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Rifle inscription used against officer in court

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We've often debated whether or not personalizations on firearms would be used against the owner in court. Until now I don't think I've seen an actual case where it was actually done.

http://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/2016/03/robert-farago/cops-ar-15-dust-cover-inscription-used-against-him-in-court/

"“Inscripted on the officer’s gun, and I hate to use profanity, but it said, “you’re f*****,”’ Laney Sweet, Daniel Shaver’s wife said.

According to several sources, the rifle’s vulgar inscription is on the inside of the rifle’s dust cover. The inscription is only visible if the dust cover is open, which happens automatically in order to eject spent rounds while the weapon is fired.

“That statement tells me this is a person who’s enthusiastic about killing people,” Marc Victor, lawyer for Sweet and her late husband, argued. “That’s what that inscription means.”"

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I saw this on another site and was shaking my head.  While I don't think it's an indication that the officer was enthusiastic about killing people (not by itself anyway), I do think it shows a lack of judgement and maturity on his part...so much so I'd question if he has the judgement and maturity to be a police officer in the first place.  If I'm the one prosecuting him, it's a line I'd pursue for the charges at hand. 

 

Also, there is a failure of management in allowing something like that to be on a weapon used for official purposes.  I don't care if it was incompetence, apathy, or approval, on the part of the officers supervisory chain, any reason is unacceptable.

Edited by btq96r
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I also seen this on another site,  there I commented that the words on the dust cover absolutely don't mean what the lawyer says it means.  And while I agree that it was a poor decision to put it on his AR, not withstanding facts in the shooting, I don't think that decision should dictate his character.

 

I also remarked how we had scopes with Bible verses on it, and had to return them.  I also have seen comments written on some of our missiles and bombs headed to war time targets.  Poor decisions?  Maybe, but at the time it made sense.

Edited by Omega
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Interesting... amazing what a lawyer can do w/ a jury....

 

Reminds me of the topic of 'no trespassing' signs, as it's something I'm looking into (acquiring some acreage). I've heard it said that it's ill advised to post threatening verbiage on Posted signs (e.g. Trespassers will be shot, survivors will be shot again), as it can be used to suggest pre-determined intent rather than a forceful suggestion to GTFO my property...

 

As someone acquiring acreage that's been un-inhabited for many years, and showing signs of hunting-use, adjacent to public land, I have to admit, the notion has given me pause for thought. Maybe I'll just post a few near where we plan on building? (Personally I just love that one, and 'if you can read this, you're in-range') Then again, I plan on building a berm for my personal 'range' near the 'public' corner, perhaps that will be enough of a message to potential trespassers...?

 

- K

 

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The only relevant fact about a shooting is if the shooting was justified or not, lawyers are BS artists and juries are gullible. It shouldn't matter what is written on the gun, what ammo was used or what modifications were made to the gun. What really matters is if the shooter felt his life was in danger and reasonable cause to believe his life was in danger. I have "heard" that the shooting wasn't justified but again I haven't read any story to make a qualified opinion, i'm not sitting on the jury hearing the case. If I was on the jury and the DA was obsessing about what was written on the gun I believe I would have to give him/her a hint like a big woopdeedo yawn, don't care, just give me the facts about the shooting.

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I'm refraining from commenting on whether I think the shooting was justified or not for two reasons. One, I haven't read into the case and I also have a known bias. Besides, it is a subject that isn't really primary in this case because justified or not, the inscription is being used to cast the incident in a negative light.

Some like to cast it as a black and white, justified or not situation when I think there is often the possibility that we may find ourselves in a very grey area as to whether deadly force is justified. This incident goes to show that if it isn't clear cut, the way we adorn our weapons can very possibly be used against us.
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I'm refraining from commenting on whether I think the shooting was justified or not for two reasons. One, I haven't read into the case and I also have a known bias. Besides, it is a subject that isn't really primary in this case because justified or not, the inscription is being used to cast the incident in a negative light.

Some like to cast it as a black and white, justified or not situation when I think there is often the possibility that we may find ourselves in a very grey area as to whether deadly force is justified. This incident goes to show that if it isn't clear cut, the way we adorn our weapons can very possibly be used against us.

