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Marsy’s Law, Being Debated in NH, is Anti-Self-Defense
by Evan F. Nappen, Attorney at Law
USA – -(Ammoland.com)- “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” ~ Proverb
Marsy’s Law is well-intended: any sensible person cares about victims of crime. However, the unintended consequences of this proposed Constitutional Amendment are bad news for those who might lawfully use force to defend themselves.
It is not uncommon for law-abiding defenders who use force to defend themselves, often with a firearm, to end up criminally charged even though they were justified in their use of force. This is because “Self-Defense” (known as “Justification” in the legal world) is an “affirmative defense” that first must be demonstrated by the defender before the State is burdened with having to disprove the defense beyond a reasonable doubt.
Marsy’s Law would grant so-called “victims” of a lawful defender’s use of force special rights, which will make the defenders task of proving self-defense much more difficult.
In other words, if you shoot a bad guy and are criminally charged, the bad guy would then be the “victim” and get special treatment under Marsy’s law.
Marsy’s law will give the bad guy/victim the following rights:
Note further that:
The term “victim” does not include the accused.
The bad guy/victim, the bad guy/victim's attorney or other lawful representative, or the attorney for the government may assert in any trial or appellate court, or before any other authority, with jurisdiction over the case, and have these rights enforced.
This proposed Constitutional Amendment of New Hampshire state constitution interferes with the defender’s right to discovery of evidence by denying depositions. It interferes with the defender’s right to be released on bail pending the trial. It declares the bad guy to be a victim, before the defender is even convicted. It will slow and complicate the legal proceedings by continuously requiring the right to be heard, notice to, conference with, and the presence of, the bad guy/victim.
The right to self-defense was utilized in the landmark Second Amendment decision of District of Columbia v. Heller as a basis for the right to keep and bear arms. The majority opinion stated, “The prefatory clause does not suggest that preserving the militia was the only reason Americans valued the ancient right; most undoubtedly thought it even more important for self-defense and hunting.” Marsy’s Law undercuts the Second Amendment and our fundamental right to self-defense.
Making self-defense cases more difficult for honest defenders to win in court is pro-criminal. The true victims of Marsy’s law will be law-abiding defenders who get caught up in the legal system for merely defending themselves or their loved ones, and then having the bad guy aggressor being declared the “victim” and given special rights. The road to hell does not need any more pavement.
Evan Nappen (www.EvanNappen.com) is a criminal defense attorney who has focused on New Jersey firearms and weapons law for over 23 years. He is the author of the New Jersey Gun Law Guide. Visit his website at www.EvanNappen.com
LIBERTY HAS NO EXPIRATION DATEDemocrats wouldn't buy a clue if it was government subsidized.
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