1. Imaginarily

    Imaginarily Disparu en Mer Contributor

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    Would he be detained?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Imaginarily, Oct 21, 2016.

    I tried googling this first, but my results were vague, way over my head (legal jargon), or gated behind appointments with real live lawyers and I assume that would cost me way more money than I even have, let alone want, to spend.

    So my lil predicament right now is — my protag has shot (and killed) 3 people in self defense (and friend defense) and I have no idea whether the cops would want to hold him for questioning for any extended amount of time. Yes, they're keeping his gun for the forensic people to do their thing. Do they need to keep him too, after he gives the police his statement? o_O
     
  2. NoGoodNobu

    NoGoodNobu Contributor Contributor

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    I would say yes, if there are no other witnesses to corroborate his story of events and if there can be any suspiscion that it was intended foul play as opposed to actual self defense (like excessive force or premeditated murder) and if he doesn't ask for a lawyer or have one to get him off.

    Usually though they do have to charge you with a crime (although often they can keep you in an interview room indefinitely if you don't think to request a lawyer or ask yourself if you are free to leave. A lot of people don't realize that if you aren't charged with a crime, no matter how suspected, they can't simply keep you till kingdom come or even interview you indefinitely; just like people forget that you do not have to let officers into your home or give permission for a search if it is not mandated by an appropriate warrant. Cops tend to rely on your cooperating or being unknowleable of certain rights & simply acquiescing to their requests because you think you have to 'cause they're law enforcement).

    These are more general rights in America. Depending on various factors you could get a different answer.

    Also, I am not a student of the law so there may be more complexities to what I stated.
     
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  3. Lyrical

    Lyrical Frumious Bandersnatch

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    Like NoGoodNobu said, it depends whether or not there were eye-witnesses who can confirm it was in self-defense. Then he'd be free to go home until everything is processed. If there are no eye-witnesses, he'd likely be held for more thorough questioning. Of course that depends on which state this happened in. And how old he is. And a few other things. But that's the most likely scenario.

    Even if it is determined that the killing was justified, he'll have to account for every bullet fired to make sure he didn't use unnecessary or excessive force. My Conceal Carry instructor warned us never to practice in the range by just firing until the chamber was empty, because we could definitely go to jail for using excessive force against someone who was already neutralized. He told us to fire once, wait to see if the attacker is still a threat, and if needed, fire again and then wait again.
     
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  4. TheWriteWitch

    TheWriteWitch Active Member

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    I believe that as a material witness, your protag can be held as long as deemed necessary. If your protag is also some sort of flight risk (as in trying to leave the state and/or country), he/she would most definitely be detained. All they would need is a judge's warrant.
     
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  5. Imaginarily

    Imaginarily Disparu en Mer Contributor

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    Thanks for the insights, guys.

    What about if he lawyered up? Would he still have to stay with the cops?
     
  6. NoGoodNobu

    NoGoodNobu Contributor Contributor

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    This all depends on the case at hand, what's for & against him, and how competent the lawyer is

    Generally, if you are not charged or put under arrest, and if they have no legal grounds to hold you & aren't deemed a flight risk, yeah, a barrister can get you off

    At least American lawyers are really good at getting you outーpaid attorney more so than free appointed, but they cost a pretty penny
     
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  7. Imaginarily

    Imaginarily Disparu en Mer Contributor

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    Well I guess it would be manslaughter via self defense? I'm not sure what the legal name for the event would be. Mr. Protag doesn't have any previous charges... Would him owning a business in a high-crime city sway his case at all? Would it make him seem like more of a liability due to who his customers are?

    o_O
     
  8. GingerCoffee

    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    You can go by the very public case of George Zimmerman if this is in the US. The police took him to the station, took pictures of his head wound, interviewed him, then let him go after deciding it was self defense, a decision which was later contested.
     
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  9. NoGoodNobu

    NoGoodNobu Contributor Contributor

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    It would be (justified) homicide in using lethal force as self defense (or for another) if it is from a substantial threat of murder, armed robbery, or rape.

    But to be honest there are myriads of details that can change the perception or have it handled differently. How many times did he shoot the victims? Did he shoot them full frontal or from the side or behind? Were the victims' threats credible enough to make the homocide justifiable? They die on site or in transport to hospital or at a hospital? Were there any corroborating witnesses? Were the victims known criminals or seeming average citizens? Does the protagonist have any history with the victims? Are the cops corrupt or have a beef with the protagonist that would give them ulterior motives in handling the case?

    The biggest thing is what are YOU trying to have happen. Depending how you write or present the scene, it can be credible either way.
     
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  10. Imaginarily

    Imaginarily Disparu en Mer Contributor

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    Ah okay. Thanks for this!

    OK...

    • He shot 3 men once each, from the front (haven't decided yet heart/head) and they died on site
    • The 3 attackers were armed and looked high
    • There were no witnesses apart from my protag's friend, who was the target of the initial threat ("gimme all your money or I'll shoot her!")
    • I thought about having them be peons in a gang maybe. If not, they're just run of the mill street thugs
    • No history with the gang they might be affiliated with, or with them individually
    • I think the cops would be busy enough with higher-profile crime than street robbery that they wouldn't bother trying to get my protag in more trouble o_O

    It would be better for the story, I think, if my protag can be let go. He has a good lawyer, so that's plausible(?), and I need him to keep talking with his friend for exposition and character development.
     
  11. big soft moose

    big soft moose An Admoostrator Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    I think it really depends where your protag is , in the UK he'd definitely be detained , in some other countries he might not even be arrested. Even assuming hes in the US it could well vary from state to state or even town to town depending on the attitudes of the police and/or DA and the protags background (e.g a gang banger who shoots three of a rival gang in self defense would be more likely to be charged than a guy with a good job and no priors who shoots three robbers in self defense)

    Assuming hes generally a good guy and he has a corroborating witness, I think it would be plausible that he'd be released without charge, especially if the three 'victims' are known to the police and couldnt in any way be mistaken for assetts to society
     
  12. Ryan Elder

    Ryan Elder Banned

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    I was told by a cop that they cannot hold a person over 24 hours unless they are going to charge them with something. So I guess that means that legally, after 24 hours of holding or questioning, they would have to let the suspect go. If they find any evidence that suggests murder, instead of self defense, they can always arrest then.

    As for the idea of the police being able to hold him as long as they want cause he is a material witness, that only works if the police have already charged someone else with a crime, in which he would be a material witness too. Since no charges are laid against the protagonist, than he cannot be held as a material witness, as I understand it.
     
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  13. TheWriteWitch

    TheWriteWitch Active Member

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    If the three men he shot had outstanding warrants or previous charges, Mr. Protag could still be held as a material witness. Lawyering up wouldn't do anything for him if the warrant had already been issued by a judge.

    (I'm writing under the assumption you want Mr. Protag to be held longer to serve the plot.)

    Perhaps he decides not to lawyer up because he is a business man in a high-crime city and doesn't want to stir up more trouble than he already has? Personally, if I'd just shot three 'bad' guys, I wouldn't be in any hurry to leave the police station.
     
  14. Imaginarily

    Imaginarily Disparu en Mer Contributor

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  15. TheWriteWitch

    TheWriteWitch Active Member

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    Then, yes. More than plausible, it's very likely. If he has no previous charges, no connection to the men he shot, and a reputation as a business owner (that his neighbors, etc. can corroborate) then they have to let him go. The faster he requests his lawyer, the faster the police will let him walk.

    Sorry I was coming at it backwards!
     
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