A step in the right direction, at least in Michigan, or not?

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A step in the right direction, at least in Michigan, or not?

Postby Chunkychuck on Fri Aug 23, 2019 9:03 am

A Michigan Court Case Shows the Right of Armed Self-Defense Is Broader Than You Might Think

https://www.nationalreview.com/2019/08/ ... ght-think/

Yesterday the Michigan Court of Appeals handed down a decision in a highly public and very controversial case that gun owners across the United States should applaud. In short, it demonstrates and validates the value of armed self-defense even when you do not pull the trigger and — crucially — have no cause to pull the trigger. It justifies the brandishing of a gun as pre-emptive measure to block the use of unlawful force.

What do I mean? Hang with me for a moment, because this case is a bit complicated. At its heart is a dispute between Siwatu-Salama Ra, an African-American concealed-carry permit holder from Detroit, and a woman named Channel Harvey. Ra was put on trial for assault with a dangerous weapon and possessing a firearm while committing a felony after she brandished her unloaded pistol at Harvey during a heated confrontation outside Ra’s mother’s house.
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Yesterday the Michigan Court of Appeals threw out her conviction. It didn’t hold that the jury got the outcome wrong but rather that it didn’t have a true opportunity to get it right. It was improperly instructed on the law, and the trial court placed too high a burden on Ra to justify her decision to brandish her weapon.

The jury was instructed only on the affirmative defense of self-defense through the use of “deadly force.” To prove that deadly force was appropriate, a defendant has to prove that she “reasonably believes that the use of deadly force is necessary to prevent the imminent death of or imminent great bodily harm to himself or herself or to another individual.” (Emphasis added.(by writer of article))
Under this reasoning, a person could brandish a weapon only when she has the legal right to fire the weapon.

The court of appeals, however, said that’s not the law. When one brandishes a weapon without firing it, they don’t, in fact, use “deadly force.” They use nondeadly force, and the legal standard for the use of nondeadly force only requires the defendant to prove that she “reasonably believes that the use of that force is necessary to defend himself or herself or another individual from the imminent unlawful use of force by another individual.” (Emphasis added.(by writer of article))

Under this reasoning, a person can brandish a weapon to prevent the imminent use of force from escalating to a threat of imminent death.

As the court noted, “merely to threaten death or serious bodily harm, without any intention to carry out the threat, is not to use deadly force, so that one may be justified in pointing a gun at his attacker when he would not be justified pulling the trigger.” There’s a commonsense element to this conclusion. Police officers, for example, sometimes point a weapon at an individual as a means of preventing unlawful force even when they don’t have the legal right to fire a shot.
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On the surface this seemed appealing but as I thought about it more it just added more uncertainty to the draw-no draw decision. Especially if one considers the possibility that both could have been permit holders and both carrying. The events triggering the first draw are certainly under dispute according to the article. What if the person who was drawn upon, had then pulled her weapon and shot the other person based on fear of death or great bodily harm. It would certainly be a thought in that person's mind.

The author mentioning the actions of a police officer doing the same type of thing is not a good example, in my opinion, as law enforcement has different rules of engagement than I do as a permit holder.

I'm wondering if the court let the fact that the permit holder's gun was unloaded play in their decision. Neither of the two articles I found on the reversal had a link to the written opinion of the court. I would hope they did not, because that would add another decision, is their gun loaded or not?

It is good that it appears justice is finally served, but it certainly seems in Michigan now that being a permit holder just got more complicated.
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Re: A step in the right direction, at least in Michigan, or not?

Postby Holland&Holland on Fri Aug 23, 2019 10:29 am

I would say it is a step in the right direction.
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Re: A step in the right direction, at least in Michigan, or not?

Postby jdege on Mon Aug 26, 2019 12:38 am

IIRC, there is a section in Minnesota's CRIMJIG on the use of deadly weapons to deter - warning shots and the like.

Anyone have easy access who could look it up for us?

It's just a number or two up or down from self defense.
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