Category Archives: Self Defense

Detroit 300 Back In The News: Searching For Detroit Serial Rapist

From freep.com

Scores of Detroiters gathered Thursday night to take back the streets of northeast Detroit.

“Nobody in the streets can beat us when we come together as one and say, ‘No more in Detroit,’ ” Raphael B. Johnson said into a bullhorn, surrounded by residents preparing to blanket the area around Gratiot and 7 Mile with sketches of the man police suspect of raping seven young women this year.

Johnson and other members of the group Detroit 300 urged women to avoid being on the streets after 9 p.m. The group, which coordinated Thursday night’s effort with Detroit police, has been credited with helping solve the August rape of a 90-year-old woman on the west side.

Maurice Black, 43, said he came out because he hopes someone who knows the rapist will come forward.

“This is somebody’s brother. This is somebody’s cousin,” Black said. “All we ask is that you turn him in so we can get him some help.”

Cassandra Crutchen said her 19-year-old daughter was attacked.

She told the volunteers: “We’re going to catch him.”

Police have said women were attacked near Gratiot and 7 Mile, Hazelridge and Hayes and near Cadieux and I-94. A possible eighth victim was attacked in Highland Park near the Detroit border on Jan. 6, said Highland Park Detective Sgt. Brenda Perkins.

Detroit police have described the suspect as being in his 30s, 5 feet 9 with a thin build, dark complexion, mustache and goatee.

Police say most of the victims have been 19 to 22 years old, and were attacked in late evening or early morning while walking alone or waiting at bus stops. In one case, a woman was attacked after the man bumped her vehicle and she got out.

Police said the man takes the women at gunpoint to a secluded location, where he robs and sexually assaults them. Perkins said the Highland Park victim did not say she had been robbed.

Another young woman was raped Thursday evening near Kercheval and Lakewood on Detroit’s east side, but police said they don’t believe the suspected serial rapist is responsible.

Read more: City crime fighters join hunt for rapist | freep.com | Detroit Free Presshttp://www.freep.com/article/20110114/NEWS01/101140396/City-crime-fighters-join-hunt-for-rapist#ixzz1B1iOF33P

Read our previous post on the Detroit 300 here

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Filed under Criminal Sexual Conduct, Holly Valente, Self Defense, Violent Crimes

Sparta or Motown? The Detroit 300

It’s easy to become numb to violence when it hangs over your community like the smog over Los Angeles.  Beyond the borders of Michigan, Detroit is well-known for its high crime rates.  For those who live within its more dangerous communities, the sounds of gunfire and violence can become commonplace.

Russell Woods, in northwest Detroit, is no exception.  On August 12, though, things went a step too far.  On that date, a 90-year-old woman was attacked and raped.  Within that same week, two other elderly women were also assaulted.

“The violators have changed the rules of the streets now,” says Raphael B. Johnson. “It’s a new day in the city of Detroit.”

Johnson has organized the Detroit 300, a group of 300 residents and outsiders from other communities in Detroit that now patrol the streets.  They have two goals:  keep the streets safe and find the people responsible for the rape.

Johnson is no stranger to community watch programs.  He’s successfully run programs to find criminals before.  But this time it’s different.  They’re better equipped and committed.  Cars are equipped with strobe car lights, video cameras, two-way radios, cell phones, flashlights and clipboards.   There’s also a difference in attitude.

“We’re the epitome of desperation now,” Johnson said. “We’re No. 1 in crime, No. 1 in foreclosures, No. 1 in homelessness, No. 1 in joblessness.”

It’s a great thing to see people taking pride in their community.  When the police fail to protect … When the police fail to investigate … When the police can’t do their jobs … that job falls to the people.  And, in this case, they’ve taken that job seriously.

But there are serious risks involved with vigilantes taking to the streets, no matter how well-intentioned they are.  When even good-intentioned people feel the power of taking on the role of public safety, there is no way to know how far they will take that power.

What are your thoughts?

If you are looking for legal representation contact Ambrose Law Group at 248-624-5500 or visit our website at www.ambroselawgroup.com

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Our Voice: Road Rage or Self-Defense?

Self-defense isn’t always a good defense to a violent crime. In our society, people can’t walk around shooting someone every time they get scared. But we’ve all heard of situations where the use of force, even a gun, in self-defense was justified. I think a recent case is an excellent example of the unjustified use of a gun.

A few weeks ago, Carl Mintz was arrested for shooting Faith Said with a pistol on a busy Farmington Hills street. Prosecutors claim it was a case of road rage. Mintz claims he acted in self-defense. The Detroit Free Press reported that Said approached Mintz’s vehicle at a red light to confront him about his erratic driving. Said’s passenger may have also approached the vehicle. While Mintz was still in his vehicle, they began yelling at each other. Even though the light turned green, Mintz didn’t drive away, but continued to argue with Said.

