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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This sort of goes along with my other post about being new to concelaed carry. I'm not attempting to solicit legal advice but rather ask some questions about being legally prepared. If I am overthinking the whole thing, please let me know.

I have a family physician, family dentist, an accountant that is a buddy of mine, a real estate attorney that looks out for some property for me, and a financial advisor that is a family friend. If I, or a family member, has a problem I can reach out to large circle of experts for advice or referral in a number of areas.

Would it be worthwhile to add an attorney to list in case the time ever comes to " shut up and call a lawyer"?

What kind of attorney? ( I am assuming criminal defense)

Do any organizations keep a list of referrals by state?

What questions should I ask if inquiring?

Do I have to have someone on retainer to take my call in the wee hours of the morning?

I'd like to have a name or two in my phonebook rather than flipping through the yellow pages in a crisis.

Would it be detrimental to say to the investigating officer or ADA, "Sir, I want to cooperate as much as possible, but I would be more comfortable if I had legal counsel"?

Thanks,

DocV
 

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Dear Doctor:

I too have a family doctor, dentist, accountant and even, a family attorney. These guys are my entry into the great big wide world of specialists. I don't think that the average guy can make a living either by over or under specializing. However, all of them feel free to refer me for specialist work because they actually know who does what best.

Having said that, I do see a few successful defense attorneys on the TV when high profile cases are in the news. But as I learned at Thunder Ranch from Clint, "I want to talk to my attorney" or words to that effect. I have a LEO friend who carries the card of an attorney that he respects in the event of a problem at work or play.

I do not go looking for trouble. I am however prepared for it. And in the event of it, I have no intention of shooting myself with any statement to any authority without benefit of counsel. I work in the regulatory field, and when stuff happens I always recommend that you be represented by counsel when dealing with the government.

I recommend you talk to the guy who does your real estate closings and wills/trusts. If they don't know, they can find out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks Mr. Oberst,

I appreciate it and your response confirms my thoughts along those lines. I forgot to mention I will be living in a new town and new state (VA). My lawyer buddy didn't really know any members of the VA Bar that he could recommend.

Our unit JAG's response was "Good God! Don't call me! I "ll deny I know you!" then went on to say he would ask around when we got back as he is new to the area too but could probably find out who the top guys in the area are.

DocV
 

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I'm a longtime criminal defense lawyer who's handled dozens of murder cases and many self-defense claims. I don't have a lot of time, but I'll try to hit the high points real quick.

Would it be worthwhile to add an attorney to list in case the time ever comes to " shut up and call a lawyer"?

Yes.

What kind of attorney? ( I am assuming criminal defense)

And you'd be right. :) But not just any yahoo DWI defense guy - you want someone who's handled murder cases and who knows something about guns.

Do any organizations keep a list of referrals by state?

This is a tough one. Bar organizations that refer attorneys generally do so by referring the next guy on the list (who hasn't been disbarred) who's willing to take that kind of work. Martindale, Hubbard is largely unaware of superb criminal practitioners. The NACDL and your state criminal defense lawyer association won't guarantee you that you get a good one, just a member. Defensive Carry Forums has a list of attorneys who will take such cases, but that's not saying they're all good. Same with The Shooter's Bar online.

You need to research this, and it's not going to be as easy as pulling someone off a list. :)

What questions should I ask if inquiring?

Go ask other lawyers you know (many lawyers know who's good in other specialties) and cops you may know (or just go ask cops you encounter at the donut shoppe), "If your wife were accused of murder following a shooting in self defense, who would you want representing her?" Make a list of the names. You're going to see three to five names set themselves apart from the rest of the pack. Call them up. Ask to come talk to them. Some are too busy - you don't want them. Some are happy to talk to you. Pick one who makes you feel comfortable. Put his/her card in your wallet.

Do I have to have someone on retainer to take my call in the wee hours of the morning?

A retainer is money held in trust by a lawyer against future fees and expenses. Criminal defense work is generally done on a per-case for-fee basis. (Frankly, I'd be a bit concerned if someone came in and told me that he wanted to put me on retainer for criminal work - it would indicate that he was intending to commit a crime.
) I would be stunned to hear that a respectable criminal defense lawyer would want a retainer to be willing to answer your call.

