Author Topic: The Effect of Weapon Appearance on Trial Juries  (Read 6204 times)

Offline 96Charlie

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The Effect of Weapon Appearance on Trial Juries
« on: October 15, 2009, 02:14:46 PM »
Found in a legal journal and thought it might another factor to weigh when making your weapons selection.

Quote
We replicated the experiment with students from the local community college who were older and had different socio-economic status and life experiences than liberal arts students. We focused on two gun scenarios, the AR-15 and the Ruger Mini-14. Both are equally potent but the latter looks less aggressive to some. We also analyzed judgment of guilt versus innocence. In direct comparison - the AR-15 yielded significantly longer mean recommended sentences in the order of seven to nine years as compared to the Ruger (approximately two and a half years). On the verdict side, the percent of guilty judgments was approximately 65% for the AR-15 vs. 45% for the Ruger.

http://www.astcweb.org/public/publication/article.cfm/1/21/5/Weapons-Issues-and-the-Fears-of-the-Legally-Armed-Citizen

Offline evilphish

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Re: The Effect of Weapon Appearance on Trial Juries
« Reply #1 on: October 15, 2009, 02:41:29 PM »
a long but very interesting read.  and a good illustration on firearm ignorance.
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Offline Serellan

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Re: The Effect of Weapon Appearance on Trial Juries
« Reply #2 on: October 20, 2009, 06:17:57 PM »
Wow, this does lend credence to Jack's "Hunting Shotgun" argument.

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Offline liftsboxes

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Re: The Effect of Weapon Appearance on Trial Juries
« Reply #3 on: October 20, 2009, 06:45:30 PM »
If you don't think appearances and 'marketing' matter ... turn on network tv sometime.

Just because such things shouldn't matter doesn't mean they don't.  Ignore the tendancies of sheeple at your own peril.

Offline Mr. Blank

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Re: The Effect of Weapon Appearance on Trial Juries
« Reply #4 on: October 20, 2009, 07:34:27 PM »
That's why my "turkey hunting shotgun" has a 9 round extention tube on it. :)
“Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one.” – Charles Mackay
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Offline liftsboxes

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Re: The Effect of Weapon Appearance on Trial Juries
« Reply #5 on: October 20, 2009, 10:14:56 PM »
That's why my "turkey hunting shotgun" has a 9 round extention tube on it. :)

uh huh


Offline Mr. Blank

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Re: The Effect of Weapon Appearance on Trial Juries
« Reply #6 on: October 20, 2009, 11:13:31 PM »
That's exactly how I will pitch it to the judge. ;)
“Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one.” – Charles Mackay
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Offline Hartmann

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Re: The Effect of Weapon Appearance on Trial Juries
« Reply #7 on: October 28, 2009, 06:53:06 PM »
Good article and I'm glad someone is doing this research.  But please pay attention to the situation as posed to the jury:

"The burglar responds with a curse and a threat to kill the homeowner. The burglar does not have a visible weapon. The homeowner then shoots the burglar twice, killing him. After the shooting, the homeowner calls 911 immediately and informs the police of the actions of the burglar described above."

Said situation puts into serious question the need to shoot (see Massad Ayoob's Lethal Force lecture for details on why).  The defense does go on to argue that the defendant feared for his/her life, felt that there was disparity of force.  But these defenses are weak, and goes to prove that you can't just say things that sound good, they have to be apparently true to other reasonable people.  Thus, I submit that the shooting alone -- even had it been with a musket -- would have been likely judged as manslaughter.  

I would like to know what the defense attorney said in defense of the AR, if he/she covered any key, relevant facts that other successful defense attorneys have used.  The article doesn't mention it.
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Offline Hartmann

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Re: The Effect of Weapon Appearance on Trial Juries
« Reply #8 on: October 28, 2009, 06:55:33 PM »
Also, another interesting observation on how women view other women who defend themselves with guns:

Wow, this does lend credence to Jack's "Hunting Shotgun" argument.



First, note in that graph:  Females were harsher in judgements and sentencing to other, competent females than they were to males.  From the article:  "Branscombe, Crosby, and Weir (1993) ... found incompetent male shooters and competent female shooters were dealt with more harshly than the reverse pairing" 

and also

"The male officers using an AR-15 were sentenced harshly but not as harshly as females using a Glock. Women were also more likely to be viewed as guilty using the Glock."

