It’s been an interesting few days. A lot of valuable input from friends and research has led me to some important information. For some time now, I have been talking with prison inmates (mostly women), as well as many law enforcement officers about self defense.
I was shocked to find out that there is a disturbing number of women who are incarcerated for defensive actions (many of them were victims of domestic abuse). Each of these women were told that self defense was NOT an option as a defense, or that there are no self defense laws in Georgia. The law enforcement officers I asked also said the same thing; “there are no self defense laws in the state of Georgia.”
OK then, what the heck is this?
GEORGIA CRIMINAL JURY INSTRUCTIONS (G.C.J.I. 2003)
GA 3.02.10 Justification; Use of Force in Defense of Self or Others
A person is justified in threatening or using force against another person when, and to the extent that, he/she reasonably believes that such threat or force is necessary to defend himself/herself or a third person against the other’s imminent use of unlawful force. A person is justified in using force that is intended or likely to cause death or great bodily harm only if that person reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent death or great bodily injury to himself/herself or a third person or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony
I’ll play the Devil’s Advocate here for a moment. I can understand how most people are NOT educated in the law and are not aware of their options when dealing with a situation like this.
I’ll even go the NEXT step and say that MOST police/ law enforcement officers are also uneducated in the law. How can I say that? Do you know how many laws exist? Most cops spend there entire careers doing nothing but traffic violations.
What is NOT OK, is that Ky’s public defender told him that he could not plead self defense. He’s not alone. The question is why? Public Defenders ARE lawyers, and they do know self defense laws exist, so why tell your client that they do not?
I have my own theory about this. Public defenders work with the state. It’s there job to get you to “plead out” so that they can save the state the cost of an expensive trial. Secondly, it’s political. A guilty plea increases the numbers on conviction rates, making the state and law enforcement look good. It’s all a game of numbers and they are playing the odds that the defendant, like Ky, will be uneducated in the law, and not be able to afford a real lawyer. They will use whatever scare tactics necessary to get the job done. It’s bad enough that the police are allowed to use this tactic of twisting the law to get a conviction. The state assigned a public defender to Ky to get him to plead guilty, regardless of the fact that he had a mountain of physical evidence to prove that it was self defense. The part that kills me is where Ky was describing how the public defender was saying that they have art programs in prison, and 15 years isn’t that bad.
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