Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Networking: Crazy is good (sometimes)


Years ago, I knew a woman who was out of her mind.

She carried a razor blade in her underwear and was ready to use it at a moment's notice.

She was the type of person who was always looking for an excuse to get in someone's face and cause a problem.

But at the same time, she was an attractive woman who could easily seduce a man and then stab him in the back before he knew what hit him.

I always stayed on her good side, and she was the type of person I wanted to have in my corner.

I'm a big fan of having a network of people and many of my networks are folks who are "crazy."

These are fearless people, will do things the average person won't, and you can count on them when the going gets tough.

I'm not suggesting they're all the type of people who will do illegal things (although some of them will.)

But what I am suggesting is that you make sure you've got a solid network.

Too many people love the notion of the "lone wolf" who can survive a crisis independently.

But life's a lot easier when you have a small inner circle of reliable people.

All over this country, I've got people I can count on, so if I get in a jam in most places, there's someone who'll help me out.

I'll be the first to admit that I'm not the world's most social person. I'm an introvert.

But I'm always looking to tip the scales in my favor in an emergency and having a network of people you can trust is something that most people don't spend enough time on.

So, if you happen to be one of the people that think they're going to be the lone wolf, then I'd encourage you to start branching out.

Put plans in place with others you can trust and remember; in a crisis, don't be afraid of having crazy friends.

Trained Safe- Train honest 

Source: Jason Hanson


Friday, March 26, 2021

Be able to readily access weapons- or why have them?


Helping someone shore up their home defense measures, a story from childhood pops into the old conscious.

One night, there was a bunch of noise coming from our back door.

It was deafening, and it woke up most of the family.

Dad started turning on all the lights in the house, and suddenly, the noise stopped.

We went back to bed that night and did not think much of it until the next day.

The next day, we went to the door where we heard the noise.

It was the middle of winter, and there were large footprints in the snow at the door.

We followed the footprints through our backyard and up to the main road, where they eventually disappeared.

We see these footprints in the snow and knowing a man at the back door trying to get in, terrified us.

For some reason, we were not as afraid that night hearing all the banging on the door.

Nevertheless, seeing the footprints in the snow scared the heck out of a 7-year-old.

Our family was lucky since by just turning on the house's lights, the would-be intruder was scared away.

Still, here is something else- Dad owned several guns, but he is not nearly as obsessed as this writer.

A firearms environment was very ordinary; the firearms were secured and in an office closet.

Firearms were not in a safe in the bedroom or anywhere where they could easily be accessed.

Mistake? Maybe? - Dad's time vs. our time? Well, maybe -maybe not? The 1960s had its share of criminals, but not like today-always judge people based on the times, not by what is happening today?

The homeowner needs two rapid-access safes by the nightstand. (a backup in case the first one does not open.)

In those safes are weapons the family is familiar with using.

The wife also has a rapid-access safe on her side of the bed. She has maybe a Glock 19 in it.

Like Dad growing up, it does not matter how many guns own if the guns cannot access fast enough when someone is trying to kick in the back door.

The hope is every household has a gun (or at least some weapon) within a foot or two of you, so you can reach it easily while in bed.

If kids are in the house; make sure the gun is safe and open quickly.

Enjoy every day, and hopefully do not involve anyone trying to break into the house.

Train safe - Train honestly


Source: Jason Hanson


Thursday, March 25, 2021




The average safety-driven person might think a legal weapon is all the protection needed. If that is where the personal preparedness journey starts and ends, then failure is all we can report for the loved ones.

While being able to stop a threat is essential, self-defense can prove fruitless if no quality education and training are behind the self-defense system.

That is why U.S. LawShield dedicates to ensuring members have the knowledge and skills they need before they need them.


When someone prepares with U.S. LawShield, they gain exclusive access to all of our quality educational resources, like member-only webinars, on-site training events, and tons of other essential tools and opportunities.

Because gaining critical skills and valuable knowledge from people with the first-hand experience gives our members confidence in self-defense, empowering them to act in any situation responsibly.

Moreover, knowing what to do during a life-threatening situation before it happens lets members focus on what matters: protecting those loved ones.

Get Prepared Before the Bang Here



P.S. – While we want members to feel confident knowing they have someone to call after the bang, their safety and

freedom will always be a top priority. That is why every member has unlimited access to the quality education and training resources they need to prepare for the unthinkable. Furthermore, to show our commitment to helping members stay prepared, we give new members two additional months of coverage for free upon activating an annual membership today.*


Wednesday, March 24, 2021

All shooting starts with the Grip- pros and cons of Stippling your pistol


If firing a weapon, and the gun slips from the hands, let it fall to the ground.

