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Thread: How jurers see legally armed citizens

  1. #1
    Campaign Veteran Verd's Avatar
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    How jurers see legally armed citizens

    http://www.thejuryexpert.com/2009/09...armed-citizen/


    Branscombe, Crosby, and Weir (1993) conducted mock trial research involving a homeowner who shot a burglar, and found incompetent male shooters and competent female shooters were dealt with more harshly than the reverse pairing. The interaction seemed due to whether or not homeowners breached stereotypical standards (males being competent shooters and females incompetent). Shooters who violated gender roles were perceived more negatively for their use of a firearm than those who did not breach normal gender roles.
    The rest of the article is pretty damn good as well, and a bit of an eye opener. I have read theories about this from Massad Ayoob and others, but this is the first time I have read about real studies that are able to demonstrate such theories as facts.

    Often far too much time is spent fantasizing about the most logical choice to prevail in a gun fight or defend the homestead, but rarely discuss the reality of being judged for our actions by juries and police officers.
    Last edited by Verd; 01-28-2012 at 03:14 AM.
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    Regular Member OC for ME's Avatar
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    I think recent history would invalidate the findings. Not that the findings were wrong, just that society has moved beyond this notion.

    LE routinely determines, now-a-days, that a shooting in the home is justified when the 'homeowner' raises the self-defense justification, and there is few if any evidence that contradicts the 'homeowners' justification. Subsequently, it rarely gets to a jury, and when it does, gender rolls are not likely to come into play. It is 2012 and most folks have gotten past the premise of the study in my opinion.

    Was there not a story recently of a young woman who did such a thing? Made the national news if IIRC.
    "I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it." - Thomas Jefferson.

    "Better that ten guilty persons escape, than that one innocent suffer" - English jurist William Blackstone.
    It is AFAIK original to me. Compromise is failure on the installment plan, particularly when dealing with so intractable an opponent as ignorance. - Nightmare

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    Anti-Saldana Freedom Fighter Venator's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OC for ME View Post
    I think recent history would invalidate the findings. Not that the findings were wrong, just that society has moved beyond this notion.

    LE routinely determines, now-a-days, that a shooting in the home is justified when the 'homeowner' raises the self-defense justification, and there is few if any evidence that contradicts the 'homeowners' justification. Subsequently, it rarely gets to a jury, and when it does, gender rolls are not likely to come into play. It is 2012 and most folks have gotten past the premise of the study in my opinion.

    Was there not a story recently of a young woman who did such a thing? Made the national news if IIRC.
    I suspect you didn't read the article. It's possible thinking has changed, but there is a large portion of the article pertaining to weapon type and the perceived reaction to them. AK-47 vs say a Remington 30.06, SW 640 vs that evil Glock., etc. That preception I believe is still very valid.
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    *The information contained above is not meant to be legal advice, but is solely intended as a starting point for further research. These are my opinions, if you have further questions it is advisable to seek out an attorney that is well versed in firearm law.

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    Regular Member SFCRetired's Avatar
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    1. I would think the study would still be at least partially valid. Reason: The media's propensity to paint every military-appearing weapon as an "assault rifle" with the implication that these weapons are super powerful. The general public, knowingly or unknowingly, absorbs this misinformation. Same thing with shotguns; if the shotgun has the appearance of a typical sporting weapon it will be perceived quite differently than some of the "tactical" type shotguns.
    2. I would love to see that same study done, but with type of ammunition used included. For instance, ball vs. hollowpoint, +p vs standard loads, 00 buckshot vs. #4 buck, etc.
    3. I can see an unscrupulous prosecutor painting a defendant in a self-defense shooting trial as being "blood-thirsty" because he/she used a particular weapon or a particular round of ammunition. I can also see the defendant being convicted unless he/she had an attorney who was really up to speed on these subjects. Nothing against attorneys as most do an outstanding job. But you need either a very knowledgeable attorney or an expert witness.

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    Regular Member hermannr's Avatar
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    I read the article, but I am not sure what law he was using as criteria for prosecution. Use of a firearm in a criminal situation is completely different that using a firearm in a self-defence situation. They are apples and oranges.

    I think his officer based study "may" be valid, based on TX law, but I'm not sure about his other studies.

    Self-defence is not a criminal act, why is it being prosecuted in the first place? I do not know TX law, but I have read some News clips that include "will not be prosecuted" on some TX self-defence shootings, so what is the deal with his "mock" trials. How well was the law set out of the "jury" to work from?

    I know there are some cases where "self-defence" was claimed, but was questionable, but his study was on physical characteristics of the weapon employed...not quite sure how to think about this....not enough information, does not compute....

    I would guess that in a criminal situation the "ugly" gun might make a difference in length of recommended sentence, but SD??? I don't think the person should/would be charged anyway. At least not here in WA under WA law.