That's an interesting sociological commentary that I've seen replicated in business studies.
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Offline Jimbo

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Re: The Effect of Weapon Appearance on Trial Juries
« Reply #9 on: October 28, 2009, 10:38:04 PM »
"The burglar responds with a curse and a threat to kill the homeowner. The burglar does not have a visible weapon. " There are times I sincerely hope the sheltered ivory tower dwellers who write the laws suffer a violent home invasion... >:(
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Offline TexDaddy

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Re: The Effect of Weapon Appearance on Trial Juries
« Reply #10 on: October 28, 2009, 11:39:29 PM »
"The burglar responds with a curse and a threat to kill the homeowner...
Here, you are now reasonably in fear of your life. Lethal force is justified. The burglar may not need a weapon in order to carry out his threat. You do not have to wait to find out.
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Offline ncjeeper

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Re: The Effect of Weapon Appearance on Trial Juries
« Reply #11 on: October 29, 2009, 12:15:05 AM »
Heck. OJ Simpson killed 2 people and the jury couldn't even figure out the simple evidence. Ill take my chances. I would rather be tried by 12 then carried by 6.
The early bird gets the worm.....But the second mouse gets the cheese.

Offline Hartmann

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Re: The Effect of Weapon Appearance on Trial Juries
« Reply #12 on: October 29, 2009, 11:01:04 AM »
Note also that even the defendants who used the Mini 14 were judged guilty 45% of the time.  So, the defendants were hardly in safe territory by using a less-eveil-looking gun.  They were pretty much flipping a coin as to whether they'd be found guilty or not.
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Offline StillAlive

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Re: The Effect of Weapon Appearance on Trial Juries
« Reply #13 on: October 29, 2009, 11:25:25 AM »
Thank god Florida is a castle state  :o

Offline Orionblade

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Re: The Effect of Weapon Appearance on Trial Juries
« Reply #14 on: October 29, 2009, 11:26:48 AM »
Question:

Why the heck would you use a .223 for home defense over an equal length and weight shotgun?

round capacity doesn't do it for me, since if I miss after 3-4 shots, then I'm either in cover and can reload anyhow, or I've got other things to worry about (like a sucking chest wound).

I guess you go with what's available, but why toss anyone a bone? old, beat-up hunting shotgun, current hunting license, and some deer meat in the freezer is a good enough defense for me.
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Offline Stein

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Re: The Effect of Weapon Appearance on Trial Juries
« Reply #15 on: November 04, 2009, 12:19:45 PM »
The point to the article is that there is a difference between the two guns, all else equal.  I would logically assume this delta exists across all instances.  Point is if you haven't bought your gun yet, give it a thought - or think about what you have at your bedside.

I would go so far as to say considering legal issues (including but not limited to this) is at least as important to the decision about what ammo or even what caliber to use - within reason.

Offline Orionblade

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Re: The Effect of Weapon Appearance on Trial Juries
« Reply #16 on: November 06, 2009, 01:21:33 PM »
I wonder if one of those "Premises Protected by Smith and Wesson" stickers would lend any leniency if a home invader were shot?

Also, I wonder about shot placement - is there a difference between shooting someone in the arm/leg/etc. vs. a deadly center of mass or head shot in terms of sentencing? Obviously there's the wounded vs. dead issue, and in the heat of the moment I doubt there is time to aim more specifically then "that-a-way", but I just wonder if juries read into it, and if so, in what direction does that reading lead them... *ponders*
You can't run away on a world that's round.
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Based on thorough experiments involving kissing in the rain, exposing shoulders to direct sunlight, and dancing by the light of a silvery moon,  I have found that, within the bounds of frostbite and decency, hapiness is inversely proportional to the amount of clothing worn.

Offline liftsboxes

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Re: The Effect of Weapon Appearance on Trial Juries
« Reply #17 on: November 07, 2009, 03:34:24 PM »
If they're dead, they can't sue you or testify that they pleaded for their lives before you pulled the trigger.

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1711925/posts 
« Last Edit: November 07, 2009, 03:38:04 PM by liftsboxes »

Offline Serellan

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Re: The Effect of Weapon Appearance on Trial Juries
« Reply #18 on: November 25, 2009, 01:43:20 PM »
If they're dead, they can't sue you or testify that they pleaded for their lives before you pulled the trigger.

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1711925/posts  

This kind of statement is often bandied about.  The fact is that even if you kill someone, their estate and relatives can still sue you.

FYI, that case was thrown out.

http://www.wisbar.org/res/capp/2009/2008ap001019.htm

Also, remember that anyone with a good tech-tracker could find statements that you make, and if you say something online like "I will kill someone in my house so they won't sue me," it can be used against you.  Something to think about.

"There are only two things we should fight for. One is the defense of our homes and the other is the Bill of Rights."