Never try to catch the gun midair because it could end badly if a shooter grabs the trigger.

Alternatively, learn this lesson the hard way.

One afternoon, a friend, Fred, was showing his friends his new Kimber pistol.

When one friend handed the gun back to Fred, it slipped from his hands.

Fred tried to grab the pistol in midair, and it fired.

The bullet went into his lower left leg, according to the police report.

Three witnesses explained that the gun was loaded and cocked as they handed it around.

Fred went to the hospital, where he received treatment for a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the leg.

Fred made a full recovery.

Of course, this is not the first time this type of accident has happened. However, luckily no one died because of this mistake.

Shooters should never be passing around a loaded and cocked firearm.

Nevertheless, it also helps to have a solid grip on the gun, giving even wet or sweaty hands a firm purchase.

Moreover, when it comes to pistol grips, some people like to swap out the factory grips for aftermarket options.

Still, another option that more people are turning to is "stippling" the gun grip.

What is gun grip stippling?

Grip stippling is a gun modification that takes a slick factory gun grip and adds dots, ridges, and other formations.

The goal is to produce a texture that's a better fit for the shooter's hand.

The technique is growing in popularity because custom work for the particular shooter can be purchased.

For this reason, many gun owners feel stippling is more beneficial than buying an aftermarket grip.

Benefits of stippling the grip:

The apparent reason to stipple the grip is that the shooter will gain better traction and grip when shooting.

Whether it is rain, snow, or sweat, a more substantial grip is a huge factor when shooting outdoors.

Furthermore, a proper grip is critical in a stressful situation because the shooter will know his/her hand is in the proper position.

The hope is no one is ever in this situation; blood on a gun can be very slippery.

If the hands have blood on them, it could be challenging to get a solid grip, but a stippled grip could make a difference.

Plus, stippled grip designs fit the individual shooter.

Meaning that every time a shooter draws the weapon, it will be a tight grip the shooter has trained into their muscle memory.

Drawbacks to stippling grip:

The biggest problem with stippling the grip of a gun is that it is permanent.

If it is custom to the hand, it might not be a good fit for anyone else.

If a shooter buys a brand-new Glock for $600 and stipples the grip, it will decrease the value. (If you do not ever plan to sell the gun, then it does not matter.)

Also, if the person who does the stippling makes a mistake, it cannot be undone.

The problem we are were trying to fix could end up being much worse.

Plus, if the owner has any warranty on the firearm, it will likely be void if it is stipple the grip.

If one decides to stipple the gun, Please do not risk doing it DIY.

One mistake could completely ruin the firearm.

Instead, talk to a local gun shop and ask if they have a custom gunsmith that does stippling.

Depending on the gunsmith, grip stippling can cost from $150-$200.

If it keeps the gun firmly in a shooter's hand in a lethal shootout, it is money well spent to save a life.

Train safe and Train Honestly 

Source: Jason Hanson

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Go Old School: Don't forget the paper maps-


Has your GPS took you to the wrong place?

I'm pretty sure it's happened to all of us.

I remember that funny commercial from a few years ago, where the GPS tells the guy to turn right, and he turns into a building, crashing into it.

Or maybe you're out in the middle of nowhere, and you can't get a signal on your phone, so the directions don't work.

Either way, these instances are likely accidents and not malicious.

The problem with GPS is that it's vulnerable to hacking by our adversaries (China, Russia, etc.)

So, the Department of Defense has been looking for a more secure backup to GPS.

One improved technology still in the testing phase is called eLoran.

It is a navigation system that's low frequency and transmitted by terrestrial towers.

Without boring you to death, it's shown to be more secure and more "hackproof" than GPS.

The thing is, unlike the military, you and I don't have to worry about Iran hacking our GPS while we're trying to find the nearest Cracker Barrel (I love that place.)


We do have to worry about a crisis where GPS goes down.

Think about being trapped off in some city with riots and looting, and you need to know the best escape route?

Or you need to flee your area because of a natural disaster, and you want to know the best back roads?

If you only rely on GPS; you could be up the creek without a paddle.

I highly encourage you to have one of the most important yet "unsexy." survival items: The paper map.

In my vehicle and my bug-out bags, I have a paper map of my state and a map of the entire United States.

My map of the US is laminated and durable. My state map is just a regular one I got at a gas station.

