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View Full Version : SF Weekly - A Surprisingly Fair Gun Trial Story


CABilly
05-31-2009, 11:33 PM
SF Weekly: Trial By Fire (http://www.sfweekly.com/2009-05-27/news/trial-by-fire/)

It's a long story but very much worth the time to read. Basically, a Bayview shopkeep allegedly fired a warning round in self defense after being threatened in his store - accidentally hitting an alleged shoplifter (non-fatally). Later, his store was torched and he was on the hook for a minimum 25-life sentence for firing into an occupied vehicle and 5 other lesser charges. I'll let you take a guess or read how it went in court.:thumbsup:


I'm really amazed by this article. Not only is it the cover feature of SF Weekly, a free rag I've never felt the urge to read, but as I've mentioned, it's surprisingly fair reporting WRT an incident involving a shooting.

There are some very scary quotes from the trial:
Pointing Moshin's 9mm pistol in the air several times, Loftus [prosecutor] asked the jury "to not tell people there's a different standard of defense in the Bayview: to shoot first and ask questions later."

Riiiight. I've heard of police asking, "I'm terribly sorry, good sir, but may I please inquire: is that your wallet you've reached for after I've asked for your ID, or is it a pistol with which you intend to shoot me? I hate to ask, but you know how it goes."

What do you think of the shooting? I know I would have done some things differently.

johnthomas
06-01-2009, 12:33 AM
I feel this guy was lucky in court. I'm glad it turned out this way. Self defense is crucial. Your either a victim or your not. With the news on the economy getting worse every day, life for normal Americans will be harder.
If anything like this happens, remember your 5th. It doesn't mean you have done anything wrong, it is an attorney's job to make sure you don't say anything that can be misconstrued as an admission of any wrong doing. If you are brought to the police station do not be mislead into thinking the interview is an interview. It is an interrogation. They are there to get anything they can from you to be used against you in court. During the interrogation the police can lie to you. The tape recorder in front of you is a prop. They turn it off and say, ok, off the record, while all along the video camera with sound is recording everything you say. Remember, they won't use anything you say in court to help you, only to help convict you. If you feel you must make a statement, make it short, and to the point. The less you say, the better off you are. When the police are taking statements, they write everything down, no small talk or kidding around. Like Joe Friday said, "only the facts".

socal2310
06-01-2009, 7:18 AM
The police are not your friend, plain and simple. Even if you are in the right, say nothing to them. "I want to speak to my attorney" is all that needs to be said.

I slightly disagree. A short rehearsed statement can mean the difference between being arrested and being released on your own recognizance.

Presumably you were in fear for your life or that of an innocent, but that is unlikely to be the assumption made by the officer (remember, the vast majority of shootings they are called to are other than self defense) I like Ayoob's recommendation: even if your assailant is obviously dead say, "Officer, arrest that man, I was in fear for my life and I shot him."

Ryan

Vectrexer
06-01-2009, 8:08 AM
Excellent reporting.

Pvt. Cowboy
06-01-2009, 8:24 AM
Thanks for reminding me why I left San Francisco.

7x57
06-01-2009, 8:31 AM
Something quite striking in that story is certain cultural attitudes put in juxtaposition. Being a lefty magazine, it's all about race and class, as that is their lens, so let's talk about that. The story makes clear the arabs' cultural imperatives to stay clean, work hard, don't hang around with the wrong people. Then later on one of the residents offers his proof that the system favors arabs against black men: because when he was in jail he didn't see arabs there.

He cannot conceive that the reason is because of the choices the arabs made, or that the choices young men make are strongly affected by their cradle culture, just as Plato taught. He doesn't believe in cause-and-effect. In fact, he is more of a determinist than the arab whose religion is theoretically strongly deterministic.

And that is why the left is as dangerous as a snake even when they choose to support the Constitution. They not only teach the learned helplessness that made that black man say things that simply belong to another reality, not only wish to destroy the kind of traditional culture that made that arab family successful--they use the state's power of the sword to destroy anyone who does not obey.

The main kind of racism in that story is the kind that believes that nothing better is possible for that black community.