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Offline liftsboxes

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Re: The Effect of Weapon Appearance on Trial Juries
« Reply #19 on: November 25, 2009, 02:31:48 PM »
good points

Offline Stein

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Re: The Effect of Weapon Appearance on Trial Juries
« Reply #20 on: December 16, 2009, 02:10:09 PM »
I wonder if one of those "Premises Protected by Smith and Wesson" stickers would lend any leniency if a home invader were shot?

Also, I wonder about shot placement - is there a difference between shooting someone in the arm/leg/etc. vs. a deadly center of mass or head shot in terms of sentencing? Obviously there's the wounded vs. dead issue, and in the heat of the moment I doubt there is time to aim more specifically then "that-a-way", but I just wonder if juries read into it, and if so, in what direction does that reading lead them... *ponders*

My opinion is that they are either going to prosecute you or not.  If they decide to prosecute, they will do everything possible to make you look bad.  If you shot him in the leg, why did you need several shots?  Didn't you receive adequate training?  Were you "spraying" bullets everywhere endangering your family?  Is that why you needed the hi-cap magazine, to compensate for your poor skills, or did you plan to shoot bullets everywhere?

If you shot him in the head, why not a shot to warn him or stop him without killing him?  How did you pull off the "miracle" shot unless he was standing still pleading for his life?

The best you can do is to remove the obvious things they will likely go after, never issue a statement without a competent attorney and pray it never happens.

Offline Serellan

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Re: The Effect of Weapon Appearance on Trial Juries
« Reply #21 on: December 16, 2009, 02:15:54 PM »
My opinion is that they are either going to prosecute you or not.  If they decide to prosecute, they will do everything possible to make you look bad.  If you shot him in the leg, why did you need several shots?  Didn't you receive adequate training?  Were you "spraying" bullets everywhere endangering your family?  Is that why you needed the hi-cap magazine, to compensate for your poor skills, or did you plan to shoot bullets everywhere?

If you shot him in the head, why not a shot to warn him or stop him without killing him?  How did you pull off the "miracle" shot unless he was standing still pleading for his life?

The best you can do is to remove the obvious things they will likely go after, never issue a statement without a competent attorney and pray it never happens.

+1
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Re: The Effect of Weapon Appearance on Trial Juries
« Reply #22 on: December 29, 2009, 11:21:18 PM »
Question:

Why the heck would you use a .223 for home defense over an equal length and weight shotgun?



Less recoil, faster follow-up shots, less penetration indoors, more equipment operations, more rounds (I know you dont care, but it can matter), easier to deliver a precision shot, etc.

Offline Hartmann

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Re: The Effect of Weapon Appearance on Trial Juries
« Reply #23 on: December 30, 2009, 12:11:26 AM »
Less recoil, faster follow-up shots, less penetration indoors, more equipment operations, more rounds (I know you dont care, but it can matter), easier to deliver a precision shot, etc.

+1
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Re: The Effect of Weapon Appearance on Trial Juries
« Reply #24 on: December 30, 2009, 02:31:07 AM »
for me it is a matter of simple economics. i hang out with a few law enforcment types and the one thing they all aggree on is the fact that if you have to defend your home and faimly from some scum bag your method of defense will be confiscated and locked in an evidence room for an underermined ammount of time. even if you are totally in the right and God almighty aggrees with your course of action. would you rather have a $900 plus AR15 locked up or a $250 used "pawn shop special 870"? not to mention that a home invasion is not like a real invasion i would recon to say that if you need more than about 6 rounds you are more than likely screwed and probably worrying about a sucking chest wound or something along thoese lines

NCPatrolAR

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Re: The Effect of Weapon Appearance on Trial Juries
« Reply #25 on: December 30, 2009, 10:11:53 AM »
for me it is a matter of simple economics. i hang out with a few law enforcment types and the one thing they all aggree on is the fact that if you have to defend your home and faimly from some scum bag your method of defense will be confiscated and locked in an evidence room for an underermined ammount of time. even if you are totally in the right and God almighty aggrees with your course of action. would you rather have a $900 plus AR15 locked up or a $250 used "pawn shop special 870"? not to mention that a home invasion is not like a real invasion i would recon to say that if you need more than about 6 rounds you are more than likely screwed and probably worrying about a sucking chest wound or something along thoese lines

yes, the weapon you use will most likely be seized as evidence and held until the case has been. However, I choose to equip myself with the tools that give me the best chance of making it to the point where the police are turning my gun in to Property Control. If my AR is seized (and I didn't have several more) then I'd pull out the shotgun and put into home protection duties.