It has been a long time since I've had to rely on my paper map, but I was certainly glad I had it.

So, pick up some paper maps this week if you don't have any handy.

Train Safe - Train Honestly

Source: Jason Hanson


Monday, March 22, 2021



BELLEVUE, WA – The Second Amendment Foundation is applauding a ruling by a Boulder, Colorado District Judge striking down a Boulder city ordinance that outlawed possession, sale, or transfers semi-automatic sporting rifles and magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds.

“This wasn’t our case,” noted SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb, “but it was the right decision by Judge Andrew Hartman. He ruled against the city ordinance because it violated Colorado’s state preemption law, which prohibits such local ordinances as the one in Boulder. Anti-gun politicians and organizations target such laws because they require uniformity in state gun laws and prevent the creation of legal minefields designed to trip up law-abiding citizens.”

Gottlieb is also delighted that the media alluded to a landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling in June 2010 that incorporated the Second Amendment to the states via the 14th Amendment. This was a SAF case known as McDonald v. City of Chicago, which nullified that city’s long-standing ban on handguns.

Judge Hartman’s ruling is another victory for state preemption, Gottlieb noted, coming soon after a Washington State Court of Appeals panel ruled unanimously in a SAF lawsuit that the City of Edmonds acted illegally when it adopted a so-called “safe storage” requirement a few years ago. SAF and the National Rifle Association challenged that restriction and a similar one in the City of Seattle. Washington has one of the earliest preemption statutes, which has been used as a model for similar laws in other states.

In Colorado, Judge Hartman wrote, “The Court has determined that only Colorado state (or federal) law can prohibit the possession, sale, and transfer of assault weapons and large-capacity magazines…the State of Colorado has passed laws that are effectively a scheme preempting local governments from enacting municipal firearms and magazine possession ordinances.”

“This is the way state preemption laws, which we wholeheartedly support, are supposed to work,” Gottlieb said. “Our hats are off to the plaintiffs in this case, Robert Chambers and James Jones, Gunsport of Colorado and the Colorado State Shooting Association. Their victory is a win for all Centennial State gun owners.”

Avoidance is the first line of self-defense - every time!


An older driver is on a road trip-

While we travel from city to city on planes, trains, and automobiles, sometimes concealed carry is not allowed, but concealed carry is allowed in other places.

Plus, since we are puddle-jumping around, not wanting to take the chance of the airline losing bags, which (surprise, surprise) has happened to many of us before.

That is why 1911 is not on the hip, and Sig P365 is not in the pocket.

There are always pocket knives as an alternative.

Carrying around a heavy-duty metal, flashlight could easily ruin someone's day.

The most important thing we use is our head and staying out of trouble with all that said.

An older driver pulls out in front of someone because they thought the guy's turn signal lit up.

It turns out the signal was not on and cut the guy off –

Not happy, and while no one is a natural lip reader, intuitively understood the message and how much the cut-off guy admires the older driver as the honking horn goes by.

It becomes noticeable the cut-off guy starts to follow, maybe to a favorite restaurant.

While turning into the shopping center where one wants to eat at the favorite restaurant cut-off guy turns in too.

No matter how many turns made cut-off guy is right behind the older driver.

While continuing to make turns and finally zipped out of the parking lot and back onto the main road, the older driver lost the cut-off-guy.

Never to be seen again, and there is another restaurant – no big deal, the older driver thinks to himself.

Knowing some guy in his 20's reading this post will send a message or a post along the lines of:

"you are such a wimp; I cannot believe you did not fight the guy."

Let us assure everyone that the 23-year-old who sends the message has maybe never been in a fight and has never been in a dangerous situation in his life.

Sure, yes, the driver could have parked the car at the restaurant.

The cut-off guy in his truck could have blocked in the driver.

A fight could have ensued, and without sounding too bold, the older driver, no doubt I could have handled the cut-off guy and come out on top.

Then what?

wait for the police to come and take a police report-

The cut-off guy could end up suing the older driver-

Or punch the older driver and ended up injuring the driver all over an honest mistake-

This American has no problems with violence, as long as it is the last resort.

We should all always try to avoid it, but if we cannot, we will make sure we are the ones going home back to the family that night.- IE the flashlight

This writer encourages everyone to avoid danger at all costs, but always stay alert and prepare through training when we can.