 

If the evidence is there is "should be" black and white, I know what should be and what is is often two different things but still, if it was proven that some big dude was charging someone with a machete 20 feet away screaming i'm going to kill you and the dude he's charging shoots him in the chest with his 3-gun competition 14 round 12 gauge that has "I love killing people" written on the receiver, all that really matters is that the raging dude with the machete was endangering the life of the dude with the shotgun. Shotgun dude is innocent. 

Yea I know some prosecutor will BS a bunch of hoplaphobic bed wetters to think shotgun dude was at fault, i'm sure it happens a lot but they don't always BS everybody. Now this case I have heard that the guy that was killed was unarmed but I still would like to hear all the evidence before I opined if i was on that jury but what he had written on his AR is of no importance, at least to me.

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The only relevant fact about a shooting is if the shooting was justified or not, lawyers are BS artists and juries are gullible. It shouldn't matter what is written on the gun, what ammo was used or what modifications were made to the gun. What really matters is if the shooter felt his life was in danger and reasonable cause to believe his life was in danger. I have "heard" that the shooting wasn't justified but again I haven't read any story to make a qualified opinion, i'm not sitting on the jury hearing the case. If I was on the jury and the DA was obsessing about what was written on the gun I believe I would have to give him/her a hint like a big woopdeedo yawn, don't care, just give me the facts about the shooting.

 

If it can be proven that his mindset was one of disregard for life, which led to him escalating the conflict, or at least failing to deescalate it if he had that ability during this encounter, than what he has on his weapon, and any other forms of personal expression (which the dust cover wording represent) are valid, IMO.  Also, whatever departmental procedure is on the books for the situation will come into play as well, if he didn't follow it, that will be used against him as well.  Everything combined has to be taken into account to determine if it's a reasonable use of lethal force or not.

 

If it wasn't, that wouldn't be murder 1, or even 2 as the law defines it, but rather manslaughter (unless AZ is different).  It wouldn't be the first time a DA charged someone with murder to make a plea bargain to manslaughter more attractive, or get a conviction from a jury on a lesser charge.  But that's a separate issue altogether.

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If it can be proven that his mindset was one of disregard for life, which led to him escalating the conflict, or at least failing to deescalate it if he had that ability during this encounter, than what he has on his weapon, and any other forms of personal expression (which the dust cover wording represent) are valid, IMO.  Also, whatever departmental procedure is on the books for the situation will come into play as well, if he didn't follow it, that will be used against him as well.  Everything combined has to be taken into account to determine if it's a reasonable use of lethal force or not.

 

If it wasn't, that wouldn't be murder 1, or even 2 as the law defines it, but rather manslaughter (unless AZ is different).  It wouldn't be the first time a DA charged someone with murder to make a plea bargain to manslaughter more attractive, or get a conviction from a jury on a lesser charge.  But that's a separate issue altogether.

 

People dress up their guns, put flames on their old muscle cars ect. doesn't really mean anything. It doesn't mean they are a killer or a speed demon, there's no such thing as ESP so it's impossible to know what he was "thinking" at the time of the shooting. That's like saying some young black male wearing a hoodie and listening to rap is automatically a gang banger.

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Would this lawyer logic also be used on items like, "don't tread on me" license plates? Maybe not necessarily in a SD shooting but it seems like they would try to make that into something as well.

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Would this lawyer logic also be used on items like, "don't tread on me" license plates? Maybe not necessarily in a SD shooting but it seems like they would try to make that into something as well.

 

One reason I don't display the Gadsen's flag. According to the FBI, it makes you a domestic terrorist! :doh:

 

- K

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Interesting... amazing what a lawyer can do w/ a jury....
 
Reminds me of the topic of 'no trespassing' signs, as it's something I'm looking into (acquiring some acreage). I've heard it said that it's ill advised to post threatening verbiage on Posted signs (e.g. Trespassers will be shot, survivors will be shot again), as it can be used to suggest pre-determined intent rather than a forceful suggestion to GTFO my property...
 
As someone acquiring acreage that's been un-inhabited for many years, and showing signs of hunting-use, adjacent to public land, I have to admit, the notion has given me pause for thought. Maybe I'll just post a few near where we plan on building? (Personally I just love that one, and 'if you can read this, you're in-range') Then again, I plan on building a berm for my personal 'range' near the 'public' corner, perhaps that will be enough of a message to potential trespassers...?
 