Said claims that as he turned to walk away, Mintz shot him in the arm. The Free Press also reported that Mintz is licensed to carry a concealed weapon. He is charged with one count of assault with intent to do great bodily harm, with an alternate count of assault with a dangerous weapon, and one count of felony firearm.

As everyone knows a gun is a deadly weapon, its no surprise that the law requires that a person honestly and reasonably believe that their life is in immediate danger or there is a threat of serious bodily harm before they are permitted to use it against another person in self-defense. Also, if the person can safely avoid the use of deadly force, they must attempt to avoid using it.

In this case, Mintz may have honestly believed his life was in immediate danger when Said approached his car. But that belief certainly wasn’t reasonable, because Said was unarmed and didn’t attempt to pull Mintz from the vehicle. He merely walked to the vehicle and argued with him. If Said was retreating, that fact is especially important, because at that point, any fear of danger should’ve decreased. Additionally, when the light turned green, Mintz could’ve driven away, but he chose to stay. As a result, it’s inconceivable that he could rely upon self-defense to avoid criminal liability for the shooting

philip@ambroselawgroup.com

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Man Shoots Masked Gunman

It’s a situation you have nightmares about.  A man and his fiance walked into  the Super Y party store at the corner of Middlebelt and Ecorse roads Saturday night only to find themselves confronted by a masked gunman. The couple was making a random stop at the party store when they walked into the middle of an armed robbery.  The female was ordered to the ground at gunpoint while her fiance pleaded for her life.  When the gunman turned and pointed the gun at the man, he instinctively grabbed the weapon and shot the gunman twice.  The injured robber stumbled out the door, collapsed and died.  His two accomplices managed to escape and police are still searching for them. For the full Detroit Free Press story click here

Here’s our take on the story:

Killing another person is considered self-defense and justifiable homicide if the person honestly and reasonably believes their life is in immediate danger or there is a threat of serious bodily harm. For instance if a man threatens to kill a woman, but he doesn’t possess a weapon, the woman cannot respond by shooting him and rely upon self-defense, to avoid a murder conviction. This is because there was no immediate danger.

After the danger no longer exists, the person’s right to use deadly force in self-defense vanishes. Additionally, if the person can safely avoid the use of deadly force, they must attempt to avoid using it. For example, they could use non-deadly force or attempt to retreat.

In today’s story the customer’s life was in immediate danger, and it doesn’t appear that he could safely avoid the use of deadly force. As a result, it’s likely he will not be charged and could rely upon self-defense.

In contrast is Tigh Croff’s story. It was reported that Tigh Croff returned home to find thieves ransacking his house. He reportedly chased one of the thieves, Herbert Silas, down the street firing his handgun at him. When Silas turned around and said “what are you going to do, shoot me?” Croff shot him in the chest. Croff has been charged with Second-Degree Murder. It’s difficult for most people to imagine Croff successfully relying upon self-defense, because Silas was unarmed and fleeing. That being said, Croff could at least make a valid argument that when Silas stopped and turned around, he presented a serious threat of bodily harm, because if he didn’t shoot him, Silas would beat him up and take his gun.

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Bridal Shop Brawl

A bridal shop scuffle at First Lady Bridal Boutique in Lathrup Village has ended up on Youtube. It shows some very unhappy customers attacking and spitting on the shop’s owners. The fight caused over $20,000 worth of damage to the store and left surprised customers scrambling to get out of the way. For the full Detroit News article click here

The three customers, all relatives of an unhappy bride-to-be, appeared in court Wednesday on charges of assault and battery.

Here’s some quick and easy info on Michigan’s Assault Laws :

What is Assault?

Assault is making someone think you are about to hit them

Penalties:

Up to 93 days in jail and a $500 fine

What Defenses are there?

Self-Defense – You are only allowed to use the minimum amount of force necessary to protect yourself from an attack, taking into account how the stress an excitement of the situation may affect your perception.

Consent/Mutual Combatants – If two people agree to fight or physical contact is involved in an activity, then there is no assault. For example, playing in a contact sport.

Accident – If you didn’t intend to assault someone, then there is no assault. If you’re shooing a horsefly away and someone thinks you were trying to hit them, it is not an assault.

Jury Instruction

(1) The defendant is charged with the crime of assault. To prove this charge, the prosecutor must prove each of the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

(2) First, that the defendant either attempted to commit a battery on [name complainant] or did an act that would cause a reasonable person to fear or apprehend an immediate battery. A battery is a forceful, violent, or offensive touching of the person or something closely connected with the person of another.