Train Safe - Train Honestly 

Source: Jason Hanson


Sunday, March 21, 2021

Defending Against First Degree Murder Charges --Source: Armed Citizens Legal Defenses Network, Inc


An Interview with Attorney Edward Levy

levy 300Interview by Gila Hayes

This time of year, we routinely share reports with members about the Network’s efforts in the year just past. Financial demands on the Legal Defense Fund were moderate in 2020. We drew on the Fund three times during the year, but its most serious use was in mid-August of 2020 when a member shot and killed a man in defense of an intimate partner in her apartment.

As members know, we go to any extreme necessary to protect member privacy, so many of the member-involved cases for which the legal defense is paid from the Legal Defense Fund are only mentioned in the briefest of outlines. We are driven to make sure that any mention was given a member’s use of force never starts the ball rolling for a civil lawsuit or gets criminal charges refiled. Thus, our report focuses on the legal battle seen through the attorney working the case.

Because the member we assisted in August did not have an attorney, his initial call launched, amongst other steps, an all-out drive to engage one of the Network affiliated attorneys in his area. His call came in on Friday afternoon at the height of vacation season, so several of the affiliated attorneys we contacted told us they were out of state. After a flurry of calls, Network President Marty Hayes spoke with attorney Edward Levy (pictured above, right) of Denver, CO, who agreed to meet with the member.

 A week and a half later, the member was released following an interview with District Attorney investigators. Our member and our affiliated attorney clarified the facts of the case. In the words of the district attorney’s order to release the member, “After further investigation and review, there are insufficient grounds for the issuance of a criminal complaint against the defendant at this time.”

What did attorney Edward Levy do to bring about that favorable result? Members will be interested in a conversation we recently had with Levy in which we explored that question.

eJournal: We were grateful when you agreed to go check in with our member at the jail, and we were relieved later when you told us that you would be happy to represent our Network member. Could you tell us what you found initially?

Levy: Most people in Colorado tend to be held on the highest possible charge. So, when I found out that they had charged the member with first-degree murder, my suspicion was that they were still investigating the case, and they wanted to make sure that he wasn’t going to get bond. That turned out to be true.

After Marty called me, I was at the jail within four to five hours. By that time, the member had been transferred to the detention center jail, where I met with him. I was only six or seven hours behind the detectives in terms of investigating the case. Our speed was the biggest and best thing that we did.

eJournal: Is that unusually fast for an attorney who is retained to represent someone facing serious charges?

Levy: It was unusually fast, and that speed was what won the case. Usually, you are at least two or three days behind. The person gets arrested, then they’re calling friends and family asking them to find an attorney, but during that same time, the police are working the case and getting things together so that they can go to court.

Because this happened on a Friday, the member could not see a judge until Monday anyway. The police had all that time to work the case while the defendant would usually be scrambling for an attorney. Here, my investigation was only a few hours behind them over the weekend. That was dramatic in terms of impacting the outcome.

I had a leg up on the case, being local, being there quickly, and getting the client’s story about what happened. I was able to meet with the member and understand the case through how he related the events. Because I am local, I am familiar with the apartment complex where the shooting occurred, and that gave me an idea of the people involved. That allowed me to control the narrative.

I realized quickly that I had more information about what had occurred in the incident than the police did. That is because the witness had some concerns about personal liability, either criminal or civil, and immediately shut her mouth. The member did the right thing, too. He exercised his constitutional rights. He asked for an attorney and didn’t say anything. That was huge in terms of how I proceeded in the case.

When I got the police’s probable cause statement before the first hearing, I was able to take what I knew plus what the police were willing to tell me in that statement and figure out exactly what had happened. More importantly, it confirmed what the client had told me. We were able to drive the narrative since the investigators at the District Attorney’s Office, and the police department didn’t know what happened in the incident.

eJournal: What was the nature of the hearing you mentioned?

Levy: It’s just an initial appearance, where the defendant is advised that he is being held on a first-degree murder charge, that the charges haven’t formally been filed yet, and that no bond had been set. Usually, it is a bond appearance where the judge would tell him, you can post a $50,000 bond and get out, but because it was a first-degree murder charge, there was no bond available.

They had assigned it to a district court judge based on the case's seriousness, so the hearing was very formal and had to cover all the bases; the hearing had to dot the i’s and cross the t’s. They had assigned a public defender to the case because they didn’t know that I had entered my appearance, and I was able to get all the information that the D.A. had given the public defender.

eJournal: You said the probable cause statement you got before that hearing matched what you had been told by our member. Is that unusual?

