidence'[civil]...

In order to grab more attention from the readers on your excellent work here...I think it is worthwhile also to point out the financial consequences at stake which will haunt any of us in any self defense situation:

1. Think of the money one will have to pay to a criminal defense attorney to get him off the hook even if he is totally right in his claim of self defense.

2. Think of the money one will have to pay an attorney for civil defense against a claim for damages and the money [out of pocket] one will have to pay the plaintiff if an award is made at trial.

3. On this 'civil exposure' although some of us [not all] might have the right kind of 'personal umbrella liability policy' which contractually affords coverage for legal defense and indemnity...for personal injury to a third party if inflicted to protect persons or property.

That coverage is predicated upon one's commission of an intentional act [which is always the case in self defense action] if in fact one's action was indeed for the reason of protecting persons or property.

From the actual policy[quote]Occurrence means:
_ An offense that results in Personal Injury.

_ Personal Injury means damages arising out of the
following offenses:

1. Libel, slander, or defamation of character;
2. False arrest, willful or false detention or imprisonment,
or malicious prosecution;
3. Wrongful eviction, wrongful entry or invasion of
privacy;

or
4. Assault or battery, if committed to protect persons or property.


~~~

If a person is found guilty in a criminal proceeding where his claim for self defense is rejected...he will be judged as 'liable' in a civil action...and this will result in a denial of defense and indemnity coverage under the umbrella policy.

I have handled some of this cases as a specialty investigator for Insurance companies, and they are a nightmare for the hapless person who finds himself in the jaws of the legal mill.

So what you are posting here, Rick, is of critical importance for all of to 'digest' seriously.

Thanks again for posting this Rick, hopefully we can have a good discussion from which to learn and ingrain the essential points.

The book by MacYoung seems to be an excellent one. Does he touch upon civil exposure as well?

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 01, 2015 9:34 pm 
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What is even more frightening these days is that regardless of what we did and what explanation seems plausible for how we acted...there is a good chance we will be on 'candid camera' and every move we made will undergo much scrutiny measured against our 'articulation' of an event.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 01, 2015 9:55 pm 
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Hi Van:

Good to talk to you again too.

You are dead on in your comments. The financial cost of just defending yourself in a criminal chare can be astounding let alone the cost defending a civil case or worse – losing one.

The focus is the plea of self defence in a criminal charge and on understanding what is self defence. I would have to look but I do not recall any review of civil legislation just criminal. He does talk about the differences between criminal and civil defences.

The big difference between criminal and civil are the requirements to find you guilty. You could be found not guilty on the criminal charges but a civil court could assign some of the responsibility to you and hold you accountable financially.

The more you understand about self defence and the better you can articulate why you were forced to respond by defending yourself the better chance you will have.

We all practice physical ways to protect ourselves but how much practice is put into articulating in words why we did it?

Lots more to come.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 02, 2015 4:09 am 
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Thank you Rick. The forum without you, Laird and Marcus, has a big void in it. Hopefully they also will have a bit more time to write now and then.
Quote:
The focus is the plea of self defence in a criminal charge and on understanding what is self defence. I would have to look but I do not recall any review of civil legislation just criminal. He does talk about the differences between criminal and civil defences.

Excellent, and I feel as you probably do that most of us martial artists don't really have a full grasp of all of that, and generally we fall prey to the old adage 'better tried by twelve than carried by six'…a real conundrum.
Quote:
The big difference between criminal and civil are the requirements to find you guilty. You could be found not guilty on the criminal charges but a civil court could assign some of the responsibility to you and hold you accountable financially.

What you point out here is the scariest part. Many believe that a not guilty finding in criminal proceedings or even not being charged with any criminal wrongdoing by the police following a violent altercation, absolves them from civil liability.

What you point out on the assignment of some responsibility to you, goes under the comparative negligence statutes of the State in which the event occurred.

And there is something even more insidious to consider…found under the joint tort-feasors act in most states.

Say you and a couple friends on a night out…get involved in a fight in self defense and the attacker gets killed or seriously hurt.

You may be found only one percent at fault, with the majority of fault assigned to the friends you were with…

But because those two friends may have no 'pockets' whereas you do [property, savings, retirement accounts, a nice home etc.] then under the statute the plaintiff can bring suit directly against you [with the least amount of negligence] and collect 100% of the damages.