(3) Second, that the defendant intended either to commit a battery upon [name complainant] or to make [name complainant] reasonably fear an immediate battery. [An assault cannot happen by accident.]

(4) Third, that at the time, the defendant had the ability to commit a battery, appeared to have the ability, or thought [he / she] had the ability.

What is Assault & Battery?

Assault and Battery is making someone think that you are about to hit them, and then hitting them.

Penalties:

Up to 93 days in jail and up to a $500 fine.

 What Defenses are there?

Self-Defense – You are only allowed to use the minimum amount of force necessary to protect yourself from an attack, taking into account how the stress an excitement of the situation may affect your perception.

Consent/Mutual Combatants – If two people agree to fight or physical contact is involved in an activity, then there is no assault and battery. For example, playing in a contact sport.

 Accident – If you didn’t intend to assault someone, then there is no assault. If you’re shooing a horsefly away and someone thinks you were trying to hit them, it is not an assault.

 Jury Instruction

 (1) The defendant is charged with the crime of assault and battery. To prove this charge, the prosecutor must prove each of the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt

(2) First, that the defendant committed a battery on [name complainant]. A battery is a forceful, violent, or offensive touching of the person or something closely connected with the person of another.The touching must have been intended by the defendant, that is, not accidental, and it must have been against [name complainant]’s will. It does not matter whether the touching caused an injury.

(3) Second, that the defendant intended either to commit a battery upon [name complainant] or to make [name complainant] reasonably fear an immediate battery.


What is Aggravated Assault?

Aggravated Assault is attacking someone without a weapon and causing an injury that requires medical attention.

Penalties:

Up to 1 year in jail and up to $1,000 fine

What Defenses are there?

Self-Defense – You are only allowed to use the minimum amount of force necessary to protect yourself from an attack, taking into account how the stress an excitement of the situation may affect your perception.

Consent/Mutual Combatants – If two people agree to fight or physical contact is involved in an activity, then there is no assault and battery. For example, playing in a contact sport.

Accident – If you didn’t intend to assault someone, then there is no assault. If you’re shooing a horsefly away and someone thinks you were trying to hit them, it is not an assault.

Jury Instruction:

(1) [The defendant is charged with the crime of aggravated assault. To prove this charge, the prosecutor must prove each of the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

(2) First, that the defendant tried to physically injure another person.

(3) Second, that the defendant intended to injure [name complainant] [or intended to make (name complainant) reasonably fear an immediate battery].

(4) Third, that the assault caused a serious or aggravated injury. A serious or aggravated injury is a physical injury that requires immediate medical treatment or that causes disfigurement, impairment of health, or impairment of a part of the body.

What is Felonious Assault?

Felonious assault is an attack on another person with a gun, knife, club or other dangerous weapon.

Penalties:

Up to 4 years in prison and up to $2,000 fine

What Defenses are there?

Self-Defense – You are only allowed to use the minimum amount of force necessary to protect yourself from an attack, taking into account how the stress an excitement of the situation may affect your perception.

Consent/Mutual Combatants – If two people agree to fight or physical contact is involved in an activity, then there is no assault and battery. For example, playing in a contact sport.

Accident – If you didn’t intend to assault someone, then there is no assault. If you’re shooing a horsefly away and someone thinks you were trying to hit them, it is not an assault.

Jury Instruction:

The defendant is charged with the crime of felonious assault. To prove this charge, the prosecutor must prove each of the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

(1) First, that the defendant either attempted to commit a battery on [name complainant] or did an act that would cause a reasonable person to fear or apprehend an immediate battery. A battery is a forceful or violent touching of the person or something closely connected with the person

(2) Second, that the defendant intended either to injure [name complainant] or to make [name complainant] reasonably fear an immediate battery.

(3) Third, that at the time, the defendant had the ability to commit a batter appeared to have the ability, or thought [he / she] had the ability

(4) Fourth, that the defendant committed the assault with a [state dangerous weapon alleged].

If you want more info visit our site Ambrose Law Group

or call (248) 624-5500


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Does defending your home justify murder?

Nolan Finley posted an editorial in the Free Press today on the case of Tigh Croff. Croff shot and killed Herbert Silas, a man he caught burglarizing his home this past December. One of the aspects that makes this case so controversial is Tigh did not shoot Silas while he was inside of his home. Croff chased Silas a block and a half, and when Silas stopped running and tauntingly asked Croff what he was going to do, Croff admitted to police he told the man he would shoot him and then did. That statemnt turned what would have likely been a manslaughter charge for Croff into a charge of second-degree murder. For the full article click here

It’s a controversial case. Was street justice fair in this case? Croff was an upstanding citizen and this wasn’t the first time he had come home and found his house being burglarized. How far would you go to protect your home and family?