Levy: I would say that it is unusual most of the time. People try to put a different spin on things. A lot of time, people who have a bad conscience, if you will, blackout just as a protective device and they won’t relate things, or on the second or so meeting with their attorney, they will start trying to sugar-coat what they did, instead of getting down to the meat of the issue. 

Here, the member was sincere and forthright, and frank. I spent a considerable amount of time with him over that Friday and Saturday getting ready.

eJournal: We appreciated you working over the weekend! After Monday’s hearing, though, the authorities continued to keep our members in custody. What happened?

Levy: The District Attorney’s office asked for more time to make a charging decision. Normally, they would overcharge right off the bat and then later reduce the charges, but they asked for more time because they really didn’t have any information. Normally, they would get the time. They could tell the judge they wanted to hold the defendant for another 48 hours beyond the initial time, and those requests are routinely granted, especially in major felony cases.

I established some credibility with the District Attorney and really let them know that we were in for the long run when I said, “I’m not going to contest that. You go ahead and take the extra days and make sure you are making the right decision about this case.” I think that helped dramatically. They realized that we would be reasonable; we hadn’t gone to Def Con 1 and fueled the missiles.

eJournal: The downside is that with no option for bail, our member remained incarcerated. Under the circumstances, if you had pushed for a speedier charging decision, would he have remained in jail, anyway? In your work to keep our member attuned to the case's progress, how tough was it to tell him he was not going home right away?

Levy: He was on-board with that. He had gotten the whole jailhouse story, “You’re going to be in here for a year before you go to trial; you’re not going to get bond; you are facing severe charges.” I think the guards had him prepared for the long haul.

eJournal: To continue exploring the legal process – you finished the initial appearance, and unfortunately, our member went back to jail. What did you need to accomplish next?

Levy: Now I reached out to the District Attorney, and I tried to get an idea about what they thought the case was and where they thought their strength was. They had approached us to see whether or not we would be willing to let their investigator interrogate the member.

I pondered that, and it literally kept me up one entire night. Based on the investigation and background work I had already done over the weekend and my understanding of the case, I believed that we could control the narrative. I confirmed that the other witness had lawyered up and hadn’t talked to the police, so I didn’t think the investigation revealed what happened in the incident. We would be able to go ahead and say, “Here is what happened.”

That was a callous decision! Marty had given me the phone number for Mas Ayoob, and so I gave Mas a call, and I said, “Hey, here is what I am thinking. Here is the initial evidence that we have. What do you think about talking to the district attorney ahead of the charging decision?”

Mas was pretty forthright. He said, “You know, there are a lot of risks in that, but there is also some benefit. If you think that you can persuade them if nothing else, you might get a better charge, and then you will be able to post bond.”

Then I went and talked with the member. He was on-board. In fact, one of his statements in the police report was that he wanted to tell “his side of the story” from the beginning, and I think that is why the D.A. approached me.

We spent probably four to six hours prepping the member for what would be the interview of his lifetime. We were able to anticipate questions that the detective and the D.A. would ask. I focused the member on the legally relevant parts that would matter to the police and the District Attorney’s office. That interview was what cracked the case.

I contacted the District Attorney, and we all met in the jail on Tuesday night for about a three-hour interview, which obviously was recorded and on the record. I knew I could be playing a video of it to a jury. I was able to bring out all of the self-defense claim elements and had the opportunity to ask the members questions. For example, the member drew a diagram of the apartment, and it differed from what I had previously seen, so I said, “No, we’re not going to use this.” Then the police drew a diagram, and I looked at it and said, “Close enough,” and we used their diagram.

By being there during the interview, I was able to essentially guide the member. When the detective tried to joke or lighten the atmosphere, I kept the interview serious enough and related what happened.

eJournal: Were they playing tricky interview games trying to elicit inculpatory statements from our member, statements on record that could have been inaccurate due, simply, to human error?

Levy: Oh, no, no. I mean that there were standard interrogation techniques in their questions. The idea is that the interviewer, the detective, can put the defendant at ease, so he might spontaneously say something or not be as guarded in what he is saying or kind of try to please someone who is friendly and just chatting instead of having a deadly serious conversation about what happened.

For example, I was able to have the member explain things, and if he started to get off-topic, I was able to say, “Look, we are just talking about the facts; this is like Dragnet, just the facts. That man over there is the detective who will ask you questions about what you heard, what you saw, and things of that nature. You can answer all of those honestly and forthrightly. At certain times, he is going to ask you what you were thinking.” That was my code word because we were talking about intent. I told the member, “At those times, go ahead and let him know what you were thinking, but other than that, just stick to the facts.” The member got with that pretty quickly.

