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Reloads and Gun mods in Court

Discussion in 'General Firearms Forum' started by wildcat455, Aug 19, 2012.


  1. wildcat455

    wildcat455
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    I admit. I am at FAIL. :crying:

    I sincerely don't understand how doing either, or both in the thread topic, would be "Bad" if I wound up in court.
    I've always wondered about this since I first heard it. (Which would have been around 2006... I lead a sheltered life)

    Everything I've come up with is reaching...
    So what is it all about?

    There was a post here that finally sparked me to ask. Rather than derail the thread it was in, and in TRUE GT fashion, I started a NEW thread...

    The post I read, and refer to went like this:


    "Civil & Criminal Courts will SHORTEN your "life & balance sheet" if you use Re-loads vs. factory ammo.... just like if your gun is "stock or altered".... Stock gun with factory ammo is always more desirable in a courtroom vs. reloaded & altered.
     

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  2. Aux Bear

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    It's the same as a competent and capable shooter is always at a legal disadvantage. Some how being able to hit a target translates to being trained only to kill. Being a S.O. Dept Armorer we are instructed to never alter a gun with aftermarket parts, convert back and remove any non-OEM purchased parts. To the extent that if we suspect a .25 cent job we are to change out the parts. Guess it is a big legal arguing point and since most claims are settled out of court it's taken the cloak of being a bad thing and non OEM parts have taken on the ife of being killer components in stock gun.
     

  3. NeverMore1701

    NeverMore1701
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    I figure that they're my guns and my life on the line, so I will do whatever will make them more accurate and easier to shoot. If that means grips, night sights, smoothing out or lightening the trigger, whatever, I'll do it. If I ever have to use it I'll get a good lawyer and be grateful that I'm on this side of the dirt.
     
  4. Fox

    Fox
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    Varmit Control

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    Try to cite a case where the use of reloads went against the defender in court.

    I bet you can't.
     
  5. AKRover

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    I could see reloads and aftermarket parts being a legal point in a negligence case where someone was shot accidentally. In a SD situation it shouldn't make any difference. Of course that's just my common sense view of the subject and based on nothing else
     
  6. dnuggett

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    NJ vs. Bias

    A quote from the attorney involved as told through Ayoob-

    It is interesting to hear the advice of the attorneys who actually tried this case. John Lanza wrote, “When a hand load is used in an incident which becomes the subject of a civil or criminal trial, the duplication of that hand load poses a significant problem for both the plaintiff or the prosecutor and the defendant. Once used, there is no way, with certainty, to determine the amount of powder or propellant used for that load. This becomes significant when forensic testing is used in an effort to duplicate the shot and the resulting evidence on the victim or target.”

    He adds, “With the commercial load, one would be in a better position to argue the uniformity between the loads used for testing and the subject load. With a hand load, you have no such uniformity. Also, the prosecution may utilize either standard loads or a different hand load in its testing. The result would be distorted and could be prejudicial to the defendant. Whether or not the judge would allow such a scientific test to be used at trial, is another issue, which, if allowed, would be devastating for the defense. From a strictly forensic standpoint, I would not recommend the use of hand loads because of the inherent lack of uniformity and the risk of unreliable test results. Once the jury hears the proof of an otherwise unreliable test, it can be very difficult to ‘unring the bell.’”
     
  7. jp3975

    jp3975
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    I dont see his reasoning. A legal shoot is a legal shoot. What does it matter how fast the bullet is going or the precise ballistics?
     
  8. NeverMore1701

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    And how could they prove that the Gold Dots pulled out of the BG and the Speer cases on the ground were actually factory ammo? And and and....
     
  9. Maine1

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    IIRC, that case has to do with GSR in a suicide. The mans wife suposedly committed suicide in fron of him in a revolver he had loaded with light loads she could handle, the Prosecution argued that since there was minimal GSR, the shot must have been fired from further away. His reloading records were inadmissible, as it was seen as him fabricating evidence.
     
  10. dnuggett

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    You didn't read the case.
     
  11. firefighter4215

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    I'm amazed this continues to be an issue. It's so easy to buy quality self-defense ammo from a reputable manufacturer. It's really not worth the risk of loading your own and having to deal with a very easily avoidable problem. I'm pretty sure if you find yourself in court you won't want it to be any more complicated than it has to be.
     
  12. WoodenPlank

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    Who?

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    It's not a legal shoot until a judge or jury sees it that way. A prosecutor can use reloaded ammo or modified triggers to try to show either negligence, accident, or even malice aforethought in your case.

    So, why do something that gives you little advantage, but can cause you massive headaches in court? Don't use reloads for SD ammo, and don't go lighter than factory suggestion for trigger weight.
     
  13. verrot

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    That statement is scarily similar to "Guilty Until Proven Innocent".....:shocked:
     
  14. checkyoursix

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    It's not actually. We are assuming that an homicide has taken place here. The issue at hand is whether external factors could affect the determination of whether it was a justifiable homicide or not. A good prosecutor will use anything to make his case, is that simple.

    Mr, Ayoob has answered questions on this topic several times, and since none of us gets paid as an expert witness in court I think it would wise to use him for the great resource he is.


    This is an extremely delicate topic, and while I completely agree that being on this side of e dirt is a great thing, the potential effects on your life from a financial and emotional point of view should not in any way be underestimated.

    Even the remote possibility that using hand loads could be used againsts in court should be absolutely enough to close the discussion. Are we really debating for the sake of saving $5?
     
  15. checkyoursix

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    Well, I actually found a post on the GATE forum on this topic. I am going to stick with the opinion of one of the foremost experts in the industry.
     
  16. dnuggett

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    Nevermind
     
    #16 dnuggett, Aug 20, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2012
  17. WoodenPlank

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    Couldn't have said it better myself.

    People have to remember, justifiable homicide is not a typical criminal case. In Florida, for example, you have to show that a preponderance of evidence (ie: 50.1% or 51%, depending on opinion) supports your claim of self defense in order to have it ruled as such.
     
  18. SigFTW

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    Agree!

    As a reloader I still buy SD rounds. It's not worth the potential added risk that can come up in court.

    I have read all of Ayoob's reports and side with caution when dealing with SD rounds (Reloads vs Store Bought). So, I'll stick to store bought.
     
  19. M&P15T

    M&P15T
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    Still.

    Not one court case of civilian SD/HD shooting, where re-loads or mods were an issue.

    Maybe someone reading this thread knows of one.
     
    #19 M&P15T, Aug 20, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2012
  20. WoodenPlank

    WoodenPlank
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    Who?

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    Did you miss the post from Mas someone quoted a few posts back?

    "No one has yet found a case where the courts accepted the defendant's word or records as to what was in the gun, when gunshot residue testing became necessary to determine a disputed distance of the shot in question. Seen that in criminal court, so it's not just a civil court thing."

    Sounds like a damn good reason to not use hand loads to me.