Here’s a case where the court found in favor of a homeowner who shot and killed a man stealing a lawnmower from his garage:

487 N.W.2d 843

 

194 Mich.App. 593

 

PEOPLE of the State of Michigan, Plaintiff-Appellant,

v.

Walter HAMPTON, Defendant-Appellee.

 

Docket No. 137710.

 

Court of Appeals of Michigan.

 

Submitted Jan. 8, 1992, at Detroit.

Decided July 6, 1992, at 9:30 a.m.

Released for Publication Aug. 28, 1992.

 

[194 Mich.App. 593] Frank J. Kelley, Atty. Gen., Gay Secor Hardy, Sol. Gen., John D. O’Hair, Pros. Atty., Timothy A. Baughman, Chief of Research, Training, and Appeals, and Thomas M. Chambers, Asst. Pros. Atty., for the People.

 

Legal Aid and Defender Ass’n of Detroit by Donald L. Johnson, Detroit, for defendant-appellee.

 

[194 Mich.App. 594] Before MICHAEL J. KELLY, P.J., and JANSEN and LESINSKI, * JJ.

 

LESINSKI, Judge.

 

The Wayne County Prosecutor appeals as of right from an order of the Detroit Recorder’s Court granting defendant’s motion to quash the information charging him with murder and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony. On June 13, 1990, defendant shot and killed the decedent after the decedent had attempted to break into his home and had broken into his neighbor’s garage. Defendant fired a shot at the decedent as he attempted to leave the scene with a lawn mower. Defendant was bound over by the district court on charges of murder in the second degree, M.C.L. Sec. 750.317; M.S.A. Sec. 28.549, and felony-firearm, M.C.L. Sec. 750.227b; M.S.A. Sec. 28.424(2). Defendant subsequently brought a motion to quash the information, which was granted by the lower court on January 11, 1991. The prosecution appealed the lower court ruling. We reverse.

 

Defendant is a homeowner residing in the City of Detroit. Early in the morning of June 13, 1990, defendant was awakened by the sound of a kick at his side door. Defendant got out of bed, retrieved a .38 caliber pistol from his basement, and looked out the window. He saw the decedent walking down his driveway and away from his side door. The decedent then walked across defendant’s yard to the yard of defendant’s neighbor. The decedent jumped over the gate in the neighbor’s fence and kicked in her garage door. The decedent then went inside, came out, and threw something over the gate. Defendant opened his door, fired one shot, then closed the door. Defendant, upon learning that his wife had notified the police, got ready for [194 Mich.App. 595] work and left. On his way to work, he disposed of the handle grips and the cylinder of his gun.

 

After returning home and learning that the police had not come seeking him, defendant went to the police department, where he gave a voluntary statement regarding the events that occurred on the morning of June 13, 1990. He was subsequently arrested. At the preliminary examination, both parties stipulated the identity of the decedent and that he died of a gunshot wound to the head.

 

On the basis of the evidence adduced at the preliminary examination, defendant was bound over for trial on charges of second-degree murder and felony-firearm. Consequently, defendant brought in the Detroit Recorder’s Court a motion to quash the information.

 

The parties stipulated the supplementation of the record by admitting the report of an evidence technician, which verified that the neighbor’s garage had been broken into, that the decedent was in the process of pushing away a lawn mower when he was shot, and that the decedent’s body was found 100 to 150 feet from the spot from which defendant had fired. The prosecutor, in response to the motion, did not contest that the decedent was a fleeing felon at the time he was shot. Rather, the prosecutor argued that the question of the necessity of the shooting was one of fact that should have been left for the jury to decide. The Recorder’s Court judge rejected the prosecutor’s arguments and entered orders granting defendant’s motion and dismissing the charges.

 

The general standard utilized by this Court in situations where a trial court quashes an information is to determine whether the district court abused its discretion in binding over the defendant. People v. Talley, 410 Mich. 378, 385-386, 301 N.W.2d 809 (1981); People v. Sherman, 188 Mich.App[194 Mich.App. 596] . 91, 93, 469 N.W.2d 19 (1991). Where there is no abuse of discretion by the district court, a trial court’s decision to quash the information should be reversed. Id.

 

In this case, the Recorder’s Court, under the mistaken belief that the facts and circumstances in this case unquestionably justified defendant’s use of deadly force, concluded that the district court had abused its discretion. The prosecutor argued below and on appeal that the use of deadly force by a private person to apprehend a fleeing felon must be reasonable under the circumstances, which is a factual question that should be left to a jury.