However, you should also anticipate that the guy is not going to be eager to give you his home number (I do it, but only for acquaintances whom I trust). He doesn't need some whack-a-doo (remember, you're just some guy off the street to him) calling him at home. Here's what'll happen in the event of a shooting: you tell the police, "I'd love to help and to talk to you but I need my lawyer here. This is my lawyer." They will either get you the lawyer, or they will hold you until business opens - you'll live. I've been a prosecutor: believe me, the cops want to get things rolling, so they're likely to try to track your lawyer down for you and get him there.

Okay, I've got to zoom. :) Best of luck to you with it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you Counselor. I appreciate your response. It gives me a game plan. I also never thought that about retainers. I see now how that would be percieved.

R/ DocV
 

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Docv: Welcome to the Commonwealth! And, with regard to the entire JAGC (without regard to branch of service), nice guys but if they could not beat me in a Chapter Action, how are they going to beat the silver tounged devils with years of litigation/trial experience? Nope. no JAGC please. Nothing personal but for most it is their first shot at lawyering out of the factory, they do a tour as defense counsel, then commanders counsel, then write wills and trusts and then do Article 15 counseling.

When you are in trouble, and I think that would most likely be the case after any shooting, you cannot afford to deal with the average attorney looking to make a reasonable compromise. You need the biggest, baddest defense guy you can find who does not appear to be the counsel for the truly sleasy. Here in The Holy City, there are two or three names that come to mind. PM me should you want to know the last names. But, my family lawyer was in point of fact the guy who pointed out why they appear to be so good. They are former prosecutors, experienced at trial and well respected. The guys who work for the TV stations, they are talking heads and not trial guys.

Regards,

STA
 

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Hello,

For those following this thead, I believe that Erich offers the best and soundest advise with regard to this subject--he has actually seen and walked with the "elephant".

I sincerely appreciate his candor here and believe that all will be serve best with his advice.

Best,

Chris
 
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Doc,

Here's what I did. One of the nation's best self-defense oriented attorneys (has worked with Ayoob on cases) offices a couple miles from my house. He's a former LEO, and IPSC shooter, to boot, highly respected by prosecutors and detectives alike. I walked in to his office and introduced myself. He gave me 20 minutes of his time, and informed me that for a yearly retainer, he'd guarantee 24hr on-call, but without a retainer, he'd still respond within 8 hrs. The retainer was too much for me, in the $100's per month range.

I took a couple of his cards and had them laminated. I keep one in my wallet next to my CHL. I also keep the card of another attorney, also in my IDPA club who is a close personal friend and will respond 24/7. I also have this attorney;s # on speed dial. If something happens, my friend can respond and hand-hold, until the "big gun" can get on board.

Fortunately around here, citizens in shoots that appear "prima facie kosher" are usually sent home without charges in a few hours.

Mark
 

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Sheesh - what a tool. I do that (allow 24-hr access) for friends and acquaintances for free. (After all, I'd feel terrible if they needed me and I wasn't there for them.)

I'm starting to understand all those lawyer jokes . . . ;)
 
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Hang on, my friend will respond 24/7, even if I'm in jail in Mexico. That's because he can call me at 11pm for a background or asset check he needs by 9am the next day, and I don't gripe...too much.


The other guy has a huge practice, and can't possibly guarantee that he he can respond instantly to anyone who takes his card - 4 million people live here, and 2 million of them are scumbags. I thought his retainer was awfully high, but then this a town where I've seen college students run up 3-4000 dollar bar tabs..
 

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Howdy folks,

Well Mr. Erich, since you are starting to understand the lawyer jokes now sir, have you heard the one.... Just kidding my friend but I could not resist.

Seriously folks, as has been said, the advice given by Mr. Erich is real world, and much appreciated. He has been there and done that so to speak, and that makes his advice that much more valuable - he is not a talking head.