Offline Stein

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Re: The Effect of Weapon Appearance on Trial Juries
« Reply #26 on: January 13, 2010, 11:59:18 AM »
Check out the Fish case for another example of what can happen.

http://proarms.podbean.com/2008/11/23/015-the-10mm-review-the-harold-fish-case/

My thought is that there are many things that can get the job done.  I don't see it as a choice between a slingshot and bazooka.  What's the difference between 10 mm an 45 or 9mm in terms of stopping power?  Semi-auto vs revolver?  Fish unfortunately was prepared for a bear as well as a man which affected his choice.  He also had a shitty attorney in my opinion.

I agree we need to find a tool suited to the job and also agree that by going to jail I cannot defend my family.  Both stopping the bad guy and keeping myself out of legal trouble are necessary - it can't be an either/or type of thing.

Offline Serellan

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Re: The Effect of Weapon Appearance on Trial Juries
« Reply #27 on: January 13, 2010, 02:29:32 PM »
Check out the Fish case for another example of what can happen.

http://proarms.podbean.com/2008/11/23/015-the-10mm-review-the-harold-fish-case/

My thought is that there are many things that can get the job done.  I don't see it as a choice between a slingshot and bazooka.  What's the difference between 10 mm an 45 or 9mm in terms of stopping power?  Semi-auto vs revolver?  Fish unfortunately was prepared for a bear as well as a man which affected his choice.  He also had a shitty attorney in my opinion.

I agree we need to find a tool suited to the job and also agree that by going to jail I cannot defend my family.  Both stopping the bad guy and keeping myself out of legal trouble are necessary - it can't be an either/or type of thing.

From the prosecutor interview:

Quote
And the jury had another issue to think about: Fish’s gun.

The firearms investigator said that Fish’s gun — a 10mm — is more powerful than what police officers use and is not typically used for personal protection.  And the ammunition Fish used to shoot Kuenzli three times, called “a hollow-point bullet,” is made to expand when it enters the body.

When he decided to pull the trigger, the prosecutor said, Fish should have known what the consequences would be.

    Lessler: Mr. Fish knew well what a hollow-point bullet does.

    Larson: And the end product of his shooting is going to be death?

    Lessler: Yes.

I can't even begin to express my discust at this statement.  A 10mm round, ONE SPECIFICALLY DEVELOPED FOR THE FBI, is "more powerful" than what police typically use, when many use .40 cals, which is generally considered MORE potent than the 10mm.  And hollowpoints ARE SELF DEFENSE ROUNDS!  ARGH!

If this guy had had a 9mm FMJ, the prosecutor would have said he was carrying a pistol designed for military use!
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Offline Stein

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Re: The Effect of Weapon Appearance on Trial Juries
« Reply #28 on: January 15, 2010, 12:10:18 PM »
From the prosecutor interview:

I can't even begin to express my discust at this statement.  A 10mm round, ONE SPECIFICALLY DEVELOPED FOR THE FBI, is "more powerful" than what police typically use, when many use .40 cals, which is generally considered MORE potent than the 10mm.  And hollowpoints ARE SELF DEFENSE ROUNDS!  ARGH!

If this guy had had a 9mm FMJ, the prosecutor would have said he was carrying a pistol designed for military use!

Which really points out the need for a good attorney to counter the ridiculous arguments.

Regarding the 10mm, I thought the 40 was developed as a smaller case and about half the load as the 10mm because the FBI were having problems with agents not being able to qualify with it due to the recoil.  I'm no arms historian though.

The focus Fish's attorneys should have played is what happens if he DOESN"T shoot, not what happens if he does shoot.  The prosecution was using common sense against him.

Offline Serellan

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Re: The Effect of Weapon Appearance on Trial Juries
« Reply #29 on: January 15, 2010, 03:33:41 PM »
Which really points out the need for a good attorney to counter the ridiculous arguments.

Regarding the 10mm, I thought the 40 was developed as a smaller case and about half the load as the 10mm because the FBI were having problems with agents not being able to qualify with it due to the recoil.  I'm no arms historian though.

The focus Fish's attorneys should have played is what happens if he DOESN"T shoot, not what happens if he does shoot.  The prosecution was using common sense against him.

That's true, i had it backwards (I was confusing more potent with more effective/manageable), also because I have read that the .40 is more effective in transferring energy with less overpenetration than the 10mm (I could be wrong on that though!).  However, my statement still stands that this guy uses a round that was chosen by the FBI, is very similar to the .40 S&W, which is popular among LE, and he gets vilified for it!

 
"There are only two things we should fight for. One is the defense of our homes and the other is the Bill of Rights."

-Major General Smedley Butler, USMC