Marc MacYoung
Expert Witness,  Author,  Instructor

 

 

 

 

 

Most violence is illegal
Self-defense shouldn't be.

 

 Self-defense is worked backward from the way defense attorneys normally operate. The state doesn't have to prove your client did it, he's already confessed.

 Self-defense defense requires your side to show the same evidence standards prosecutors use to convict someone. Basically you will have to argue the assailant had the ability, opportunity, and intent to harm. Under this immediate threat is when within limits use of force is justifiable as self-defense. You also will have to provide evidence your client acted appropriately to the threat level and did not actively engage in the creation and escalation of the situation.

  The hardest part is when the prosecution uses your own tricks against you. The prosecution only has to undermine your case to win. This creates four core challenges when defending someone claiming self-defense:

  1. Did your client act in self-defense?
     
  2. If it was self-defense can your client articulate why he or she reasonably believed immediate danger existed?
     
  3. Do you know what questions to ask in order to show the jury what your client did actually was self-defense?
     
  4. Can you counter damaging (and often misleading) questions about violence from the opposing counsel?

 Much of what my job entails is to help you educate the jury. But it's also to help you with those four points so you can better defend your client. If nothing else, my reports influence any plea bargain that might be offered.

  Subjects I cover include:
Criminal behavior and violence, immediate threat, improvised weapons, knife use,  martial arts training, defense against multiple attackers, scaling force, self-defense, self-defense training, threat assessment, violence dynamics,  violence reconstruction, and withdrawal feasibility.

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