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Thread: No charges for homeowner in Slinger shooting

  1. #1
    Regular Member paul@paul-fisher.com's Avatar
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    No charges for homeowner in Slinger shooting

    Very good news.

    http://www.wisn.com/download/2012/0321/30733454.pdf

    Everyone needs to read the DA's memo. Particularly page 20 where he outlines the reasons for no charges.

  2. #2
    Opt-Out Members scm54449's Avatar
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    Thank you very much for posting this. I think everyone on the forum would be well-served by reading this document front-to-back.

    Undoubtedly a tragedy for all sides. I guess I better brace myself for the response of Mr. Morrison's family & friends who will, no doubt, be given full exposure in the local media.
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  3. #3
    Regular Member Cobra469's Avatar
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    Definitely an interesting read. It is nice to be able to see how everything was calculated into the decision. It really spells out a lot of things to consider in a self defense shooting. Tragic situation for sure but I am glad the DA is recognizing that the homeowner did nothing wrong.

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    Regular Member MKEgal's Avatar
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    I heard that on the news, but couldn't get online then.
    First thought, after "whew! good for him" was "wonder how long before he gets his guns back?" Would be interesting to know, just for comparison. Sure didn't take long for them to rush the comparison through the crime lab.

    there were other items that needed to be reviewed and analyzed, in particular an analysis by the Wisconsin State Crime Lab of the weapon used to shoot Mr. Morrison as compared to the spent round which was recovered from the scene.
    As if there were any question?

    A prosecutor has an ethical obligation to only charge an individual with a crime that the prosecutor believes could be proven by admissible evidence beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.
    Oh, really?

    Officers indicated it appeared to them that they were unable to gain entry into the garage without damaging the door.


    he went to his closet and removed his handgun which was secured in a plastic case with snaps on the top shelf.
    Great... now everyone knows where he keeps it & that it's unloaded.

    It is reasonable to believe that a person who loes through the steps of obtaining a handgun and loading it, after hearing a noise coming from the back of his house, was afraid for his safety and others who are in the house.
    Hmmm, what about people who "merely" call 911 & tell an intruder to leave?

    ...she heard her husband say, "What are you doing in my house?" two times and that he was yelling this. She stated that she also heard him say "Stay where you are," and then she heard a single shot fired.
    ...the homeowner told his wife to call 911 immediately after he fired the shot...
    ...It is clear from the evidence that Mr. Morrison was shot when he was located inside the homeowner's three season room / porch.
    our office believes that Mr. Morrison "forcibly" entered the homeowner's residence. At a minimum, he utilized some degree of force in opening two doors to get inside the homeowner's residence.
    ...
    In this case it is clear that even if the two doors (separating the homeowner's backyard from the three season room / porch) were unlocked, that Mr. Morrison had to use some "force" to open these two doors when he made the unlawful entry into the homeowner's residence.
    Our office therefore concludes that "forcibly" does not require that any doors be broken in order for the Castle Doctrine to apply.
    So opening a door is considered use of force. Glad someone there remembers physics.
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  5. #5
    Herr Heckler Koch
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    I found the jury instructions particularly interesting, as well the case law citations.

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    Regular Member davegran's Avatar
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    It sounds like the DA is writing law instead of upholding it....

    Quote Originally Posted by paul@paul-fisher.com View Post
    Very good news.

    http://www.wisn.com/download/2012/0321/30733454.pdf

    Everyone needs to read the DA's memo. Particularly page 20 where he outlines the reasons for no charges.
    Some of the opinions of the DA are rather disturbing. For instance, under
    "C. Factors Supporting Self Defense
    Below is a list of some of the factors which show that the homeowner acted lawfully in self
    defense on March 3,2012- even if the Castle Doctrine presumption did not apply in this case.
    He lists,
    The homeowner's handgun was loaded with 6 shots and he only fired one time.
    If I was in fear for my life I don't think I'd be worrying about how many times I fired if I didn't think the threat was stopped.

    Then the DA goes on to write about Castle Doctrine:
    If it applies in a case, the Castle Doctrine states that:
    "the Court may not consider whether the actor had an opportunity to flee or retreat
    before he or she used force and shall presume that the actor reasonably believed
    that the force was necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to
    himself or herself'
    Note that the DA underlined "and" and "presume", but not "shall". Then he writes,
    The Castle Doctrine is NOT a complete bar to prosecution. Even when the Castle Doctrine applies,
    a prosecutor could still choose to prosecute someone with a crime if the prosecutor
    believed that the additional facts and circumstances of the particular case could overcome the
    "presumption" that the defendant "reasonably believed that the force was necessary to prevent
    imminent death or great bodily harm to himself'. However, as a practical matter, it would be
    difficult to overcome such a presumption.
    Emphasis on "not" by the DA....

    In other words, instead of going by the language of our Castle Doctrine:
    ..."the Court... shall presume that the actor reasonably believed that the force was necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself"
    the DA makes it possible to disprove presumption. It sounds like he is writing law instead of upholding it.
    Dave
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  7. #7
    Regular Member paul@paul-fisher.com's Avatar
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    To be technical, the presumptions are supposed to occur in court. On practice it usually rolls down to the DA and to the cops because they are supposed to think " do i have a case".