One of the questions that I asked that were designed for the jury was, “Now, when [name of the guy that was shot] moved from Point A to Point B, did you think that the gunfight was over?” Of course, the member said, “No.” I knew if I was taking it to trial, I would be telling the jury about the gunfight and how the gunfight occurred in two stages. The shooting really wasn’t a separate incident, it was a continuation, and I really wanted to get that out early so that the District Attorney, too, would realize that I had an outstanding self-defense claim.

eJournal: There will always be questions about whether the shooter had lower force options to stop the attack, whether he went too far, and all the many other “what if’s” that always come up when an attacker is killed.

Levy: Right. District attorneys might say that the first shot might have been self-defense, maybe even the second, but by the time he got to five or six, a new intent formed. In a tenth of a second, we go from defending ourselves to making sure that the other guy gets killed – to the intent to murder. Attorneys are good at that kind of thing.

eJournal: Did they try that tactic to get statements they could paint as a confession then employ that to indict our member?

Levy: Not with me there, no. They did in their initial fact investigation. They were trying to make sure that they understood what had happened; they wanted to make sure that what the member was telling them really did match their understanding of the scene and what they knew about what had happened.

They had a text message that the witness had sent that I got from the probable cause statement, and they wanted to try to explore that. The text's concern was that there might have been a conspiracy between the member and the witness. I had to debunk that right off the bat.

eJournal: Is it unusual for a defense attorney to actively participate – not just telling their client what not to answer, but actually raising subjects that needed to be discussed?

Levy: Well, usually the interrogation is over by the time I get hired! Usually, the police arrest the poor guy, and he blathers for three hours, and then they take him over to the jail, they write up a probable cause statement, and their case is done. They have made their case.

Usually, my clients' statements are what we in the legal business call confessions, so it is already a done deal. It is unusual to be there in the investigative stage, and that is why our speed, in this case, was so important.

eJournal: Did the District Attorney ever actually formally charge our member with first-degree murder?

Levy: No, the member was booked on first-degree murder. If we had not talked to the District Attorney’s office, they would have charged him with first-degree murder later. When they asked me for the extension of time – which they would have gotten anyway – my consent to that said, “We are trying to be reasonable.” Once we did the interview, they said, “We’re not sure. Can we have yet another extension?” and that is when I knew the case was over.

When they couldn’t get the other witness to roll over or talk and decided they didn’t have enough evidence to charge the witness, the case against the member fell apart because of the strong self-defense claim.

eJournal: When you laid out all the facts in the interview with the District Attorney, was there nothing to support their suspicion about a prior agreement to collude and kill a man?

Levy: No, but when I first heard the story, I thought, “Oh, my goodness, I think our client is in serious trouble.” Then when I saw the witness’ text message, I said, “Oh, we are really in trouble!” After the interview, I met with the District Attorney and the detective; my first question was, “Are you going to charge the other person?” and they said, “We’re looking at it, but we are not sure yet.” If they had charged the witness, we would probably still be defending the case.

After they did an investigation of our story, they were willing to go with self-defense. When they figured out that they didn’t have enough evidence against the witness, and our story was solid in the affirmative defense, they decided to fold their camp and let our members go. I would say 90-95 percent of our version of the events matched the District Attorney’s understanding of events. It was close enough that I’m sure they wouldn’t have been able to convince a jury it was not self-defense.

eJournal: How long was it before our member was set free?

Levy: After the interview, the member was out within two days. They took another day to make their decision. We had another court appearance and the paperwork to the jail took more time than anything else.

eJournal: One fear members identify is being incarcerated during the time needed to show the criminal justice system their innocence, like our member was. Most people find that possibility horrifying.

Levy: I don’t know anyone who has ever said that they had a good time in jail, but when I look at this case, what the member did was absolutely right. If he had tried to explain things at the scene, it would have given the other witness the chance to torpedo his story and invent many lies. By staying silent, even though he ended up going into custody, I was able to control the narrative and get ahead of the case.

eJournal: This story’s repeating themes have been truth and speed. Could we have been even faster? Suppose for a moment that a client knew you in advance, shot an attacker in self-defense, and called you to come to where they were with the responding officers. Would there be a productive role for you at the scene? Would you even be allowed to talk with the client?