7x57

nobody_special
06-01-2009, 10:30 AM
Wow, interesting story. I agree with 7x57, there is a significant cultural difference... essentially criminal vs. honesty, or entitlement vs. discipline.

Most striking to me is the disparity in sentencing: the arsonist got 3 years, whereas a self-defense shooting which hit a car, with enhancement for injury, has a mandatory 25 year sentence. The shopkeeper certainly made mistakes here, but his errors are not deserving of such a harsh penalty. I'm glad (and surprised) it turned out well.

GaryV
06-01-2009, 10:41 AM
Most striking to me is the disparity in sentencing: the arsonist got 3 years, whereas a self-defense shooting which hit a car, with enhancement for injury, has a mandatory 25 year sentence. The shopkeeper certainly made mistakes here, but his errors are not deserving of such a harsh penalty. I'm glad (and surprised) it turned out well.

That's the problem with mandatory sentencing laws - they take away the ability of judges to take circumstances into account when passing sentence. People get all upset about drive-by shootings and pass a law like this without thinking about the fact that people might find themselves in a situation like this shop keeper.

There are a lot of mandatory sentencing laws that deal with firearms related instances all over the country. It's a real problem because a person acting in self-defense who just barely skirts the edge (or doesn't, but gets charged anyway) is often looking at 10-20 years or more in prison automatically, even if the circumstances don't come close to warranting such harsh treatment. And in a lot of states, the jury is not told what the mandatory sentence is (like in this case), so they can't even have the chance to nullify based on the punishment being way out of proportion to the charged offense.

nick
06-01-2009, 10:44 AM
That's the problem with mandatory sentencing laws - they take away the ability of judges to take circumstances into account when passing sentence. People get all upset about drive-by shootings and pass a law like this without thinking about the fact that people might find themselves in a situation like this shop keeper.

There are a lot of mandatory sentencing laws that deal with firearms related instances all over the country. It's a real problem because a person acting in self-defense who just barely skirts the edge (or doesn't, but gets charged anyway) is often looking at 10-20 years or more in prison automatically, even if the circumstances don't come close to warranting such harsh treatment. And in a lot of states, the jury is not told what the mandatory sentence is (like in this case), so they can't even have the chance to nullify based on the punishment being way out of proportion to the charged offense.

And there's no jury nullification in CA.

PolishMike
06-01-2009, 10:47 AM
good read

Vtec44
06-01-2009, 11:18 AM
That was a long but very good read!

Interesting quotes...

If the question of the trial was whether a jury will trust a convicted felon's word over that of an alleged criminal with no record, the answer is no. While some jurors said they didn't feel fully satisfied and many were frustrated by what they saw as a sloppy police investigation, they agreed they couldn't say Mohsin wasn't acting in lawful self-defense beyond reasonable doubt.

He served Mohsin a stern parting admonishment: "Stay miles away from any firearm. Miles away from any firearm."

Despite the judge's warning, Mohsin will be near firearms quite soon if he gets his way: He plans to put in his application with Oakland's police academy next month. He says he hopes his children won't have to work a day at a liquor store in their lives.

Asphodel
06-01-2009, 11:26 AM
7x57 makes a good point, particularly regarding the 'learned helplessness' of a significant number of the coloured population here. I've had occasion to be the proverbial 'little mousie in the corner', watching that happen, since being here in California for awhile in the early 1960's.

I got to see, and hear, first-hand, some of the agitprop which changed the 'guiding beliefs' of many of the young Negro people from 'civil rights and responsible integration' to 'hatred for 'Whitey the Devil', promoted by the 'Black Panther Party' and suchlike'.

Yes, 7x57 is right in visualising 'the left' as being about as trust-worthy as a snake.....but, consider just which 'left' he is considering.

The 'old left' was a labour movement, which you can thank for the 'eight hour day', 'compensation for injured employees', and many other workplace protections which working people now 'take for granted'.......the 'old left' worked hard for those social advances, albeit that some unions were later co-opted by organised crime, which is another story altogether.

The so-called 'new left' is a very different sort of snake indeed.....and its emergence in our culture is a truly morbidly fascinating field for study.......agitprop in action, but just whose agitprop?

