Value and Risks of Self-Defense Incident Video

An Interview with Attorney Penny Dean

Interview by Gila Hayes

Cell phones, video, social media, YouTube and amateur video aired regularly on TV news casts all contribute to familiarity with individual use of videography, sometimes to the extent that we forget to ask if video of a critical incident is legal, advisable, or even the response of a reasonable person believing him- or herself in danger of physical attack or death. The prevalent belief is that because “everyone else video records anything they want, doing it is no big deal.”

New Hampshire attorney Penny Dean is a proponent of video with audio used to create a record of events but warns that its use in defending against criminal charges may not be a foregone conclusion. She observes how little blackletter law specific to video recordings exists in the self-defense context and points out that much of the law about permission to record was written for audio recordings, not videography. Whether or not a video of one’s self-defense incident would ultimately help or harm arguments about justification is extremely situational. She stressed that any benefit would be contingent on the client’s phone having large enough memory capacity to record and store the video, plus the phone must be consistently password protected so the video could be held back from initial police investigators for attorney input on its appropriate use.

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President’s Message

Marty Hayes

by Marty Hayes, J.D.

I hope this message finds everyone surviving the unusually high heat this summer. We in the Pacific Northwest have just recently survived the first set of high temps, and everything seems to be okay. 

We have some news regarding the fight with the WA Office of Insurance Commissioner (WA OIC) I wanted to inform you about.

We have recently moved into the “discovery stage” of the lawsuit, where we can ask for otherwise private information. We have received 4,000+ pages of documents from the state (they sure want us bad). I will not share most of the particulars, but I will share the following. In the discovery package was 500+ pages of correspondence between our members and the insurance commission staff.

Our members, for the most part, commented on the “persecution” of ACLDN. I was very thankful that, to a person, everyone who wrote to the Insurance Commissioner understands that we are not selling insurance, as these letters reflect. I didn’t count the letters, but I think there were over 100. I’d like to share a few of those letters (names withheld, of course) with you. I wanted for you to see how well your fellow ACLDN members who cared to write Commissioner Kreidler conducted themselves, and how much of a grasp on the situation they had.

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Attorney Question of the Month

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Occasionally, members ask for information about the rights of a legally armed citizen who resides with a person who is prohibited by court order from possessing firearms. This month, we asked our affiliated attorneys this question--

If the spouse of an armed citizen is under court order that makes it illegal for the spouse to own or possess firearms, in your state may the armed citizen have his or her firearms in their shared residence?

If so, what safeguards do you suggest to prevent a claim that the prohibited spouse was in possession of firearms? What advice would you offer a young mother whose husband is ineligible to possess a firearm, for example, who wanted a gun to defend herself and her family?

We were delighted to receive a good number of responses from a variety of states. We will share the responses to this interesting question over the next two months’ journals. 

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Book Review

Safety Doesn’t Have To Be ScaryMacYoungSafety

Simple steps to avoid violent crime, attacks and conflict

By Marc MacYoung

Publisher Amazon Digital Services LLC

ISBN 9798710227503

Length 272 pages

$19.99 paperback at

Reviewed by Nancy Keaton

I know my situational awareness stinks. I know I need to work on it. I’ve looked for information and found some useful ideas, but I still felt like something was lacking. I wasn’t finding specific enough details to tell me what to look for.

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Editor's Notebook

gila 300

Very Briefly

by Gila Hayes

Treasure the brevity of this month's editorial; those who know me know that I cannot write “short” to save my life. Need proof? Consider this edition’s lead article. The longer I explored the topic, the lengthier my list of questions became. I was learning just how much I did not know! 

When Penny and I reviewed the first draft, so help us, we found more questions to explore.

While I have been known to let interviews run as two-part installments, I was worried that the continuity of this complex subject would suffer, so with that, I am trading my commentary for Penny’s wise words this month.

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About this Journal


The eJournal of the Armed Citizens’ Legal Defense Network, Inc. is published monthly on the Network’s website at Content is copyrighted by the Armed Citizens’ Legal Defense Network, Inc.

Do not mistake information presented in this online publication for legal advice; it is not. The Network strives to assure that information published in this journal is both accurate and useful. Reader, it is your responsibility to consult your own attorney to receive professional assurance that this information and your interpretation or understanding of it is accurate, complete and appropriate with respect to your particular situation.

In addition, material presented in our opinion columns is entirely the opinion of the bylined author, and is intended to provoke thought and discussion among readers.

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