Tuesday, June 13, 2006

AZ: Court rebuffs appeal in hiker shooting case: "A state court today turned away an appeal asking that a new state law on self-defense be applied retroactively to the second-degree murder trial of a retired Phoenix-area school teacher in a 2004 fatal shooting on a hiking trail in remote southeastern Coconino County. The state Court of Appeals today declined to consider the appeal filed on behalf of Harold Arthur Fish in the May 2004 shooting death of Grant Kuenzli. Fish has said he shot Kuenzli when Kuenzli charged him and ignored warnings to stop after Fish fired a warning shot to keep two dogs away. The new self-defense law passed by the Legislature this spring took effect immediately with Governor Napolitano's signature. The law shifts the burden of proof from a person claiming self-defense to the prosecution and also elevates the level of proof needed."

NY: Court says insuror must pay for wrongful death defense: "An insurance company is being ordered to pay for the legal defense of a man who shot a business associate in self defense, but was then sued by the dead man's estate, the state's highest court ruled Thursday. ... During his trial, Cook testified that Barber, who weighed more than 360 pounds, barged into his home uninvited with two other men, began slamming his fists on tables and demanded money. Cook, who weighed 120 pounds, pulled out a .25-caliber handgun and ordered the men to leave. Barber laughed at the small size of the pistol, prompting Cook to run to his bedroom and retrieve his 12-gauge shotgun. When Barber moved toward Cook and ignored a warning, Cook shot him in the stomach. Cook was acquitted of second-degree murder and manslaughter charges, but the administrator of Barber's estate filed a wrongful death suit against Cook, accusing him of negligence and with intentionally killing Barber. Cook said he only fired to protect himself."

MI: Senate approves self-defense bills: "The Michigan Senate has approved legislation aimed at fortifying and clarifying self-defense rights. The measures would allow people to use deadly force -- with no duty to retreat -- if they reasonably think they face imminent death, great bodily harm or sexual assault. The legislation also would protect people from civil lawsuits if they have used force in self-defense."

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