By Gene Nolan Chairman, Monroe County S.C.O.P.E. Chapter
Monroe County S.C.O.P.E. welcomed a 2nd Amendment Defense Attorney, and Michael Bezer, who works in the Monroe County District Attorney’s Office, to a recent meeting where they discussed home invasion. I thought it important to pass on a few of their more meaningful comments to all SCOPE members.
The attorney began the discussion by reviewing the NYS law as it applies to home invasion. Under the law, there are two justifiable reasons to kill someone: If you are in danger of being seriously injured or killed by that person; or If you are in your own home and are trying to stop a burglary (or arson) in progress. But there’s also a key, real-world element to such a defense; your actions must be reasonable. The “reasonableness standard” is determined on a case-by-case basis, which means that it’s typically up to grand juries or trial juries to determine if someone’s actions were reasonable.
Michael further explained the definition of burglary in NYS; a person is guilty of committing burglary in the third degree - the least of the burglary offenses - when he or she "knowingly enters or remains unlawfully" in a building with the intent to commit a crime therein.
Examples and scenarios were exchanged back and forth with the audience. The gist of which seemed to be that use of deadly force may well be legal, but it may come with severe consequences. If you shoot someone it is likely you will be arrested, spend some time in custody, lose your weapons for a period of time and spend a good amount of money on legal defense. Yes, you will be guilty until proven innocent. Yes, this in unconstitutional. Yes, this is reality. Life is messy. On the other hand, you will be alive to endure all this. You have a right to self defense if your life is threatened.
Multiple attendees asked what we should do in the event we shoot someone in our home in a home invasion. The answer was Call 911, Surrender Immediately upon the arrival of law enforcement (gun down, hands up), state your willingness to cooperate and make a statement as soon as your attorney is present.
Michael Bezer suggested we review the NY CJI Criminal Justice Instruction.
In Summary: 1
1. Avoid the situation if at all possible. If there is an escape route, take it.
2. If you are confronted with a threat to your life, your family’s life , then and only then use deadly force.
3. Shoot and keep shooting until the threat is completely immobilized.
4. Call 911, report a shooting – that’s all.
5. When police arrive - weapon down, hands up.
Cooperate fully with police BUT make NO statements until your attorney is present.