    I believe the DA was stating that if someone claims castle doctrine and the DA doesn't believe it meets all the requirements, that he has the prerogative to charge and let the judge decide.

    Sent from my SCH-I500 using Tapatalk
    Last edited by paul@paul-fisher.com; 03-22-2012 at 09:25 AM. Reason: Capitalization.

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    You guys should see this:

    http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003643322847

    Look at the comments under "what do we do??????"

  9. #9
    Regular Member paul@paul-fisher.com's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bmwguy11 View Post
    You guys should see this:

    http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003643322847

    Look at the comments under "what do we do??????"
    What a bunch of tools.

  10. #10
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    Thanks for the link to the DA report P,PF. There is a lot of noise in the media over the "Castle Doctrine" and the recent Slinger and Florida incidents are currently in the limelight. Incidents like these add fuel to the anti gun fire and phrases like "Castle Doctrine" and "Hold your ground" become buzz words on both sides of the line. The recently signed Wisconsin castle doctrine garned much debate and controversy before enacted and when it was signed into law resulted in much celebration by third party self proclaimed champions of firearm justice. The fact of the matter is that Wisconsin has always had "castle doctrine" and "stand your ground". That claim was verified by the Washington County DA in his report concerning the Slinger shooting. Wisconsonites have always had the defense of privilege and the lawful right to be secure in their homes, along with the lawful right to use deadly force to protect self and family within the home and Wisconsonites have never had the requirement to retreat from danger.

    The following are pretty big things but are the only things the new "Castle Doctrine" brought to the table. They are:
    1. It provides a more concise definition of dwelling.
    2. It extends the "castle" to vehicles, property and business.
    3. It applies the presumption of innocense if deadly force is used in the above locations. Under past law if deadly force was used in those locations it was incumbent on the defense to prove deadly force was necessary. Under the new "Castle" law it is presummed it was necessary and the prosecution must prove otherwise. It is still required that the defendant must prove the use of deadly force was necessary in other locations than those mentioned. In no incident is the person required by law to attempt to retreat from danger before using deadly force, be it at home or in public.

    Certainly those things are very important but Wisconsin has always had an ad hoc "Castle Doctrine" when it comes to protecting self and others within their home. That certainly won't stop certain third parties from thumping their chests.

    The Castle doctrine law made the existing self defense laws better for us but it is not a new invention in Wisconsin.

  11. #11
    Regular Member hermannr's Avatar
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    Think about this in WI....In WA we do not have a Castle Doctrine or stand your ground "law" per-se, we have something better, something that the legislature cannot change...it's called WA State Supreme Court precident.

    You have same?
    Last edited by hermannr; 03-23-2012 at 01:12 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by paul@paul-fisher.com View Post
    Very good news.

    http://www.wisn.com/download/2012/0321/30733454.pdf

    Everyone needs to read the DA's memo. Particularly page 20 where he outlines the reasons for no charges.
    Excellent document. Thanks for the link. I hope other prosecutors, see this report from Washington County District Attorney Mark D. Bensen, and consider it a model for handling a situation similar to this.

    The use of deadly force, is something to be taken very seriously, something that should only be done out of necessity, not considered to be something that we are automatically "allowed" to do.

    I am NOT criticizing, the handling of this particular incident, at all. The homeowner was placed in a very difficult situation, thru no fault of his own.
    Wis. CCL #5x Springfield XDM 3.8 Compact .40 S&W, Utah CFP

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    Troubled by Media Reaction

    I used to live in Slinger, WI. It is a sleepy town that is not used to being in the news for much more than the annual Slingerfest event and the Fireman's Picnic. I read some of the comments on the "Justice for Bo" facebook page and am appalled at the sentiment of people expressed there. I suppose many of them are very young and have not grown up into adults yet, which hopefully they will do some day and begin to view life through a larger prism. I am very happy that the Washington County DA did not use Mr. Kind as a way to garner attention by testing the new Castle law. A sad series of events were set in motion by Bo and his friends, which ended in tragedy. I feel sad for the family who had to bury a son. I also am concerned about the Kind family because of the grief/shock they must be experiencing and the serious threats they now must deal with in the aftermath. I hope that I am never placed into the same kind of situation in my home. I really, really, hope that. At the same time, for the sake of anyone running afoul of the law and entering my home in the dark of night, beware of what can happen to you. The good that I can see, coming from this event, is that hardened criminals have been served notice of what can happen if they by chance pick the wrong Wisconsin home to enter. It also is a very strong reminder to the young about how quickly life can change or end, due to a bad choice and/or habit of them. Now, with the media leading the charge anew against gun rights, we'll have to work hard to retain those rights or lose them.
    Last edited by WisconsinDavid; 03-26-2012 at 08:25 PM.

  14. #14
    Herr Heckler Koch
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