Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Protection from police, prosecutors

A letter from Penny Dean, Concord

To the New Hampshire Legislature: Please override the anti-self-defense veto of Gov. John Lynch.

As a defense attorney, I have represented many individuals who never fired a shot but displayed or pointed a firearm in self-defense. I can assure you that New Hampshire citizens need Senate Bill 88. Actually we need much stronger protective language, but this is the language the committee passed.

The Officer Friendly that you see is not how many of these cops behave around citizens who have had to use a firearm to save themselves or others from harm. In one case, the police charged a man with a clean record - a 5-foot-4, 140-pound man, the son of a U.S. Secret Service Agent - when he displayed a firearm to ward off the imminent attack of a 6-foot, 240-pound man. The man who attacked my client had a criminal record including assault. My client was told he had no right to display a firearm - he should have called 911! No cell service - oh well. My client was charged with a felony.

The prosecutor, despite my many pleas for even more exculpatory evidence, claimed such evidence did not exist - only to have that evidence show up after a jury had been picked and before opening statements. After my client had spent tens of thousands of dollars and suffered untold grief, the prosecutor decided not to prosecute because she would have had to face the judge - a judge whom she had told repeatedly the information I sought did not exist.

Citizens in this state need defense from the police and prosecutors who are anti-self-defense. SB 88 is a small step in the right direction.


MO: Homeowner Claims Self Defense in Sherman Street Shooting: "An attempted robber is hospitalized with life threatening injuries Tuesday evening after the owner of a home on the 6400 block of Sherman shot him in his front yard. "The homeowner shot the intruder in self defense," said Captain Janice Rothganger with the St. Joseph Police Department. "We discovered a young woman had been assaulted prior to the shooting, we believe by the attempted robber," Rothganger said. The woman was taken to Heartland Hospital and treated with minor injuries. Police also found a two year old child in the car. Police are questioning the homeowner looking for further clues in the investigation. The attempted robber is being treated at heartland with serious injuries. No charges have been filed at this time." [More details here]

La.: Man Shot Trying To Rob Gas Station With BB Gun: "An armed robber was shot multiple times when they tried to rob a cashier at an Exxon gas station on Saturday in Metairie with a BB handgun, according to Jefferson Parish sheriff’s deputies. The robbery happened at the Exxon gas station at 101 David Drive just before 5 a.m. Saturday. Investigators said a man entered the business and asked for a pack of cigarettes. When the cashier retrieved the cigarettes, police said, the man pointed a handgun at the cashier, threatening to shoot. The robber demanded money from the register, police said. After placing the money on the counter, the cashier, fearing for his life, armed himself with a handgun and shot the robber in the chest, police said. Deputies said the robber left the money on the counter and fled the area. Deputies said they found a gold Nissan Altima in the 300 block of David Drive and the driver, 33-year-old Melvin Phillips [above], was suffering from multiple gunshot wounds. Deputies said they also found a black handgun in the car as well, which turned out to be a replica semiautomatic BB handgun." Deputies said the cashier won’t face any charges as the shooting appeared to be in self-defense.

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