 

M.C.L. Sec. 764.16; M.S.A. Sec. 28.875 provides, among other things, that private persons may make an arrest for felonies committed in their presence. However, the statute fails to address the issue whether a private person may use deadly force. We therefore turn to the common law.

 

The common law recognizes two categories of justifiable deadly force used by a private person: where the person making the arrest is met with force from the person being arrested and where force is necessary to prevent the flight of a suspected felon. People v. Whitty, 96 Mich.App. 403, 411, 292 N.W.2d 214 (1980). Because the facts here do not indicate that defendant perceived any threat of force by the decedent, resolution of this case hinges upon the latter category. According to this Court, the use of deadly force to prevent the escape of a fleeing felon is justifiable where the following three circumstances are present: (1) the evidence must show that a felony actually occurred, (2) the fleeing suspect against whom force was used must be the person who committed the felony, and (3) the use of deadly force must have [194 Mich.App. 597] been “necessary” to ensure the apprehension of the felon. Whitty, supra, pp. 411, 413, 292 N.W.2d 214.

 

Recently, the Michigan Supreme Court addressed the issue of the use of deadly force in situations involving a fleeing felon. In People v. Couch, 436 Mich. 414, 421, 461 N.W.2d 683 (1990), the Court held that the common law regarding a private person’s use of deadly force to apprehend felons was adopted by the Legislature through its fifty-year acquiescence following the decision in People v. Gonsler, 251 Mich. 443, 232 N.W. 365 (1930). Moreover, the Supreme Court, responding to Tennessee v. Garner, 471 U.S. 1, 105 S.Ct. 1694, 85 L.Ed.2d 1 (1985), ruled that private citizens, unlike peace officers acting under the color of state law, are not subject to the Fourth Amendment restraints that Garner imposed. Finally, the Court reversed the Court of Appeals ruling that would permit a private citizen to use deadly force only if he reasonably believed that the felon posed a threat of serious harm to himself or others.

 

At the hearing on defendant’s motion to quash the information, the prosecutor conceded that decedent was in the process of committing a felony when he was shot. Thus, the first two elements of the deadly force doctrine have been established in defendant’s favor. See Whitty, supra; Gonsler, supra. This leaves the more difficult question whether the shooting was “necessary,” the resolution of which will determine whether the district court or the trial court was correct in this matter.

 

We conclude that the issue of necessity is one of fact that should have been left for the jury to decide. In Alexander v. Riccinto, 192 Mich.App. 65, 481 N.W.2d 6 (1991), this Court held that the determination of reasonableness and necessity was a question for the jury where the lower court had granted summary disposition in favor of an off-[194 Mich.App. 598] duty police officer who had shot a burglar hidden in the bushes outside his home. In reversing the lower court’s grant of summary disposition, this Court stated that “the determination of reasonable force hinges upon the facts of the particular case and was thus a question for the jury.” Id., p. 69, 481 N.W.2d 6, citing People v. Doss, 406 Mich. 90, 276 N.W.2d 9 (1979), and 5 Am.Jur.2d, Arrest, Sec. 81, p. 768. The Alexander case concerned a police officer who, although off duty, was subject to the strictures of reasonableness developed pursuant to Fourth Amendment considerations surrounding searches and seizures. Because defendant in this case is a private citizen, Fourth Amendment constraints do not apply. See Couch, supra, 436 Mich. at pp. 433-438, 461 N.W.2d 683 (separate opinion of Archer, J.). Thus, while we realize that Alexander is not on all fours with the case at bar, we, nonetheless, find support for the premise that the issue of necessity, if not reasonableness, is a question of fact for a jury to decide. See also People v. McCord, 76 Mich. 200, 206, 42 N.W. 1106 (1889) (brutal beating of a felon was not justified where he could have been arrested without injury to him or anyone else); People v. Smith, 148 Mich.App. 16, 384 N.W.2d 68 (1985) (use of deadly force by a private citizen against a suspected felon was not justified where the citizen knew the residence of the suspected felon and police could have arrested the suspect there). We therefore conclude that the decision to bind over defendant for trial was a permissible exercise of the district court’s discretion, because the justification for defendant’s actions was a question of fact. See Talley, supra; Sherman, supra. Consequently, we reverse the Recorder’s Court’s decision to quash the information and dismiss the charges against defendant, and we reinstate the district court’s determination. See id.

 

If you have been charged with a crime that you think was self-defense Ambrose Law Group can help.

Read about our NOT GUILTY verdict in Reginald Burks’ self-defense trial in Detroit at www.thelegendofreginaldburks.com

 

 

 

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