Who are the shadowy figures behind the emergence of the 'new left', in the '60's, , and just how have thousands, or hundreds of thousands, of 'at-risk' young Hispanic and Negro people come 'under its spell?'

As a beginning, consider the points at which the interests of otherwise differing types of economic opportunists may coincide.........the dope trade is 'big business', so is the 'criminal justice system', and......as the old saying goes......'there is a lot of money to be made there'.....

An acquaintance of ours, a low-level opportunist in his own right, spent quite awhile 'hanging out with' the Negro crime sub-culture, thinking that he would become rich and famous by writing a book on the subject of that 'culture', as an earlier caucasian writer did with his book 'Black Like Me', in which the writer disguised himself as a Negro, and 'interviewed' some number of Negro people in the south, in the form of 'casual conversations'.

(that fool whose story we heard really believed that they accepted him as some sort of 'righteous Whitey'.....but was lucky to escape with his life)

We got to hear some first-hand observations of the Negro crime sub-culture, which were just depressing as all hell. History demonstrates how the Hitler administration in Germany succeeded in 'brain-washing' some millions of young Germans........and some number......by no means all, but far too many...of the young Negro and Hispanic people here are, to all appearances, pretty much equally 'brain-washed'.

So.......there is a bit of a challenge for the 2A people here, as we can see.......there is 'big money' behind 'street crime gangs, and yet more 'big money' behind 'gun control'. There are major cultural issues which are being promoted by various varieties of the 'agitprop' creeps which will influence the 'dumbed-down' younger members of the general public.

The 'enemy' of the responsible American public is not merely 'the left'......its a coalition of opportunists, many of not most of whom have straight-forward economic interests in the victimisation of the public (research the political actions of the 'prison guards union', for a good example)

'Totalitarianism' is the 'religion' of both the 'hard left', and the 'hard right'.....the 'window dressing' is different, but the underlying contempt and hatred for the American Constitution and Bill of Rights is much the same, no matter how it may be flavoured.

There is something to notice here, if one takes a moment to look closely at a few semantic details........watch out for agitprop presented in a semantic flavour which massages the egos of would-be 'right-wing' people.......its too easy to allow oneself to become a 'believer'........... : (

cheers

(and, upon a moment's reflection, I really don't know why I wasted my time writing all this.......I really doubt anyone here much gives a damn......but, y'know, I'd really, truly like to be wrong about that)

Carla

johnthomas
06-01-2009, 11:35 AM
Asphodel, You would be suprised. Your obvious insight and obversations are not going un-noticed. Thank you

CCWFacts
06-01-2009, 11:52 AM
It's a good article.

I have a few points from it.


This guy should not have gone out of his shop and shot at a car. He should not have fired shots to scare or intimidate. From the facts as presented in the article it sounds like the jury reached the right decision (the prosecution's witness was a life-long compulsive liar and petty criminal) but this guy didn't need to do what he did and he ended up in a very stressful and expensive trial because of it. Maybe in Yemen it's culturally acceptable to fire warning shots or to shoot at a car to scare someone, but it's not acceptable here in the US.
If this guy had had a professional self-defense shooting class he would have learned American society's rules for acceptable use of a gun in self-defense and he would not have made that mistake.
If this guy had been an active member of the NRA and part of America's shooting culture, he would have had more chance to learn those things, and at the same time he would have had a chance to help advance shall-issue. I'm sure all those Yemeni shop owners carry illegally. It said in the article that he carried a loaded gun wrapped in a cloth. That's illegal to do anywhere in public. If he had been actively involved in gun rights he probably also would have learned information that would have kept him out of so much trouble.
I'm glad he's ok. It's awful that his shop was burned down. It's awful the people he has to deal with, and how the city and a prosecutor are eager to take the side of life-long criminals instead of a hard-working shop keeper.

7x57
06-01-2009, 12:15 PM
So.......there is a bit of a challenge for the 2A people here, as we can see.......there is 'big money' behind 'street crime gangs, and yet more 'big money' behind 'gun control'. There are major cultural issues which are being promoted by various varieties of the 'agitprop' creeps which will influence the 'dumbed-down' younger members of the general public.