    I think more needed to be said that this was concerning TX law, not MA or WA etc law. Even then, I'm not so sure about how relivant his conclusions are.

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    Regular Member Jack House's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Venator View Post
    I suspect you didn't read the article. It's possible thinking has changed, but there is a large portion of the article pertaining to weapon type and the perceived reaction to them. AK-47 vs say a Remington 30.06, SW 640 vs that evil Glock., etc. That preception I believe is still very valid.
    Unfortunately, you're absolutely right.

    If [a machine gun is] used for self defense you will be violating imminent threat portion of the castle law, being that the set up would indicate premeditation.
    It might be an extreme example, but a self defense case should be judged by it's merits and not the weapon used.
    Last edited by Jack House; 01-30-2012 at 03:09 PM.

  7. #7
    Regular Member OC for ME's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Venator View Post
    I suspect you didn't read the article. It's possible thinking has changed, but there is a large portion of the article pertaining to weapon type and the perceived reaction to them. AK-47 vs say a Remington 30.06, SW 640 vs that evil Glock., etc. That perception I believe is still very valid.
    Yes, I did, weapon type is irrelevant in a SD shooting. If it goes to trial, it is likely that the weapon type is irrelevant because it is the SD shooting and not the 'gun' that is the question before the court. No matter how hard a DA/PA might try to make the 'gun' the issue. It could very well have been a machete, a golf club, a guard dog, a baseball bat.....I hope you get the idea.

    Now, if the SD shooter was deemed to not have been justified (shooter is guilty), the presumption made in the study to continue the premise, then the sentencing portion of the trial could focus on the weapon type, to eek out a few more years because of that evil 'black' rifle.

    The study is outdated given the current slate of 'castle laws' in many states. Even in states without a 'castle law' the odds of a man dropping a BG in their home, let alone a woman, getting convicted of a 'gun' crime in their own home is very small these days.

    Let's see, BG (burglar) breaks in and 'you' shoot them dead. If the gun is lawfully possessed, the SD shooting would be found justified....even in Chicago I suspect.

    I was being generous by not calling the study 'bogus bush-league psych-out stuff.'
    "I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it." - Thomas Jefferson.

    "Better that ten guilty persons escape, than that one innocent suffer" - English jurist William Blackstone.
    It is AFAIK original to me. Compromise is failure on the installment plan, particularly when dealing with so intractable an opponent as ignorance. - Nightmare

  8. #8
    Regular Member hermannr's Avatar
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    I read the article, but I am not sure what law he was using as criteria for prosecution. Use of a firearm in a criminal situation is completely different that using a firearm in a self-defence situation. They are apples and oranges.

    I think his officer based study "may" be valid, based on TX law, but I'm not sure about his other studies.

    Self-defence is not a criminal act, why is it being prosecuted in the first place? I do not know TX law, but I have read some News clips that include "will not be prosecuted" on some TX self-defence shootings, so what is the deal with his "mock" trials. How well was the law set out of the "jury" to work from?

    I know there are some cases where "self-defence" was claimed, but was questionable, but his study was on physical characteristics of the weapon employed...not quite sure how to think about this....not enough information, does not compute....

    I would guess that in a criminal situation the "ugly" gun might make a difference in length of recommended sentence, but SD??? I don't think the person should/would be charged anyway. At least not here in WA under WA law.

    I think more needed to be said that this was concerning TX law, not MA or WA etc law. Even then, I'm not so sure about how relivant his conclusions are.

  9. #9
    Regular Member Jack House's Avatar
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    I do agree that a new study should be conducted. Were the 90s not the height of the Brady Bunch?
    Last edited by Jack House; 01-30-2012 at 05:31 PM.

  10. #10
    Campaign Veteran since9's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jack House View Post
    I do agree that a new study should be conducted. Were the 90s not the height of the Brady Bunch?
    That would be the early 70s. Its creator was also responsible for Gilligan's Island.

    Oh! You mean Handgun Control, Inc., later renamed the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, who act and think much like Gilligan. I hear Sarah and James, both Republicans, received numerous honorary degrees for their work to rid our society of firearms from various educational institutions who neither understand nor care about our nation, its history, our Constitution, or the principles upon which our country was founded.

    That was founded in 1974, but rose to its heyday in the 1980s, after James was shot in the head. It ascent continued in the 1990s, albeit more slowly. Shortly after most Americans pulled their heads out of their ..... and laws were changed to allow for great proliferation of firearms among law-abiding citizens, crime dropped precipitously and contributions to the organization dropped sharply. It's current budget is just under $4 million. Let's hope it drops to $4 by the end of 2012 as the rest of its contributors pull their heads out of their ..... .
    The First protects the Second, and the Second protects the First. Together, they protect the rest of our Bill of Rights and our United States Constitution, and help We the People protect ourselves in the spirit of our Declaration of Independence.

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