- K

 
Under no circumstances can you shoot someone for trespassing. So why threaten it? Even if they keep coming back after you tell them to leave and the most one can do is physically remove them from the property but I would let LE do that for me. No way I would try to argue with anyone who has a firearm unless I absolutely have to.
 
And just because someone is on your property does not mean they have committed the crime of trespassing.

 

39-14-405.  Criminal trespass.

  (a) A person commits criminal trespass if the person enters or remains on property, or any portion of property, without the consent of the owner. Consent may be inferred in the case of property that is used for commercial activity available to the general public or in the case of other property when the owner has communicated the owner's intent that the property be open to the general public.

(b) It is a defense to prosecution under this section that:

   (1) A person entered or remained on property that the person reasonably believed to be property for which the owner's consent to enter had been granted;

   (2) The person's conduct did not substantially interfere with the owner's use of the property; and

   (3) The person immediately left the property upon request.


 

 

Based on the law someone could very well be on your property without committing the offense of trespassing.

 
 

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Wow, that's F'ed up!?

Thanks for sharing... guess I'll need to post a TON of standard "Posted" signs... "did not interfere...", I'm sorry, but if I have to stop what I'm doing to tell you to GTFO, you're interfering!

 

- K
 

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How does the saying go "Anything you say can and will be used against you"

This is pretty well exactly the point I was attempting to make. Adornments like engraved dust covers and such are a form of speech and can be used against us just the same as anything we say out loud.
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This is pretty well exactly the point I was attempting to make. Adornments like engraved dust covers and such are a form of speech and can be used against us just the same as anything we say out loud.

 

As far as that goes some slick lawyer can convince some naive jury that because you had a mag extension on your shotgun you intend to mutilate someone instead of defending yourself, or you have a desire to kill if you load your handgun with +P hollow points, they can use my avatar and signature here against me. I can give a thousand examples. We all know that putting decorations on our guns is really harmless and doesn't mean anything, back many years ago when I had a Colt Python I bought several after market grips, one set of customized wooden grips had a picture of a python on them, actually it was kind of silly because the python had it's mouth open showing long viper fangs which pythons don't have, but, they did look cool to me at the time and they didn't make me have any homicidal feelings. What I am worried about is people "giving in" to that liberal mentality of someones evil because they had some decoration on their gun. If the cop didn't have that dust cover then the lawyer would have come up with something else.

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Under no circumstances can you shoot someone for trespassing. So why threaten it? Even if they keep coming back after you tell them to leave and the most one can do is physically remove them from the property but I would let LE do that for me. No way I would try to argue with anyone who has a firearm unless I absolutely have to.
 
And just because someone is on your property does not mean they have committed the crime of trespassing.

 

Based on the law someone could very well be on your property without committing the offense of trespassing.

 
 

That is why a sign posting it as private property is important.  You have notified the trespasser that he is entering private property and unless he knows you he should stay out. Fencing is also important, in many jurisdictions it is as good as a sign to notify someone that it is not public land.  A private land owner has the right to run trespassers off his land, and while you can't shoot them, unless they escalate, I as hell won't be challenging anyone unless I am armed, which is always out there.

 

On my little piece of land I have a couple right of ways, one for the gas line and another for TVA powerlines.  So I had both TVA and Sunoco provide fencing and gates with a lock to said gates which we can all have access to.  I had many ATV riders use the TVA strip as a track so the fence stopped that ricky tick.  I still get word that a hunter crosses over my fence now and then, so he knows he is wrong, but I have not seen him nor identified him as of yet.

 

As for the OP, this particular case has many caveats that a regular joe will not encounter; First, it was a duty weapon of sorts.  I am sure he did not receive permission to display the dust cover, even though I doubt there was a specific policy against it.  Second, it was a line of duty shooting, good or bad shoot will have to come out in court and he may receive some protection because of it.  Having actually been charged, I would think there is enough there to make the shoot questionable, but we have all seen a lot of PC crap pop up lately so who knows.  And lastly, its the lawyer for the wife that is making the statements, not the prosecutor so the jury may or may not be exposed to his diatribe unless it goes to a civil court. 

