New Rules for Post Shooting Statement

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New Rules for Post Shooting Statement


Post by TacShot » Sat Mar 03, 2018 12:28 am

IANA Attorney, however, I recall reading Salinas v. Texas and thinking this may mean trouble down the road for gunowners. Lo and behold, the following is extracted from The Force Science News, February 27, 2018. The advice given to police officers is equally applicable to anyone using a firearm for defense. Perhaps Charles or some of our attorney members may want to wade in on this.

A police attorney’s new advisories on post-shooting statements.
A prominent police defense attorney is revising the post-shooting advice he gives officers in light of a surprising jury instruction that was issued in the criminal trial of one of his clients.
Scott Wood, a certified Force Science Analyst and a Force Science instructor, was in the international spotlight last year when he defended Oklahoma officer Betty Shelby against a first-degree felony manslaughter charge for fatally shooting an unarmed black man she thought was reaching for a gun during a contact over an abandoned car. [For full details of the case, see Force Science News editions #342-343 in the FS News archives found here.]
With Wood as her attorney, Shelby followed the protocol he routinely recommended for officer-involved shootings at the time and did not give a formal statement to investigators about the encounter until she was well-rested two days later.
At the end of her seven-day trial last May, at which point a guilty verdict could have sent her to prison for life, the judge issued an unexpected jury instruction that called attention to this delay.
“Evidence has been introduced,” he stated, “that the Defendant did not make a formal statement to police on [the date of the shooting].” He termed this “impeachment evidence” that is “offered to show that the Defendant’s testimony is not believable or truthful.”
The jurors “may not consider this impeachment evidence as proof of innocence or guilt,” he cautioned, but they could consider it a factor in “determining what weight and credit to give the credibility of the Defendant.” In other words, it could affect her “believability.”
Fortunately, Wood says, the jurors ultimately did not hold Shelby’s delay in meeting with investigators against her. After nine hours’ deliberation, they returned a verdict of not guilty.
Still, Wood believes that officers and their attorneys should be aware of the problematic instruction—and what, in his opinion, to do about it.
Wood believes that “this instruction was given because Shelby never invoked her constitutional right to remain silent” pending the giving of her official statement.
In 2013, he explains, the US Supreme Court in a closely divided decision held that in a police investigation a subject must specifically invoke his or her constitutional privilege to remain silent. Otherwise the subject’s silence may be used against him/her later in court. [see Salinas v. Texas: click here to read it.]
While that case involved a civilian murder defendant, not an officer involved in a shooting, Wood argues that the core issue “is closely akin to the one raised” in the Shelby instruction. (At Salinas’ trial, the court gave a jury instruction similar to the one issued in Shelby’s case.)
Consequently, in an effort to forestall that kind of instruction, Wood has added this provision to his post-shooting advisory, which is now newly printed on the back of his business card:
“After providing a brief public safety statement at the scene, announce to the investigator that you are invoking your constitutional right to remain silent. Say the words, ‘I am invoking my constitutional right to remain silent under Salinas v Texas and the US Constitution.’ Then remain silent about the details of the shooting until you are physically and emotionally ready to give a statement to investigators and your lawyer determines you are ready. “Retain and consult with an attorney who specializes in police use-of-force matters as soon as possible, from the scene if feasible. Then follow your lawyer’s advice.”
Wood told Force Science News, “In most cases, a recovery period before giving a formal statement is important. It works to an officer’s benefit, in terms of helping him consolidate memory, decompress emotionally and physically, and provide the most accurate and comprehensive account possible of what happened. But this much-needed rest period should not result in an officer’s credibility being subjected to doubt in a criminal proceeding.
“Everyone has a right to remain silent, even if the silence is only temporary. But not everyone understands that that right must be asserted to be protective. The Supreme Court has made clear: It’s not automatic.”
"There is no difference between communism and socialism, except in the means of achieving the same ultimate end: communism proposes to enslave men by force, socialism—by vote. It is merely the difference between murder and suicide." The Monument Builders, Ayn Rand (1962)

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Re: New Rules for Post Shooting Statement


Post by Keith B » Sat Mar 03, 2018 10:12 am

If you ever get a chance to go to one of Charles Cotton's Use of Deadly Force seminars it will be well worth it. Charles has some really good info on how not to not ruin a justifiable self-defense shooting by opening your mouth and saying the wrong thing post incident.
Texas LTC Instructor, Missouri CCW Instructor, NRA Certified Pistol, Rifle, Shotgun Instructor and RSO, NRA Life Member

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Re: New Rules for Post Shooting Statement


Post by RoyGBiv » Sat Mar 03, 2018 10:37 am

Great reminder. Thanks OP :tiphat:
I am not a lawyer. This is NOT legal advice.!
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Re: New Rules for Post Shooting Statement


Post by dlh » Sat Mar 03, 2018 11:59 am

Recall that the prosecutor in that police shooting of the Australian woman up there in Minnesota is using all of this as an excuse not to charge the officer who shot the lady who had called 911--well gee, nobody will cooperate and tell us what happened...

Having said that, I agree with the initial post.
Please know and follow the rules of firearms safety.

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Re: New Rules for Post Shooting Statement


Post by ELB » Sat Mar 03, 2018 12:23 pm

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