It is reliably reported that the trial and execution of Jesus of Nazareth violated both local and Roman law.
Had He been given competent legal counsel, the New Testament might have had a happy ending. But getting competent legal counsel can be tricky. Even if given the first century equivalent of a phone call, as a stranger in Jerusalem, Jesus could not know which local lawyer would be best for his case.
Since the grand jury only hears from the prosecution it always determines that criminal charges will be filed. This is frankly the point where a legal defense starts to get really expensive…
There is a cultural image that a defendant gets one phone call. Actually, a defendant has a right to contact the outside world. This typically takes the form of a communal jail phone, and a battered copy of the Yellow Pages. The defendant can make as many calls as the rest of the jail community will tolerate. The calls are made collect, and the defendant will often find that family members have blocks on their line which prevent calls from the jail.
These blocks seem especially common on cell phones, and prevent contact with the outside world at all. Lawyers typically accept collect calls from jail as a business expense. Various organizations provide referrals to lawyers familiar with firearms and self-defense cases, but nothing more. The faster a knowledgeable attorney is brought into the case, the harder it will be for the authorities to prosecute the case, or even file criminal charges. Getting this knowledgeable attorney is a function of knowing which lawyer is knowledgeable, and being able to pay for the knowledge.
There are companies that offer a type of legal insurance for self-defense cases. The coverage may be limited to early legal proceedings, and may pay only after the insured has first prevailed in court.
One such policy for individuals who act in self-defense insures personal property or bodily injury resulting from an act of self-defense. It also covers legal defense in a civil suit, and reimburses the defendant for costs of a criminal defense, but only if acquitted or the charges are dropped. The policy is available only to NRA members.1
Another company sells a policy which pays for legal services through grand jury proceedings.2 A grand jury is like any other jury. It is “grand” only in its task of determining if criminal charges will be filed against the guest of honor. Since the grand jury only hears from the prosecution it always determines that criminal charges will be filed. This is frankly the point where a legal defense starts to get really expensive but the policy will pay for representation in the critical early hours of a case.
Marty Hayes has found a different way. After founding and operating the successful Firearms Academy of Seattle, twenty years as a professional firearms instructor and thirty years of law enforcement association, he went to law school.
Upon graduation he added up the instruction he received on self-defense. It totaled about ninety minutes.3 In addition, few lawyers are familiar with the human dynamics of gunfights, ballistics or wound analysis. He realized that an individual in a self-defense case requires a supporting organization. The ACLU descends on civil rights violations, and labor unions back up members in trouble. Self-defense shooters needed something similar; the Armed Citizens’ Legal Defense Network LLC was the result.4
The new science has demonstrated that an assailant can turn while the officer is pulling his trigger and the bullet is on its way before his mind can perceive the danger is over and cancel the order to the trigger finger.
The purpose of the Armed Citizens’ Legal Defense Network (ACLDN) is to provide legal support to deserving members. One cannot expect the network to rally in support of a crime, or to take care of any baggage brought into the network. The ACLDN is for persons who plan ahead. Each member is provided with three educational DVDs.
These DVDs provide the member with training to stay out of trouble. If the worst thing happens the DVDs demonstrate that the member did his “due diligence” in learning the rules. In the aftermath of a self-defense shooting police, prosecutors and jury members will argue if the citizen’s actions were reasonable. The DVDs demonstrate a reasonable basis for the citizen’s acts. Members will also get discounts on training programs, books and DVDs.
Members have access to a section of the ACLDN’s web site where they can locate attorneys in their area. This resource also allows them to locate attorneys in other areas in advance of trips. The name and number of a knowledgeable attorney in a strange place can be comforting if the worst thing happens.
The ACLDN is supplemented by the Armed Citizens’ Legal Defense Foundation. The Foundation is a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization for the purpose of channeling financial assistance to members who need assistance with legal fees. Twenty percent of membership fees go to the foundation to support members who have had anything from the very worst legal result to the worst thing that could happen.
There is no guarantee that the Foundation will financially support a defense. The Foundation also provides analysis and advice to legal counsel on possible defenses. A science has grown up around gunfight analysis involving vision, perception, reaction times, human dynamics, physical and mental reactions, memory, training and expectations and more.5
There have been innumerable cases involving a furtive movement which a police officer interpreted as a threat. After the shooting investigation often found no weapon on the deceased. The new science has demonstrated how innocent motions, in a decidedly not innocent context, can appear to be a threat, and thus explain, if not entirely excuse, the shooting. In other cases a police officer has fired back at an assailant, only to have the autopsy find a bullet in the assailant’s back.
The new science has demonstrated that an assailant can turn while the officer is pulling his trigger and the bullet is on its way before his mind can perceive the danger is over and cancel the order to the trigger finger. This science has been driven by lawsuits over police shootings but is invaluable to civilians who have acted in self-defense. The new science is available to ACLDN members through the Foundation in the legal aftermath of self-defense.
Citizens fortify themselves against attack with guns and pepper spray. They can fortify themselves against the secondary legal attack with one call to the Armed Citizens’ Legal Defense Network.
The Foundation is backed by the expertise of Massad Ayoob, John Farnam, Tom Givens and Jim Cirillo Jr.6 The NRA, Second Amendment Foundation, and Gun Owners of America provide legal referrals and financial support. However their focus is on cases which will advance the general cause of gun rights.
The ACLDN focus is on the interests of the individual member. It does not lobby, it does not march, it simply supports its members. It does so with the support of other members. This is a good reason to join. No one will support us, but us.
Citizens fortify themselves against attack with guns and pepper spray. They can fortify themselves against the secondary legal attack with one call to the Armed Citizens’ Legal Defense Network. It is available at PO Box 400, Onalaska, Washington 98570 (360) 978-5200 or www.armedcitizensnetwork.org.
[ Kevin L. Jamison is an attorney in the Kansas City Missouri area concentrating in the area of weapons and self-defense. ]
Please send questions to
|Kevin L. Jamison
2614 NE 56th Ter
Gladstone, Missouri 64119-2311
Individual answers are not usually possible but may be addressed in future columns.
This information is for legal information purposes and does not constitute legal advice. For specific questions you should consult a qualified attorney.
- Lockton Risk Services, PO Box 410679, Kansas City, Missouri 64141 or (877) NRA-3006.
- CHL Protection Plan, 12801 Midway Rd, Dallas, Texas 75244.
- In my experience, this seems high.
- See the Force Science Institute web page www.forcesciencenews.com and Calibre Press at www.calibrepress.com.
- Jim Cirillo Sr. encouraged the Network and Foundation before his untimely death. I had the pleasure of meeting his son Jim Cirillo Jr. at a course given in the Kansas City area.