And assuming you have an insurance policy, such as the umbrella, if what you did does not 'sell' as 'proper self defense'…the contractual language of the policy will exclude any coverage.

A real nightmare.

So as you point out it is all about the plea and the understanding of self defense that is of the utmost importance, especially in view of the fact it is 'an affirmative defense' where you admit you did what you are being charged with…something of a 'black hole' looming.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 02, 2015 4:19 am 
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Rick,

Is this the book you are showing in your clip?

http://www.amazon.com/Marc-MacYoung/e/B000APBQVM

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 02, 2015 5:20 am 
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Yes, Van that is the one.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 02, 2015 1:37 pm 
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When I began planning this series of 20 video clips it surprised me how much had to be said before discussing any self defence legislation. I shouldn't have been surprised everything we learn has to have a strong foundation.

It was Self Defence or was it? #3 Articulation or Explain Yourself!

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 02, 2015 1:47 pm 
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Clip #3 on Articulation is a vital clip.

If you get a chance buy and watch the companion DVD to Rory Miller's book of the same name "Facing Violence" because there is a demonstration of practicing articulation.

The guy doing the scenario reacted well but if you were listening to both sides of the story he failed the articulation test.

How many of us practice how to articulate why we defended ourselves?

How many of us have our students do it in class?

I know I didn't.

The truth is criminals are have had far more practice lying and telling stories to the police than we have.

It isn't enough to say I defended myself when the other guy is saying you attacked him, or in some cases actually believe they were defending themselves (but that's another story and perhaps video clip).

I will have posted links to the 6 video clips up on YouTube so far by Monday and then there will be a new clip every Monday until they are all up publicly.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 02, 2015 2:54 pm 
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Thank you Rick, all excellent points, in particular the necessity to practice 'articulation'...

Here I think the question might be the 'when' of articulation in addition to the 'how'_

We all know that after a violent encounter, because of the extreme stress affecting us, there will be pressure and confusion upon interrogation, we won't be the 'same person' for at least 24/48 hours and this is the reason why police officers themselves are instructed not to say anything to investigators following their events of violence.

When I trained with Mas Ayoob and John Farnam at the Lethal force Institute, they talked about how a violence survivor will babble nonsense in the immediate aftermath to anyone who will listen thus digging himself a 'legal hole'_ Mas went so far as to suggest placing fingers to your lips and twist them to prevent the babble.

I also have seen this happen in my investigations of fatal accidents when dispatched by my employer to the scene shortly after the event.

I.e., information given to responding police officers that was so ridiculous and untrue that went down in the police report resulting in charges of vehicular homicide, and information that later the hapless driver could not recall uttering.

We see recommendations to try to keep calm and tell the police you were afraid for your life and just defended yourself, pointing out to evidence and to witnesses, that you will cooperate fully with more details after speaking to your attorney.

So just wondering the 'when' of articulation and if in the presence of retained counsel.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 02, 2015 3:21 pm 
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Definitely an important topic -- Video clip #16.... :)

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 02, 2015 3:30 pm 
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Thank you Rick, I knew that had to be part of the series. I think all readers will await the #16 with anticipation.

But I think your clearest message is the one about having to practice these concepts on regular bases or they will not ingrain...much like going to seminars and learning new techniques that will never really be practiced in regular workouts assiduously...thus never ingrain and surface when needed under stress.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 03, 2015 5:19 pm 
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It was Self Defence or was it? #4 Interpretations – How will others see it?

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 03, 2015 9:15 pm 
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Thanks Rick, excellent comments...the how others will see it/interpret it...is a pretty scary thought.

In my investigative work we found this to be very critical when it came to a number of witnesses present at an event.

It was not a rare occasion to end up with different opinions as to fault of the actors.

And many conflicting views were also due in part to bias and personal conflicts of the witness.

And who knows what a jury is really thinking if it goes that far.

The real possibility of our self defense event having been recorded on camera is another dark horse as to how it will be interpreted.

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