Our system of justice is intended to protect the innocent and prosecute the guilty. Unfortunately, there are any number of ways an innocent person can mimic a guilty one, convincing everyone from the investigator to the prosecutor and ultimately the jury that they are indeed guilty.
A lot of well-intentioned people offer advice in matters they really don’t understand, usually because they have no actual background in self-defense shooting cases in court. Those who do have such background would avoid that bad advice like the proverbial plague. Let’s look at just two of those doomed-to-fail strategies, both of which have recently surfaced on the Internet.
Don’t Leave the Scene
One good example is the legal principle that “flight equals guilt.” Most judges will allow a prosecutor, or a plaintiff’s attorney, to argue that if a person fled the scene of a shooting, they did so out of “consciousness of guilt.” The principle holds that the righteous person who did the proper thing will stand his ground to explain his actions to the authorities, while the man who flees does so because he knows he has done the wrong thing and will receive the punishment he deserves if he remains there to be taken into custody.
In Case One, a 50-something businessman was violently attacked by two vicious punks. He drew his Glock 23 and fired a single shot, instantly stopping the attack. His assailants, one mortally wounded and soon to die, fled the scene. Unfortunately, so did the businessman. Within a matter of hours, skilled police detectives had tracked the businessman and his vehicle. When confronted by the investigating officers, the shooter “confessed” to what happened. It was too late, and he was criminally charged.
I appeared as an expert witness on his behalf. A Herculean effort by a brilliant defense attorney finally won an acquittal on the shooting. But it was still a long, terrible, expensive ordeal for the armed citizen in question. Had the man simply remained at the scene and called in the incident, his attorney believed then and now the result would likely have been a “No True Bill” from the grand jury, and the shooting would have essentially been ruled justifiable.