Self defender wins legal fees under a nifty statute
Defendant was a serviceman charged with assault with a firearm; defense was that he had drawn it to ward off an angry group menacing him and his girlfriend. Jury found for him. Now the State finds itself liable for his legal fees, perhaps $25,000, under a Washington state law providing that "When a person charged with a crime listed in subsection (1) of this section is found not guilty by reason of self-defense, the state of Washington shall reimburse the defendant for all reasonable costs, including loss of time, legal fees incurred, and other expenses involved in his or her defense..."
The article fills in some details. He and a friend and their girlfriends were accosted by a group of seven. The group threatened them. His friend had the gun, but dropped it and there was a scuffle and he came up with it, and warned them to back off. Prosecutor said they went with it because he hit one of the group with the handgun. The jury foreman noted they presented no evidence of this. One of the prosecution witnesses said he was so drunk he couldn't recall much of the event.
A nifty statute, although as one attorney points out, since the State rather than the county pays, it's not much deterrent to a county prosecutor.
Hat tip to refugee(at sign)ricketyclick.com, and Ricketyclick Blog
This Washington statute is a real boon for the right of self-defense. The poor guy who saved the police officer's life in Baton Rouge, then was taken to a grand jury for his trouble, could use something like this. Does anyone know of similar laws in other states?
Posted by: Achilles at June 8, 2006 01:12 PM
I wanted to say that I am a 41 year old female , I've worked for the past twenty years supporting my husband and daughter, i recently got a divorce and am scared being by myself. I look above average and am very nice and personable. My background includes a felony for drugs when I was 18 and a 4th degree assault charge when I was 30. According to our laws I cant have the right to bear arms and I beleive this is a total injustice to women because we arent as strong as men and cant defend ourselves in hand to hand combat with a male. I beleive I should be able to possess a firearm because my felony charge was from when I was 18 and the 4th degree assault was only verbal there was no physical violence. I beleive if more women had the right to bear arms with felony convictions that were not violent then we wouldn't be killed as much as we are. It is very scary being a single woman, I beleive that it should come down to a case by case to determine elegibility for a gun permit.
Posted by: Gina at February 18, 2011 11:32 AM