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Will it Hurt You in Court?

Miguel links to an excellent article about what kinds of things influence juries. The conclusion is that the weapon you use does make an impression on a jury. It should be, but we share this planet with a lot of other highly irrational people. I agree with Miguel’s conclusion this means we need to get more women into shooting. Another conclusion to draw from this is to let your wife do the shooting. Women are treated less harshly by jurors in self-defense shootings. This effect also seems to apply to police shootings as well. Strangely enough, women are treated more harshly for using a Glock than other weapons.

Personally, I wouldn’t worry too much about this in terms of weapon choice. We shouldn’t let our irrational fellow citizens make our choices for us.

10 Responses to “Will it Hurt You in Court?”

  1. Miguel says:

    If my wife is doing the shooting then I am the target! ;)

    Anyway, you are right, If the chips are down and the only thing available is napalm, I will use the darn thing. I can’t worry about what a Jury may think when my life is a stake.

  2. This is one reason why folks like Clint Smith point out that we’re not really put on trial by a jury of our peers, because our peers would be fellow shooters. Massad Ayoob says it’s his job to educate the jury and turn them into your peers, so if you’ve taken a MAG or LFI class he shows them a lot of the same video you watch in class- to show the jury first-hand what your training has been.

  3. BobG says:

    “Strangely enough, women are treated more harshly for using a Glock than other weapons.”

    Something I found interesting in talking with people unfamiliar with firearms is some of the misconceptions they have about Glocks. There are a lot of people out there who think a “glock” is some sort of pistol classification, like “assault rifle”; they have no idea that it is merely a manufacturer rather than a type of firearm.

  4. Alpheus says:

    I’ve often wonder what would happen to the perception of a rifle if we were to take an “evil black” AR-15, paint it so it becomes a “saintly blue-and-white” or even “homestyle chrome-and-wood” HD-15 (for Home Defender), and then carry it around in public places.

    Would people be as afraid of it as they are of “assault” rifles?

  5. Sebastian says:

    The only thing that can cure the misconception is familiarity, and I think it takes more than seeing them in public type familiarity to overcome that. Hands on experience, or even secondhand experience from someone knowledgeable is the only substitute.

  6. mobo says:

    This is why judges shouldn’t allow into evidence the type of firearm used in a shooting. It’s irrelavent, really. It should suffice to say that the defendant had a firearm, and nothing more. Either a shooting is justified, or it is not.

    Many things are kept from the view of jurors if they are deemed to be irrelevant and likely to influence their decisions. Why should this be any different?

  7. Sebastian says:

    My understanding is because it’s legally irrelevant to the matter of self-defense, judges will instruct the jury to disregard the type of weapon. But it’s not like that really works.

  8. mobo says:

    I had jury duty earlier this year. I hate to sound like a snob, but there were 11 dingbats and then there was me. I was the ONLY person on that jury capable of focusing on the judge’s instructions without veering way off course. The others could not comprehend the concept that we were to consider only the evidence presented to us, and not to formulate our own theories as to what had happened. Not only that, but they wanted to charge the defendant with possession of an instrument of crime (a beer bottle), even though we had already agreed unanimously that there was not enough evidence to convict him of the underlying crime!

    The only reason the defendant didn’t go to jail for attempted murder and/or three different counts of aggravated assault (for the same incident…) was because I held out for three 10-hour days. By the third day, ten jurors had switched to my side only because they wanted to go home.

    With this sort of idiocy in jury rooms, I can only pray that at least one out of twelve in every jury is capable of doing the right thing without showing his hand.

  9. Sebastian says:

    Good for you mobo. I think that’s ultimately the way to deal with that situation. Were you the foreman?

  10. Mobo says:

    I was not the foreman, but I was the first juror selected. I believe I was selected by the prosecutor because of my Archi Bunker-like demeanor. She was mistaken, of course.

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