While the two lawyers have answered, neither directly corrected what I believe is a misconception in you post. I could be wrong on this, and I hope one of the lawyers will correct me if I am wrong, but here goes.Liko81 wrote:Another legal question. You shoot in self-defense. Damage or injury to an ITP occurs. The DA declines to prosecute any possible unlawful use of force because he thinks you're justified under TPC Chapter 9, and closes the case. If the DA signals his intention not to prosecute now or ever that's as good as an acquittal as far as an official finding of justification, as is a no-bill. According to the letter of the law, the injured ITP then has absolutely no recourse. I would have to be found guilty of unlawful use of force against the person suing me in order to be liable for damages.
The DA deciding not to prosecute or a return of no true bill by the Grand Jury does not mean that you were justified and has no bearing on the civil lawsuit. It could be because they all thought you were justified, or it could be for some other reason. One possibility is that the DA thought that you were guilty on all counts but was afraid that the jury would not convict you for some other reason, say racial prejudice maybe. It could be because the police messed up the case so the DA has very little admissible evidence in the case. In any of those cases, it has nothing to do with justification and the immunity.
Even an acquittal in a case does not automatically trigger the immunity. If the defense was that the action was legally justified and you are acquitted, I would say you are golden on the civil side. But if the acquittal was because the DA could not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that it was you that pulled the trigger, the immunity does not apply.
And nothing stops the lawsuit from being filed. You should win on a motion to dismiss if you were acquitted for justification, but I could see a judge ordering a trial to see if you were justified when you are no billed, especially if any of the facts of the shooting are questioned by the plaintiff or it is one of the shootings where the justification is a little gray.
My advice is to plan on being sued and going to trial. That way you cannot be disappointed, just pleasantly surprised.