Levy: If that had happened here, I would have told the client to stay quiet, and I would let them take him off to jail. There is nothing that I can do right at that point. The member was arrested by street cops; he didn’t see investigators and detectives until he was at the police station. There really isn’t anything I could do because they are in the middle of an investigation. If the client says, “I want to remain silent; I want my attorney present during any questioning,” that is just as good as me being there. If the client tells every cop, every paramedic, everybody who shows up at the scene, chances are of the five, six, or eight people who are there responding to the shooting, one of them is going, to be honest, enough to tell the court, that is what he said. 

eJournal: If you were on the scene, would you be sidelined; would you be frozen out of the proceedings?

Levy: There is nothing I can do while they are investigating. I have a right to be with the client assuming that they would put him in custody. If he is not in custody, I am just standing next to him anyway. There is not much I can do. I am totally reactive until they start actually making charging documents and take him off to custody.

eJournal: Several years ago, a member shot a man who broke through his home’s front door with the whole family inside. We had an amazing affiliated attorney in that city, and a few hours after we hired him, we saw news footage of him speaking to news cameras from the member’s front lawn, essentially telling the press to pound sand. It raises the question of what, if any, interference or influence did the news media have in your case last summer?

Levy: We only got one line in the local paper. It didn’t seem to be a high-profile case. I think a lot of that had to do with the nature of the man who was shot, in that he was part of the recreational pharmaceutical industry, and I think a lot of it had to do with the apartment complex. While it is not a high crime area, it is also not exactly a low crime. The police are familiar with it, and there are many police contacts at that apartment complex.

eJournal: After our member was freed, the temptation would be to heave a sigh of relief and conclude, “It is over,” but I have to ask, is it really over?

Levy: Well, no. There were never any charges filed, so there wasn’t any dismissal, even without prejudice. There is no statute of limitations on murder. The other issue is civil, and so Marty told me, “Don’t relax. You might have a civil case coming,” and he was right; there could have been trouble from the deceased’s family or from the other person involved, either of whom might decide to file a case or seek recompense. We had to maintain vigilance.

I hired an investigator to check out the witness and the deceased's background and maintain liaison with the police department to see what they were doing with the investigation. We continued to monitor the case for a month or two until we knew that the District Attorney had totally dropped it and the police were no longer investigating. 

eJournal: You mentioned that without dismissal of formal charges, there’s no judicial order that prevents filing murder charges later. How long might the member remain under the uncertainty of having to answer to murder charges?

Levy: In that homicide is a major felony, first-degree murder is a lifetime issue. As a practical matter, I would say about two years is the time to be concerned. Here, I think that the risk was that the other witness would change her mind, would decide to concoct a story claiming to accept responsibility for a conspiracy to kill an ex-boyfriend. That could have caused us a lot of problems. It was unpredictable, although she had lawyered up and been concerned about that from day one. We also did not know if there would be a civil lawsuit, so the idea was to keep a lid on everything and not publicize or discuss anything, waiting for the statute of limitations to run out, which is two years in our state.

eJournal: Additionally, I’ve seen situations befall other members who used fairly minimal force in self-defense, in which they’ve lost employment, promotions, or new jobs, to say nothing of many other personal problems not related to the criminal justice system.

Levy: In the past, I have suggested to people that they go see therapists and consult with professional career advisors. Some jobs are impacted by the mere fact that there was an arrest that needs to be disclosed. When you start discussing homicide charges, you might as well be swimming with a great white shark. These are impacts that come at the end of every shooting. Here, all charges were dismissed after a full and complete investigation. That is all the member will need to say to an employer

eJournal: Now that a few months have passed, what are your impressions of the whole situation?

Levy: The big issue was the speed and the way I was able to talk with the member and let him know what he was facing and what was going on. I think the member was happy he had the Network behind him and was able to call on that resource. He knew that he was not alone. Apparently, he did have some concerns because my website is minimal; it is not some big, sexy website, but now he is happy with the results. With any client, I have to make sure that we are compatible – that I am acceptable to the client and that the client is acceptable to me.

Finances are usually a big issue. Because of Network membership, that issue was never on the table; finances were not an issue. Often, attorneys have to make decisions relating to finances and business, as opposed to doing the right thing. Here, I did not have that dilemma. I could evaluate his claims without worrying about whether or not he could afford the defense.

Even then, when I talked with Marty, I had to say, “Here is what I think we have; here is the work that I see our defense will entail,” and Marty said, “It is a colorable defense. We’re good with that. Go for it.” So, I said, “Well, yeah, I can certainly make this defense work,” and that was after meeting with the client literally only one time for a couple of hours.

eJournal: At any time, did Marty express concern over how much you were spending in defense of this member? Did he ever imply that you might be bumping up against a limit and you needed to close it out quickly? Did, for example, you worry if there were funds to pay the cost of putting your private investigator to work or for the hours you put in over that first weekend?

