Can being “properly trained” work against you in court?

Posted on: May 16th, 2014
Take the case of Bob (name changed to protect the ‘presumed innocent’) where he ended up protecting his house and family against an intruder. Could this be you?

Bob and his family were home at night and the neighborhood dogs started barking…not just one but what seemed like all of them. That was unusual. It was enough to wake Bob up and to send him into alert status of listening more attentively. Of course, when you are listening for everything and anything all noises seem loud and unusual. But in this case, what happened next was definitely not the usual.

He heard a small crash, what sounded like something on the patio falling over. There wasn’t any wind so something had to have caused the noise. That was enough for Bob to spring into action and begin executing a plan he had worked on for the past few years…what to do in case someone was trying to break into his house. It was his “home defense” plan he had trained for and was ready to put into action.

He retrieved his 9mm hand gun and holster from the safe, checked and inserted the magazine, grabbed two extra magazines, pocket knife, and his pepper spray. Then he woke up his wife and told her to grab the kids, lock themselves in their bathroom, and call 911…he wasn’t sure what was going on but he didn’t want to take any chances. Now he was ready to check out what the noise was outside.

As he went down the stairs he heard someone playing with the lock on the door and obviously trying to get into the house. He positioned himself behind the wall with clear view of the back door. Without hesitation he loaded a round in the chamber and was ready. In just a few minutes the door popped open and in walks the unwanted guest. Before he could get out of the kitchen, Bob yelled to freeze and put up his hands because he had a gun pointed at him. Instead of putting his hands up he reached down, as if to grab something from his coat. Bob shot. Not a fatal shot, just a wounding shot in the leg. After all, Bob had been training for this for quite a while and knew the protocol he wanted to use…wound first.

He was down and Bob was in control. The police and ambulance arrived and took the intruder to the hospital and Bob down to the station to get the facts of what just happened. Fast forward a bit, and of course the intruder claimed he was shot unjustly and that Bob had set him up so he could shoot him. Bob had been through two years of training and the claim was he knew how to make this look like self-defense when there really wasn’t a need for violence. In these cases one thing is for certain…there are lots of unanswered questions.

Because Bob had trained for this, did it put him in a different category…someone who wanted to execute a self-defense plan, regardless of circumstances? Should he have taken more “retreat” measures instead of “confrontation” measures? Should he have called 911 immediately and done more to avoid the confrontation? Lots of questions. And the defense for the perpetrator claimed he was so well trained he was aggressively looking for confrontation…unjustly.

What do you think? Is being well trained a lever others can use against you? Is being trained for life-threatening situations give the defense more leverage? While I believe this is generally a weak argument, it is still made all the time…certainly a Catch22. Share your thoughts…
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