As a former homicide detective, I can only say I agree with his suggestions. Personally, I think having an attorney you have met at least once, you can call when faced with a self defense shooting situation is good advice, and just like carrying a spare magazine. It is simply more ammo in your arsenal of tools.

Even with the badge, you will sometimes encounter situations that appear to make no sense. But when you work for the federal government or Uncle Sugar as I fondly call him, making sense is the last thing you come to expect. Another downside is that things can varying greatly dependant upon the judicial district you are working in.

Here is a good example - in the Southern District of Florida, where I had previously worked before my last transfer, the duty Assistant U.S. Attorney would routinely respond to the scene of all officer involved shootings. Since they were a govt attorney, and you were a govt agent, that simply made sense, they were there to make sure that things were done properly. Then the U.S. Attorney for that district (appointed by the President, not necessarily for their high level of legal skills), sent out a memo explaining that henceforth, duty AUSAs would not be responding to agent involved shootings. His logic was that sense the U.S. Attorney's Office might well have to prosecute that agent for improper use of force or some other criminal or civil violations, he felt it was a conflict of interest for an AUSA to assist the agent at the scene.

You can imagine all the warm fuzzies that memo left us agents with, lol. Most of us already knew an attorney of one type or another. But trust me folks, running your finger down a list in the phone book at 0200 is not the way you want to pick an attorney. Many of us spoke with attorneys we knew and said ok, give me some names of folks you would suggest I speak with and meet if you do not feel qualified. Handling a self-defense shooting/potential homicide case (you never know how things will initially be viewed) is simply not something most criminal attorneys are capable of doing properly. It does require some serious expertise in my opinion.

Things were a bit easier for me post-memo. I made sure my memberships in FLEOA and BOP were both still current, and wrote down the 24/7 contact numbers for their legal divisions and kept them in my cred case. I also had cards for two attorneys there too.

I do think my friend Mr. Erich has offered excellent advice on this subject. Something else to consider possibly, is once you get settled a bit, join a gun club. Ask around to see if any of the members are criminal attorneys, and reach out to them. They may not have the expertise needed, but if not probably know someone who does. Since they are members of the club, they might be more willing to offer some names for you.

Just wanted to throw my two cents into the mix for what little it might be worth.

twoguns
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Done and done. I have the name of someone recommended by several local LEOs as the guy they would call and I joined the Virginia Citizens Defense League. I have "warmer fuzzies" by adding those arrows to my quiver should the unthinkable happen.

R/
DocV
 

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Please allow me internationalize this topic a little bit:

I have been in court just one time as a wittiness in a divorce process, and as every MD (by the way I am deeply disappointed not being in your doctors call list je je) I feel horror from legal procedures. I hope not have the need to visit a court in my life.

I know different countries have different legal system and I am not in the US, and this is a US forum.

But there are shooters from different countries that post in the forum, so I ask for permision to internationalize this topic (if not possible, moderators should feel free to delete my post) because I feel the need to ask all of you and Erich about the proper thing to do in a country where Napoleonic principles apply in self defense. This means similar or equal conditions in armory. If the attacker has a baseball bat, I should use a similar weapon, and not a gun. I hope my post and the comments to it might be interesting for you in procedures which might apply abroad.

There have been not so many processes in self defense here, so there is very few jurisprudence.

I have made me a question many times, and it is what happens if I find an attacker against whom I would have no choice to a fair equal conditions defense because he is big and I am small, because he can attack with a knife, and I have no idea about using such a weapon, because I am older and he is young (I am not old I'm 47) and I have the need to fire against a not firearm armed, but very dangerous and aggressive attacker.

So, Erich and everyone, I am very interested on your comments.
 

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My attorney is a former parole officer who went to night school to get his JD. He does general law practice, things like estates, etc. but he's mostly a fine criminal attorney, with lots of experience from working as a public defender, a job he loves, since he believes as I do that everyone, even a scumbag, deserves good legal representation. In that capacity he's been involved in several capital cases, along with the normal BS that comes across his desk. And he's very knowledgeable about firearms and self defense issues, which is a definite plus.
 
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