It's an interesting subject if you think about it, but an intolerable subject if you feel what it means.

Several trains of thought recently converged in the idle wish to start a gun-rights organization even more incendiary than JPFO: "N----- With Guns" (I guess the cuss words filter wouldn't let that word through, but in this case it is necessary to know what it is and I believe my usage in this message is in fact acceptable). It would not, however, be a specifically black organization. The meaning is this: almost all post-emancipation gun control laws in the US were originally aimed specifically at disarming free blacks (and those before tend to be aimed at keeping guns out of the hands of slaves, but they did not have legal rights protecting their moral rights and so the core issues are different). The general pattern seems to be that when such laws are successfully attacked as civil rights violations, we do *not* strike down the restrictions but rather extend them to everyone as an equal-protection issue.

So the meaning of the NWG name is simple: if you are an American gun owner, you are subject to segregation law. You are assumed to be a dangerous, untrustworthy, barely-restrained animal that, given the opportunity, will do something evil. You are, in the eyes of the law, a n-----. That's why it isn't a specifically black organization--because whatever color you are, you are that color of n----- gun owner. The reason is that the American system simply cannot operate with two classes of citizens, and trying puts sand in the gears. So the only really effective kind of gun rights is equally simple: give guns to n------, meaning (as the preceding discussion hopefully makes clear) everyone, but in particular precisely the people who need the RKBA the most: those who do not know precisely their rights, nor how to fight for them, nor have the resources to do so.

The goal of the organization is to confront that directly and to publicize very clearly the fact that gun control has always been racist, inherently has the greatest effect precisely on those who have neither the money to pay guards nor the influence to make sure the police patrol their streets. There are plenty of things that flow from this sort of agenda. One of the clearest is that freedom is almost always given up because of fear, and one of the deepest fears is of racial violence. The left's obsession with disarming people actually increases this fear, and more or less everyone dances around it. Instead, confront it. Men don't allow themselves to be scared into serfdom. Confront the root and burn it out--take your kids shooting with gun owners of whatever group they're mostly likely to grow up fearing. Gun owners are some of the friendliest and most trustworthy people around. In fact, the authentic Anglo-American gun culture ensures this--it teaches you to be that kind of person, most especially little boys who start shooting and hunting early. (One needs to focus on little boys, because the core fear isn't about women. It is about young black men, if you're white, and young white men, if you're black, and so on. So, basically, that is who you focus on.)

Notice that this is phrased in a racially neutral way for a reason, and in spite of the NWG title it isn't just to be polite. It is just as necessary for inner city black kids in an all-black neighborhood to go shooting with white (and in some places moreso Latino) "uncles" as it is the other way around.

In fact, I will claim outright that you can't fear people you go shooting with (morons you simply have to share a public range with don't count). And if you go after that fear, then all the other ones fall in line. If you don't, then everything else is intractable because they come to function as proxies for the fear you may not name.

The nice thing is that most of what you have to do is very traditional--take kids shooting, hunting, and so on. Fishing and sailing too, though those are not as directly necessary. This is not an accident--it is how the Anglo-American gun culture is passed on, and that is how it is passed on because it works. It works, I claim, at a far deeper level than people tend to think. It works especially well for precisely the kids we need it to work for--those without the cultural and family structure to do it other ways. The best thing you can do is take a kid hunting who has no hunters in his family, and teach a kid to shoot who has no legal, safe shooters in his family. If it's a little boy with an absent father, even more so. (Almost as incendiary as the name and purpose is the fact that there is a clear natural gender component to these things, so that's another reason this little idea is trouble.)

Just a little idle fantasy of mine. I usually like to live a quiet life, however, and throwing figurative rocks at metaphorical hornet's nests isn't really conducive to living quietly.


(and, upon a moment's reflection, I really don't know why I wasted my time writing all this.......I really doubt anyone here much gives a damn......but, y'know, I'd really, truly like to be wrong about that)


I think some do. We should, because it won't actually be possible to win the RKBA for some. Either we will win it for everyone, or we will lose. The NRA isn't kidding about being the oldest civil rights group in the country, but what that can mean isn't really elaborated on.

7x57