Levy: No, there was nothing like that at all. Marty expressed to me the idea of unlimited resources, and that was good to hear. I think some attorneys might have thought, “Let’s milk this and take it to trial,” but I did the right thing for the client. I got him out as quickly as I could. But back to your question, no, I never had any concern about the adequacy of resources or could not go hire experts or do what I needed to do.

eJournal: How did the flow of evidence about the casework? If, for example, Marty or Massad needed enough detail to identify the use of force genuinely needed in defense of innocent life, could you share everything with them? Did you have to restrict, sort through, or cherry-pick which of the case materials you allowed them to see? 

Levy: No, I did not at all. Marty asked for my frank assessment of the case, and I gave it to him. Massad provided more general guidance, and in case we needed more, he explained how hiring him as an expert would work.

When I was a public defender, even in a capital case, there was a lot of discussion about how much of our resources we could use on a case. How many attorneys do you put on the case? Even in the public defender’s office, there are questions about resource allocation. We had to ask, is there money to handle this case, and is the value of the case worth what we were putting into it? I mean, if the guy is going to lose, and it is a long, guilty plea, we might as well do the guilty plea quickly at the lowest possible cost. Here, I felt that Marty and everyone were on board, doing what it took to help out the member.

eJournal: Yes, from my viewpoint – and I believe I can speak for our vice president and our advisory board, too – in saying that is entirely accurate. The enthusiasm you shouldered the case came as a huge relief, and we truly appreciate everything you did. You had served as a Network affiliated attorney since 2014, but due to the low number of member-involved cases, we had never had to call on you before, yet there you were that Friday afternoon, available to help. Furthermore, at no point during those initial days did we feel that you were rolling your eyes thinking, “Oh, just another criminal.” You seemed to be as determined as we were to show that the use of deadly force was justifiable.

Levy: Personally, I appreciated the way we were able to do this, just on a handshake. I was able to tell the Network, “Here is what I see. I’ve got this,” and boom, Marty was saying, “Go do what you have to do. Here is the money, go hire investigators and go defend the case.” That made the Network easy to work with. Often, in capital cases, I am asked to prove my experience and show that I have the resources to do the case. Also, many of the homicide cases I see are dead-bang losers, but this one is one where we really had a good self-defense case.

eJournal: It has been fascinating to hear your general characterizations about our member’s quickness to grasp what he was up against and how his truthfulness let you commit to the strategies you pursued – like deciding to let the District Attorney hold their interrogation.

Levy: The member had a credible, believable story that turned out to be true.

eJournal: You’ve mentioned his truthfulness several times. Does a lawyer feel differently when truthfulness and the facts of the case indicate an innocent person?

Levy: Absolutely! I have done thousands of criminal cases, and I think I could maybe count five who I thought were truly innocent and wrongfully accused in the first place, and this was one of the five.

The answer to your question all goes to the amount of work you put into a case and the amount of belief you have in the client. For example, if you have a sex offender case and know what the outcome will be, no matter what you do, you don’t necessarily work as hard because you are not as emotionally involved and trying to correct the injustice. Here, there was an injustice that needed correcting, and the right thing to do was to get the member out as quickly as possible with the charges dropped, as opposed to thinking, “Oh, let’s go get a trial victory because we asserted an affirmative defense.”

eJournal: I think your experience with our member last summer reflects the bigger truth about our members illustrated by the low number of times members have used force in self-defense. Of the 26 times we’ve paid attorneys and experts to protect our members’ rights after the self-defense, all were resolved to the member’s satisfaction without going to trial.

Maybe I shouldn’t even put that into words because it is very much a sword of Damocles hanging over my head! Of course, the future almost certainly holds a complex self-defense incident involving a member in a politically-hostile location that will indeed have to be defended in court. Justice will require the decision of a judge and jury. That hasn’t yet happened in 12 years, though, which does speak volumes about our well-trained, conservative, careful Network members.

For now, your experience with a member truthfully stating the facts of justifiable use of force incident allowing you to bring your legal defense skills into play and accomplish a good outcome mirrors the approximately two dozen other situations involving members. Thank you for being there for all of us.


Learn more about Edward Levy at his website, and if you should happen to run into this affiliated attorney at a pro-gun event, please be sure to thank him for his efforts on our behalf.