Defending Pepper Spray Use

An Interview with Attorney Penny DeanPS2

Two winters ago, in a large northeastern city, a Network member was shoved against a wall and choked. Although licensed to carry a concealed firearm, our member had a canister of oleoresin capsaicin, pepper spray, which was used to break free of the attacker. Any use of force in self defense needs to be reported to law enforcement. Our member rightly called 9-1-1 and as a result, the man who attacked our member was taken to an emergency room complaining of burning eyes and blurred vision, while our member was arrested and taken to jail.

Our member was released later that day. The following day, our member called Network President Marty Hayes for help before an arraignment scheduled on a Monday, two days later. Reaching out to one of the very best in that region, Hayes immediately telephoned attorney Penny Dean, who, although it was the weekend, contacted our Network member to see what she could do to help. Licensed to practice law in a number of states, Attorney Dean’s law firm is located in New Hampshire, not the state in which the incident occurred, but she agreed to travel to the member’s location.

We turn now to Attorney Dean in a discussion intended to help Network members understand why vigorous legal representation–even after using pepper spray–is so very essential. At our member’s request, we must carefully shield details that might lead to identification. This is sensible, owing to concerns about reprisals, the potential of civil litigation and adverse affects on employment. Thus, Penny Dean’s efforts in this case, will tell the story.

eJournal: First, Penny, let me thank you sincerely for offering your valuable time to help Network members understand what you did in this case and telling us why expert legal representation was essential to keeping our member from being punished for steps taken to avoid being choked into unconsciousness. What happened after Marty called to ask if you could assist our member?

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President’s Message

Marty eJournal column pix

Mea Culpa

by Marty Hayes, J.D.

I start out this month’s column with a mea culpa of sorts. In last month’s journal I discussed a political issue regarding President Trump and the need to keep him around to appoint conservative Supreme Court justices. And while I still believe in what I wrote, a member took umbrage with what I said, and he was right. Our member explained that I should not be using my position to forward my political views, and I must agree with him. I have endeavored to keep the eJournal non-political, but I guess I slipped up. I will try to do better in the future.

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Vice President’s Message

J. Vincent Shuck eJournal column pix

The NRA Goes to Dallas

by J. Vincent Shuck


Things are big and bright in Texas and Dallas is a prime example of what the Lone Star State has to offer. From JR Ewing to the Dallas Cowboys, and their cheerleaders, the city presents great dining opportunities, unique museums and plenty for any history buff to see. Dealey Plaza, Texas barbecue, or a rodeo, there are enough attractions in the city to satisfy any visitor.

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Attorney Question of the Month


This month we wrap up last month’s question with our Network affiliated attorneys in which we asked:

Can a person who shoots in self defense be held criminally or civilly liable for injuries to an innocent third person, in spite of being justified in the use of deadly force against the attacker?

John I. Harris III
501 Union Street, 7th Floor
PO Box 190676, Nashville, TN 37219
615-244 6670

Under Tennessee law and perhaps generally in other states, the answer is yes.

If someone uses deadly force but in the course of doing so injures or kills a bystander or innocent third person, that person could be held criminally liable for the injuries to these innocent third parties.

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Book Review

Verbal Judo:

The Gentle Art of Persuasion
Verbal JudoBy George Thompson, Ph.D.
Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: William Morrow; Dec. 17, 2013
ISBN-13: 978-0062107701

Reviewed by Gila Hayes

This month, I enjoyed reviewing a classic written by the late Dr. George J. Thompson. I reread it to refresh understanding of how and when our words amp up conflict and when our words can calm a potentially violent confrontation. Verbal Judo is one of those “old but great” books that deserve to be reread now and again, so I thought I’d share some of my notes from this classic.

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Letters from Our Members

I have a few comments about the March Editor’s Notebook section.

I really liked almost all of this section of the March journal. I especially enjoyed the suggestion of gun businesses donating a small portion of sales to help train volunteer school employees. I almost always take advantage of the NRA Round Up feature in the checkout of retailers such as Midway USA and Brownells. Maybe a similar program could work for this, too.

However, I was a little surprised by the logic used concerning young adults. When I read the comparison of the 19 year olds of today vs. yesteryear, I braced myself for a story about walking to school barefoot through a foot of snow uphill in both directions. I am no longer 19, but being 30 often sees me lumped in with millennials. This is a group that is often accused of doing everything wrong and will likely doom the human race. I become much less engaged in a conversation when I hear arguments of this nature. This is much the same way we as gun owners react when accused of not caring about kids or being racist.

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Editor's Notebook

mdhayesGuest Commentary

by Marty Hayes, J.D.

This past month, I attended the 20th annual RangeMaster Tactical Conference, where I joined about 200 other trainers and armed citizens for a three-day weekend of training. One of the training blocks was entitled Active Killer Response, taught by Lt. Col. (Ret.) Ed Monk who runs a training business in Arkansas called Last Resort Training. His presentation was nothing short of amazing, and dovetailed nicely with what I wrote last month regarding stopping school shootings.

His research into the phenomenon of not only school shootings but also mass shootings at malls, military bases and other places where large numbers of people gather is extraordinary. I would like to share with you (with his permission, of course) a few nuggets that struck me as very informative.

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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.

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