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As far as that goes some slick lawyer can convince some naive jury that because you had a mag extension on your shotgun you intend to mutilate someone instead of defending yourself, or you have a desire to kill if you load your handgun with +P hollow points, they can use my avatar and signature here against me. ...If the cop didn't have that dust cover then the lawyer would have come up with something else.


True, but why do the work for them? Why not make them work for it instead of handing them all the ammunition need to string your ass up wrapped in a pretty bow? Adorn your toys, but keep your weapons clear of silly shit that may come back to bite you in the ass later.

For me the key is that I understand that there is no justice to be found in our legal system. It is an enemy territory designed to destroy those who find themselves trapped in its workings. I don't view it through the lens of what I think it should be, but through the jaundiced eyes that see what it for it actually is.
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People dress up their guns, put flames on their old muscle cars ect. doesn't really mean anything. It doesn't mean they are a killer or a speed demon, there's no such thing as ESP so it's impossible to know what he was "thinking" at the time of the shooting. That's like saying some young black male wearing a hoodie and listening to rap is automatically a gang banger.

 

You used the example that just because a person has a flame job on their car doesn't mean they are a 'speed demon'.  True.  Keep in mind, however, that insurance companies do sometimes charge higher premiums for cars that are 'fast' colors such as yellow, red, etc. over cars that are painted white and so on.  At least that used to be the case and I am pretty sure it still is.  So, same car, same engine, same driver, same torque and horsepower driving the same distances on the same roads/streets/highways with the same speed limits and the same traffic situations but higher premiums for one over the other simply because of the paint job - and because they probably have statistics saying that people who drive cars of certain colors are more likely to speed than those who drive cars of other colors.  Right or wrong, perceptions matter - and when those perceptions might be the perceptions of a jury deciding whether an individual shot another person because he/she had to or because he/she wanted to then perceptions matter a whole lot.

Edited by JAB
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You used the example that just because a person has a flame job on their car doesn't mean they are a 'speed demon'.  True.  Keep in mind, however, that insurance companies do sometimes charge higher premiums for cars that are 'fast' colors such as yellow, red, etc. over cars that are painted white and so on.  At least that used to be the case and I am pretty sure it still is.  So, same car, same engine, same driver, same torque and horsepower driving the same distances on the same roads/streets/highways with the same speed limits and the same traffic situations but higher premiums for one over the other simply because of the paint job - and because they probably have statistics saying that people who drive cars of certain colors are more likely to speed than those who drive cars of other colors.  Right or wrong, perceptions matter - and when those perceptions might be the perceptions of a jury deciding whether an individual shot another person because he/she had to or because he/she wanted to then perceptions matter a whole lot.

 

Maybe there ought to be a written test before someone is picked for a jury. Don't need a lot of questions, maybe a few like, Have you ever purchased miracle fat burning pills online or from a TV commercial? Have you ever spoke to a telemarketer for over 15 seconds? Just some questions to see if they are a gullible person.

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So this lower wouldn't be a good idea for a defensive AR?

 

[URL=http://smg.photobucket.com/user/JMH42/media/AR%20Lower_zpstxvnfkm7.jpg.html]AR%20Lower_zpstxvnfkm7.jpg[/URL]

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Ok I am stuck on one issue and it is not the inscription on the firearm. It was in the link of the OP. It read as follows:

 

Attorneys for the victim, Daniel Shaver, argued Brailsford was malicious during the shooting and raised questions about the gun used.

 

The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office said Shaver was on his hands and knees when Brailsford shot him five times inside a Mesa hotel.

 

If the victim was not armed and on his hands and knees why did the LEO shoot him 5 times with an AR15? That would seem to me to be far more important than what was engraved of the AR15..............jmho

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Ok I am stuck on one issue and it is not the inscription on the firearm. It was in the link of the OP. It read as follows:

 

Attorneys for the victim, Daniel Shaver, argued Brailsford was malicious during the shooting and raised questions about the gun used.

 

The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office said Shaver was on his hands and knees when Brailsford shot him five times inside a Mesa hotel.

 

If the victim was not armed and on his hands and knees why did the LEO shoot him 5 times with an AR15? That would seem to me to be far more important than what was engraved of the AR15..............jmho

I believe I read that he had a pellet gun he used in his pest control business.  I don't know the exact circumstances, but there were a few officers and other witnesses present, so there are a few differing stories coming out, of course.

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